Alcoy Spain

Interesting article about the inland town of Alcoy, Spain.

Towns of Spain - Alcoy

For some people the real Spain starts at Alcoy rather than in the busy international holiday resorts. Turn your face away from the Mediterranean Sea and look inwards towards the land and you will see why. Here lies the mountains and in contrast to the holiday resorts of Spain, you might wonder what this town, and indeed the whole area, has to offer - the answer is, quite a lot.

Alcoy (Alcoi) is known as ‘The City of Bridges’, and internationally known as the home of the Moors and Christians Fiestas. The need for so many bridges is because of the natural lie of the land, with its many furrowed cliffs and steep drops. In addition to the small bridges that formed the old network, the Penàguila and Sant Roc bridges, which date from the 17th and 18th Centuries, there are also minor bridges to provide access to the textile industries which border the River Riquer. However, it was in the early 19th Century that bridges were built providing the necessary access for the growth of Alcoy. New ideas and methods of construction allowed for the Bridge of Cristina (1828-1838) to be constructed and years later when the then new layout for the Alicante to Valencia highway was drawn up, it also included the Bridge of San Roque (1862) and the Bridge of Petxina (1863).

One can also see the Viaduct of Canalejas (1901-1907) that links the historical centre of the town with the district of Tossal, the metallic structure of this viaduct, was at the time, a technical innovation. The Bridge of Sant Jordi was inaugurated on March 16th 1931 and the last but by no means least great civil work, was the Bridge of Fernando, inaugurated on the 27th April 1987 and used by drivers using the N-340 to Alcoy.

The history of Alcoy follows the pattern of the history of so many other towns and villages in the Alicante province and evidence still remains of these earliest occupations, some reminding the visitor of the Moorish occupation in the tenth to thirteenth centuries, but it was during the 15th Century that Alcoy came to prominence and its military might was invaluable in the defense of the coastline, particularly in places like Denia and Villajoyosa which were constantly under attack from incursions from North Africa, and so it was in this century that Alcoy became a town of the Crown and gentlemen of the nobility came to live there bringing their wealth with them.

For today’s visitors there are choices of what to see and where to go in this lovely town and certainly a one day visit is hardly long enough to take in all that there is to see. There are two defined tourist routes mapped out to ensure that the traveller sees all that there is on offer. There is the Modern Route that leads through the architectural history the town and in the last years of the 19th Century and the first years of the 20th Century there are examples of what is called Modernist Style. Pay a visit to the House of the Turkey at number 13-15 Calle San Nicholas or visit the Industrial Circle at number 19, this was an authentic social club of the bourgeoisie of a century ago and the things to look for are the Library and the Roundhouse Hall. There is a Conservatory of Music and Dance which in previous years was the home of members of the nobility and a look at the interior gives samples of the style of the times. The Cultural Centre was once, long ago, the Bank of Spain building and is worth seeing, as is the Plaza España surrounded by classic architecture including the Parish Church of Santa Maria and the Ayuntamiento (Town Hall).

For the outdoors enthusiast there is the Route of the Red Font, leading to forests of pines and oaks, with some climbing opportunities offering higher viewpoints for the more adventurous visitor, some of this journey can be negotiated by car. Then there is the higher part of the park the Menejador where the forest track ends and there is an observation post and the real jewel of the park is the pair of Perdiceras Eagles, which nest, perhaps luckily, in one of the more inaccessible areas of the Red Font.

Naturally, in a town which has managed to plan for modern buildings, shops, restaurants and bars to live harmoniously with its historic past there are many lovely places to eat and to enjoy the local gastronomic delights. Alcoy is well known for its candies, their excellent inlays and many specialities. In addition to the famous sugared almonds, torrat and pinyonets the local pastry shops offer sweetened nuts and sweets made of cream.

Lastly if you visit Alcoy in April then be sure not to miss its internationally known Moors and Christians Fiesta. For 4 days the town will become a medieval pageant as the locals re-enact the battle between the Moors and Christians dressed in full costume. There are over 20 Moorish and Christian armies participating and their preparation takes over a year to complete and is one of the greatest festivals in Spain. The costumes are as spectacular as the fireworks which will mark the end of this particular fiesta.

Article provided by kind permission of The Leader newspaper.

Alcoy Links: Alcoy Guide - Alcoy Map - Alcoy Weather

Nearby Places: Cocentaina - Jijona - Ontinyent - Ibi - Alcalali - Benidorm - Denia - Moraira - Calpe - Altea - Albir - Javea - Guadalest - Villajoyosa - Busot - El Campello - Finestrat

Attractions: Gallinera Valley - Penon de Ifach - Algar Waterfalls - Caves of Canelobre - Fuentes de Algar

Golf Courses: Oliva Nova Golf - Ifach Golf Club - Real Faula Golf - Spain Golf

Related: Alicante - Murcia - Valencia - Alicante Weather - Alicante Transfers - Spain - Builders