Elche (/ˈɛltʃeɪ/,[2] Spanish: [ˈeltʃe]) or Elx (UK: /ɛltʃ/,[3] US: /eɪlʃ/,[4] Valencian: [ˈɛʎtʃ])[a] is a town located in the comarca of Baix Vinalopó, Spain. According to the 2014 census, Elche has a population of 228,647 inhabitants[5] (called il·licitans in Valencian and ilicitanos in Spanish), ranking as the third most populated city in the Valencian Community (after Valencia and Alicante) and the 20th largest Spanish city.

Part of the municipality is coastal but the main city is some 11 km (6.8 mi) from the Mediterranean Sea. A small creek called Vinalopó flows through the city splitting it in two parts.

Elche is so close to the city of Alicante, that both cities form a de facto conurbation of some 800,000 inhabitants that can very well double during the summer peak-season.


Elche / Elx
Altamira Castle and panoramic view of Elche
Altamira Castle and panoramic view of Elche
Flag of Elche

Coat of arms of Elche

Coat of arms
Elche is located in Spain
Location in Spain
Coordinates: 38°16′1″N 0°41′54″W / 38.26694°N 0.69833°WCoordinates: 38°16′1″N 0°41′54″W / 38.26694°N 0.69833°W
Country Spain
Autonomous community Valencian Community
ComarcaBajo Vinalopó
Judicial districtElche
FoundedIberos; 5th century BC
 • AlcaldeCarlos Gonzalez (2015) (PSOE)
 • Total326.10 km2 (125.91 sq mi)
86 m (282 ft)
 • Total230,625
 • Density710/km2 (1,800/sq mi)
Demonym(s)Ilicitano, ilicitana
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Postal code
Dialing code966 - 965
Official language(s)Spanish and Valencian
WebsiteOfficial Website
Official tourism Website


La Alcudia is 10 km from the current city's location and the immediate predecessor of current day Elche. This original location was settled by the Greeks and then occupied by Carthaginians and Romans. Greeks Ionian colonists from the Achaean city Helike established their new colony, naming it Helíkē (Greek: Ἑλίκη) around 600 BC. It was a point of resistance against Carthaginian advance in Spain between the First and Second Punic Wars.[6] The Romans called the city Ilici or Illice and granted it the status of colonia; after a brief Byzantine rule, the Goths took over, establishing an episcopal see.

Dama de Elche 1
Frontal view of the Lady of Elche.

Elche lost importance during the period of Moorish occupation, when it was moved slightly north to its present location. James II of Aragon took the city from the Moors in the 13th century, during the Reconquista. The city grew throughout the 18th century and became more important during the 19th century with the arrival of the railway and a booming industrial development of what used to be the traditional footwear industry.

Many archaeological remains have been found in Elche, with the stone bust of the Lady of Elche (Dama de Elche/Dama d'Elx in Spanish and Valencian (or Catalan), respectively) being the most important. This may date from the Iberian period (4th century BC). The original is in the National Archaeological Museum of Spain.


The economy of Elche is based, in large part, on the footwear industry, with over 1,000 shoe factories, being one of the most important footwear centres in Spain and the rest of Europe with brands like Pura Lopez or Panama Jack. There are other economic activities in Elche: agriculture (dates, olives, cereals and pomegranates), although it has lost importance in recent years; rubber industry; trade, which employs 20% of the workforce; and tourism.

Elche has a conference centre (called Ciutat d'Elx), an international airport (Aeropuerto de Alicante) a public University, Universidad Miguel Hernández, and a private University, Universidad CEU Cardenal Herrera.


Elche has a hot subtropical semi-arid climate (Köppen climate classification BSh).

Main sights

Elche Basilica
Basilica of Santa María de Elche.
Elche el palmeral
Palmeral of Elche (The Palm Grove of Elche)
Joves i grans al Raval d'Elx
Old part of the city, Barrio del Raval.
  • Palmeral of Elche ("The Palm Grove of Elche", Palmerar d'Elx in Valencian (or Catalan)). It is an orchard of over 200,000 palm trees that was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2000.
  • Altamira Castle, also known as Alcázar de la Señoría, located next to the Municipal Park (which, in turn, is a part of the Elche Palm Grove) It was originally built in Almohad times (12th-13th centuries), and was later renovated with brick exterior in the 15th century. A former fortress, in 1913 it became a fabric plant, it has also been used as the town hall and as a prison during the Spanish Civil War, while today is home to the Elche Archaeology and History Museum
  • Baños Arabes (Arabic Baths), which re-uses old Roman baths.
  • Basilica of Santa Maria
  • Calahorra Tower, of rectangular plan and Rabic origin, it represent the last relic of the old city walls.
  • Municipio (Town Hall)
  • Convento de la Merced
  • Huerto del Cura
  • Elche Palaeontological Museum
  • Elche Municipal Festa Museum
  • Palm Groves Museum

The Mystery Play of Elx (better known as Misteri d'Elx, in Valencian (or Catalan)) is a sacral-lyrical medieval drama, dated from the 15th century, which was declared a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in 2002. It is played every year in mid August, in the context of the local holidays dedicated to the Assumption of Virgin Mary. Also as a part of this celebration, on the 13th of August is the date of a celebration in Elche called Nit de l'Albà (Night of the Dawn) in which a citywide night-long show of fireworks takes place.

Notable people

Twin towns

See also


  1. ^ Both names are official as Elx/Elche.


  1. ^ "Municipal Register of Spain 2018". National Statistics Institute. Retrieved 11 April 2019.
  2. ^ "Elche" (US) and "Elche". Oxford Dictionaries. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 19 May 2019.
  3. ^ "Elx". Collins English Dictionary. HarperCollins. Retrieved 19 May 2019.
  4. ^ "Elche". Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Retrieved 19 May 2019.
  5. ^ Elche supera ya los 228.300 habitantes, INFORMACION.es, December 31, 2008, Editorial Prensa Ibérica
  6. ^ "Roman Policy in Spain", Harvard Studies in Classical Philology, p. 209.
  7. ^ "Climate Elche".

External links

Panorámica Elche
Panoramic view of Elche from the Basílica de Santa María: the Altamira Castle is to the left, next to the Municipal Park.
Alicante–Elche Airport

Alicante–Elche Airport (Spanish: Aeropuerto de Alicante-Elche) (IATA: ALC, ICAO: LEAL), originally named El Altet, is —as of 2017— the fifth-busiest airport in Spain based on passenger numbers, and the main airport serving the Valencian Community and the Region of Murcia. The airport is located in the municipality of Elche, about 10 kilometres (6.2 miles) east of this city and about 9 km (5.6 mi) southwest of Alicante. Its influence area spans other cities in the Valencia province—the city of Valencia is located about 160 km (99 mi) north of the airport—and in the Region of Murcia. The airport is located about 70 km (43 mi) north of Murcia.

The airport is a base for Air Nostrum, Evelop Airlines, Norwegian Air Shuttle, Ryanair and Vueling. Passenger traffic has increased significantly in the last decade, beating its own yearly record since 2013 to date; in particular, in 2015, it handled 10,574,484 passengers. Then, in 2016 it set its new record with almost 12,350,000 passengers,; in 2017 it set its new consecutive record at 13.7 million passengers. It is one of the 50 busiest in Europe. Up to 80% of all passenger flights are international. The largest numbers of passengers arrive from the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Belgium and Sweden. Popular domestic destinations are Madrid, Palma de Mallorca and Barcelona.

Antonio Barrios

Antonio Barrios Seoane (21 May 1910 – 19 August 2002) was a Spanish professional football player and coach. He managed a number of club sides including Real Valladolid, Racing de Santander, Athletic Bilbao, Atlético Madrid, Real Betis, Espanyol, Elche, Real Sociedad, Sevilla and Recreativo de Huelva.He also played for clubs including Arenas de Getxo and Real Valladolid.

Carlos García Cantarero

Carlos García Cantarero (born 4 November 1961) is a Spanish football manager. He was recently working as the manager of the Puerto Rico national football team.He was the manager of Atlético Madrid, Elche CF and Torrellano CF.

Cayetano Ré

Cayetano Ré Ramírez (7 February 1938 – 26 November 2013) was a Paraguayan footballer striker and coach who was born in Asunción.

Ciriaco Cano

Ciriaco Cano González (born 4 August 1948) is a Spanish retired footballer who played as a midfielder, and a current coach.

Claudio Barragán

Claudio Barragán Escobar (born 10 April 1964) is a Spanish retired footballer who played as a striker, and is a manager.

His professional career was closely associated to Elche, as both a player and manager, but he was also an important part of the Deportivo de La Coruña teams of the 90s.

Claudio amassed La Liga totals of 259 games and 66 goals over the course of nine seasons, also representing in the competition Mallorca and Salamanca. He added 181/32 in Segunda División, and started working as a coach in 2008.

Elche CF

Elche Club de Fútbol, S.A.D. (Valencian: Elx Club de Futbol, S.A.D.), is a Spanish football team based in Elche, Province of Alicante, in the Valencian Community. Founded in 1923, the club plays in the Segunda División, holding home matches at Estadio Manuel Martínez Valero, with a capacity of 33,732 seats.

Founded in 1923 as the result of a merger between all of the town's clubs, Elche entered the league system in 1929, reaching Segunda División in 1934 and La Liga in 1959, finishing fifth in the latter tournament in 1963–64. It was runner-up in the Copa del Rey in 1969. They were relegated at the end of the 2014–15 season due to unpaid tax debts.

Elche CF Ilicitano

Elche Club de Fútbol Ilicitano is a Spanish football team based in Elche, in the autonomous community of Valencia. Founded in 1932 as Club Deportivo Ilicitano, a farm team, it is the reserve team of Elche CF, and plays in Tercera División – Group 6, holding home games at Ciudad Deportiva Elche CF, with a capacity of 2,000 seats.

Unlike in England, reserve teams in Spain play in the same football pyramid as their senior team rather than a separate league.

The team is officially known as Elche CF Ilicitano on the club's official promotion and website, but Professional Football League rules prohibit B teams from having different names to their parent.

Estadio Manuel Martínez Valero

The Estadio Martínez Valero is a stadium located in the Spanish city of Elche in the province of Alicante, Valencian Community. It is the home stadium of Elche CF, a team that is currently playing in La Liga Segunda División. Its name pays tribute to the late president of the club, Manuel Martínez Valero. It hosted the largest rout in the finals of a World Cup and hosted the final of the Copa del Rey in 2003. The Spanish football team has played several friendly matches and competitive qualifiers there. The stadium has the largest field dimensions in Europe.

Fran Escribá

Francisco 'Fran' Escribá Segura (born 3 May 1965) is a Spanish football manager, currently in charge of RC Celta de Vigo.

Heriberto Herrera

Heriberto Herrera Udrizar (24 April 1926 – 26 July 1996) was a footballer and manager who played international football for both Paraguay and Spain as a defender.

Marcel Domingo

Marcel Domingo Algara (15 January 1924 – 10 December 2010) was a French association football goalkeeper and manager of Spanish origin. He spent part of his career in Spain. Domingo died at the age of 86.Domingo coached RCD Espanyol, UD Las Palmas, UE Lleida, Pontevedra CF, Córdoba CF, Granada CF, Atlético de Madrid, CD Málaga, Elche CF, Burgos CF, Valencia CF, OGC Nice, Real Betis, RCD Mallorca, Nîmes Olympique, AC Arles and Hércules CF.

Miguel Hernández University of Elche

The Miguel Hernández University of Elche (UMH, Spanish: Universidad Miguel Hernández de Elche, Valencian: Universitat Miguel Hernández d'Elx, Latin: Universitas Miguel Hernández illicitana), is a Spanish Public University, open to the world, offering prestigious education, excellent research, and quality services facilitating the comprehensive development of its students and their insertion into the labor market. It is located in the province of Alicante and was established in 1996. Its name commemorates the Spanish poet Miguel Hernández.

The UMH offers bachelor's degrees, Master’s and PhD programs adapted to the European Higher Education Area in the fields of the arts, experimental and technical sciences, engineering, and health and social sciences at its four university campuses (Elche -main administration offices-, Altea, Orihuela and Sant Joan d'Alacant).

Mystery Play of Elche

The Misterio de Elche (Spanish pronunciation: [misˈteɾjo ˈðe ˈeltʃe]), in English the Mystery Play of Elche or Elche Mystery Play and in Catalan Misteri d'Elx (Valencian pronunciation: [misˈtɛɾi ˈðɛʎtʃ]), is a liturgical drama from the Middle Ages that reenacts the Dormition and Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

The two-act mystery play is performed annually on 14 and 15 August in the Basilica de Santa María in the city of Elche. In 2001, UNESCO declared it one of the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.

Otto Bumbel

Pedro Otto Bumbel (6 July 1914 – 2 August 1998) was a Brazilian professional football manager who coached a number of Spanish club sides, including Sabadell, Valencia, Racing de Santander, Elche, Sevilla, Atlético Madrid and Málaga.

Before moving to Spain, Bumbel was active in Costa Rica with Saprissa, guiding the club to their first ever Primera División league title during the 1952-1953 season.

Palmeral of Elche

The Palmeral or Palm Grove of Elche (Spanish: Palmeral de Elche, Valencian: Palmerar d'Elx) is the generic name used to designate a system of date palm orchards in the city of Elche (Spain).

Currently, in the urban area of Elche there are a total of 97 different orchards containing about 70,000 date palms, mostly in the east bank of the Vinalopó. This number does not include other large plantations located around the city proper. All together, the number may be close to 200,000 palms.

The Palm Grove covers over 3.5 km2 (1.4 sq mi), including 1.5 km2 (0.58 sq mi) within the city of Elche.

It is the only palm grove of its type anywhere in Europe,the northernmost of its kind and one of the largest in the world, surpassed in size only by some in Arab countries.

Roque Olsen

Roque Germán Olsen Fontana (9 September 1925 – 15 June 1992), commonly known as Roque Olsen, was an Argentine football player and manager.

Salvador Artigas

Salvador Artigas Sahún (February 23, 1913, Barcelona, Spain – September 6, 1997, Benidorm, Spain) was a Spanish former footballer and manager.

He was also manager for FC Barcelona, Athletic Bilbao and FC Sevilla.

During the Spanish civil war, was a pilot for the republican side.

Vicente Mir

Vicente Mir Arnau (born 3 June 1968) is a Spanish retired footballer who played as a forward, most recently coach of CD Alcoyano.

Apart from one appearance for Valencia in La Liga, he spent his entire career as a player and manager in the lower divisions, totalling 52 goals in 246 Segunda División B games in service of five clubs.

In 2004, Mir started working as a manager.

Climate data for Elche
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 17
Average low °C (°F) 7
Average rainfall mm (inches) 20
Average rainy days (≥ 1.0 mm) 4 3 4 4 3 1 0 1 2 3 4 3 32
Source: Meteoblue[7]
Municipalities of Baix Vinalopó
Municipalities of the province of Alicante

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