Altea

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Altea
Altea costa.JPG
Flag of Altea
Coat of arms of Altea
Altea is located in Province of Alicante
Altea
Altea
Location in Spain
Altea is located in Valencian Community
Altea
Altea
Altea (Valencian Community)
Altea is located in Spain
Altea
Altea
Altea (Spain)
Coordinates: 38°35′55″N 0°3′7″W / 38.59861°N 0.05194°W / 38.59861; -0.05194
Country Spain
Autonomous community Valencian Community
ProvinceAlicante
ComarcaMarina Baixa
Government
 • MayorJaume Llinares Cortés (2019) (Compromís)
Area
 • Total34.43 km2 (13.29 sq mi)
Elevation
61 m (200 ft)
Population
 (2018)[1]
 • Total21,995
 • Density640/km2 (1,700/sq mi)
DemonymAlteà / Alteano
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Postal code
03590
Official language(s)Spanish and Valencian
WebsiteOfficial website

Altea (Valencian: [alˈtea], Spanish: [alˈtea]) is a city and municipality located in the Valencian Community, Spain, on the section of Mediterranean coast called the Costa Blanca.

At present, the economy of Altea is based on tourism, which started to grow in the 1950s because of its good weather, beaches and the labyrinthine streets with whitewashed house-fronts that characterize the town. Altea is protected on the north by the bluffs of the Serra de Bèrnia, creating an especially mild microclimate. Its seafront esplanade is planted with palms.

History[edit]

The Iberian coastal settlements at the mouth of the Algar river in the wide Bay of Altea were later joined by a Greek marketplace, named Althaia.[2]

During the Moorish domination the land around Altea belonged to the Taifa of Dénia until it was recaptured by the Christians in 1244 under James I of Aragon. The town was quickly fortified, and walls were erected to enclose what is now known as the "old town" outsiders.

Main sights[edit]

This maze of cobbled narrow and crooked streets with glimpses of the bay is one of the better features of the town. Other sights include the church of La Mare de Déu del Consol ("Our Lady of Solace"), easily identifiable by its picturesque blue and white domes, tiled with glazed ceramics. There are numerous quaint restaurants near the church, some with a view over the Mediterranean. Note that, if visiting by car, you will need to park several blocks away from the church area as the immediately surrounding area is either off limits to cars and/or the streets are so narrow and steep (or have stairs) that cars cannot pass.

Education[edit]

Altea shares a campus of the University Miguel Hernández, in which the Faculty of Fine Arts is located.

Festivals[edit]

Castell de l'Olla[edit]

The most important and well-known festival in Altea is the Castell de l'Olla, a festival of fireworks that are launched into the sea, on the beach of l'Olla, giving rise to an impressive combination of light, gunpowder and music. In the Valencian language, this type of fireworks is called Castell (Castle). It takes place on the Saturday closest to the day of St. Lawrence, the 10th of August. The spectacle usually includes a golden-palm-tree-firework rising into the night sky. The event began as a tribute to local pyrotechnician Blas Aznar (locally known as tio Blai). The fireworks display is a gesture of utmost respect to this man, a way of honouring his memory, and of giving all spectators the gift of miraculous beauty. More than 50,000 people come every year to enjoy the spectacle, some sitting on the beach, others floating in rented boats to get a better view.[1]

Moros y cristianos[edit]

Every year, many Spanish cities participate in a symbolic war between Moors and Christians to commemorate the 500 years of Muslim dominance over most of the Iberian Peninsula and its end in the 15th century in the course of the Reconquista. The festival lasts several days, and is supposed to represent the fall of the city into the hands of the Moors and its recovery. On the fourth weekend in September, Friday, the festival begins with a peal of bells and a cannon fire. The inhabitants of the town divide into groups, as the two sides in the conflict, and stage battles in the old town and on the beach. In addition to the battles, the festival includes parades in costumes and dress inspired by the fashions of medieval times. The Christians are on horseback and wear furs, metal helmets, armour and arquebuses. In contrast, those who become Moors for the weekend ride camels or elephants and wear ancient Arab costumes.

Pascua[edit]

In Pascua (spanish word for Easter), the inhabitants of Altea hold solemn, somewhat macabre processions throughout the town during the Holy Week, which have a vivid dramatic flair to them. There is also a carnival beforehand, traditionally and symbolically representing the last chance to have some fun before Lent begins.

Sant Antoni del Porquet[edit]

During Lent, Altea has a special festival dedicated to pork. Pork is very present in Spanish cuisine, with traditional hams, suckling pigs in celebratory meals and pig's tails or pig's trotters for stews. Nothing is wasted, every part of the animal is used. This festival takes place in mid-February, and consists of a parade through the old town at midday, after which everyone shares a hearty plate of rice, sings folk songs and dances, and finally tastes a roast pig.

Encontes[edit]

The Encontes festival is a celebration of the ancient art of storytelling. It is held from 15 to 20 May. Dozens of events are organised to entertain the visitors with stories and songs. This festival is aimed at all audiences.

Twin towns - sister cities[edit]

Altea is a founding member of the Douzelage, a unique town twinning association of 24 towns across the European Union. This active town twinning began in 1991 and there are regular events, such as a produce market from each of the other countries and festivals.[3][4] Discussions regarding membership are also in hand with three further towns (Agros in Cyprus, Škofja Loka in Slovenia, and Tryavna in Bulgaria).

Spain Altea, Spain - 1991
Germany Bad Kötzting, Germany - 1991
Italy Bellagio, Italy - 1991
Republic of Ireland Bundoran, Ireland - 1991
France Granville, France - 1991
Denmark Holstebro, Denmark - 1991
Belgium Houffalize, Belgium - 1991
Netherlands Meerssen, the Netherlands - 1991
Luxembourg Niederanven, Luxembourg - 1991
Greece Preveza, Greece - 1991
Portugal Sesimbra, Portugal - 1991
United Kingdom Sherborne, United Kingdom - 1991
Finland Karkkila, Finland - 1997-2016
Sweden Oxelösund, Sweden - 1998
Austria Judenburg, Austria - 1999
Poland Chojna, Poland - 2004
Hungary Kőszeg, Hungary - 2004
Latvia Sigulda, Latvia - 2004
Czech Republic Sušice, Czech Republic - 2004
Estonia Türi, Estonia - 2004
Slovakia Zvolen, Slovakia - 2007
Lithuania Prienai, Lithuania - 2008
Malta Marsaskala, Malta - 2009
Romania Siret, Romania - 2010
Croatia Rovinj, Croatia - 2016
Finland Asikkala, Finland - 2016

References[edit]

  1. ^ Municipal Register of Spain 2018. National Statistics Institute.
  2. ^ Althaia, with an implication of curative power, was the name of several nymphs in Greek mythology, and of the mother of Meleager.
  3. ^ "Douzelage.org: Home". www.douzelage.org. Archived from the original on 2010-02-17. Retrieved 2009-10-21.
  4. ^ "Douzelage.org: Member Towns". www.douzelage.org. Archived from the original on 2009-04-06. Retrieved 2009-10-21.

External links[edit]