The area around Alicante has been inhabited for over 7000 years. The first tribes of hunter-gatherers moved down gradually from Central Europe between 5000 and 3000 BC.
Although the Carthaginians conquered much of the land around Alicante, the Romans would eventually rule Hispania Terraconensis for over 700 years. By the 5th century AD, Rome was in decline and the Roman predecessor town of Alicante, known as Lucentum, was more or less under the control of the Visgothic warlord Theudimer. However neither the Romans nor the Goths put up much resistance to the Arab conquest of Medina Laqant in the 8th century. The Moors ruled southern and eastern Spain until the 13th century Reconquista. Alicante was finally taken in 1246 by the Castilian king Aldonso X, but it passed soon and definitively to the Kingdom of Valencia in 1298 with King James II of aragon. It gained the status of Royal Village with representation in the medieval Valencian Parliament.
During the early 20th century, Alicante was a minor capital that enjoyed the benefit of Spain's neutrality during World War I, and that provided new opportunities for local industry and agriculture.
The late 1950s and early 1960s saw the onset of a lasting transformation of the city by the tourist industry. Large buildings and complexes rose in nearby Albufereta and Plava de San Juan, with the benign climate being the biggest draw to attract prospective buyers and tourists who kept the hotels reasonably busy. New construction benefited the whole economy, as the development of the tourism sector also spawned new businesses such as restaurants, bars and other tourist-oriented enterprises.
Alicante is a city and port in Spain on the Costa Blanca, the capital of the province of Alicante in the south of the Valencian Community. It is also a historic Mediterranean port. The population of the city of Alicante proper was 330,525, estimated as of 2016, ranking as the second-largest Valencian city. Including nearby municipalities, the Alicante conurbation had 452,462 residents.The population of the metropolitan area (including Elche and satellite towns) was 757,085 as of 2014 estimates, ranking as the eighth-largest metropolitan area of Spain.
Address: Plaza Ajuntament 1, 03002 Alicante
Telephone: +34 965 14 91 00
Until the global recession which started in 2008, Alicante was one of the fastest-growing cities in Spain. The boom depended partly on tourism directed to the beaches of the Costa Blanca and particularly on the second residence-construction boom which started in the 1960s and revived again by the late 1990s. Services and public administration also play a major role in the city's economy. The construction boom has raised many environmental concerns and both the local autonomous government and city council are under scrutiny by the European Union. The construction surge was the subject of hot debates among politicians and citizens alike. The latest of many public battles concerns the plans of the Port Authority of Alicante to construct an industrial estate on reclaimed land in front of the city's coastal strip, in breach of local, national and European regulations.
The city serves as the headquarters of the European Union Intellectual Property Office and a sizeable population of European public workers live there.
Since 2005 Ciudad de la Luz, one of the largest film studios in Europe, has had its base in Alicante. The studio has shot Spanish and international movies.
Amongst the most notable features of the city are the Castle of Santa Barbara, which sits high above the city, and the port of Alicante.
The santa Barbara castle is situated on Mount Benacantil, overlooking the city. The tower - La Torreta, is the oldest part of the castle, while part of the lowest zone and the walls were constructed later in the 18th century.
The promenade Explanada de España, lined by palm trees, is paved with 6.5 million marble floor tiles creating a wavy form and is one of the most lovely promenades in Spain. The Promenade extends from the Port of Alicante to the Gran Vía and ends at the famous statue of Mark Hersch. For the people of Alicante, the promenade is the meeting place for the traditional Spanish paseo, or stroll along the waterfront in the evenings, and a venue for outdoor musical concerts. At the end of the promenade is a monument by the artist Bañuls of the 19th century.
Barrio de la Santa Cruz is a colourful quarter of the old city, situated on the south-west of Santa Barbara castle. Its small houses climb up the hill leading to the walls and the castle, through narrow streets decorated with flags and tubs of flowers.
L'Ereta Park is situated on the foothills of Mount Benacantil, on the way to the castle. It runs from the Santa Bárbara castle down to the old part of Alicante and consists of several levels, routes, decks and rest stops which offer a panoramic view overlooking the city.
Just a few kilometers from Alicante on the Mediterranean Sea lies Tabarca island. What was once a haven for Barbary pirates isnow a beautiful tourist attraction.