A walk along the old quarter of Alicante
Plaza del Mar
Alicante has always been a walled city because of the fear to the attacks from the sea. During the medieval period the city was conquered by the Muslims, and walls were built to defend it. Despite those defensive means, Alicante was bombarded from the sea in 1691 and 90% of the city was destroyed. That is why, during this walk we will try to see how the city was before and after the bombardment.
the first building of the Town Hall of Alicante was built after receiving the title of city in 1490 granted by Ferdinand The Catholic. Nevertheless, this first Town Hall was destroyed by the bombardment in 1691. This building is very close to the sea and, consequently, this was one of the most damaged areas of the city. The Town Hall that we can visit today was built at the beginning of the 18th Century. The Blue Room of this Town Hall is located on the first floor and was decorated as a palace to receive the Queen Isabel II in 1858.
La Ciudad Descubierta (The Discovered City)
next to the Town hall we find this exhibition where we can visit the ruins of several houses destroyed by the above mentioned bombardment as well as two walls of the city: the first was built in the 16th Century and protected the city during the bombardment, and the wall built in the 13th Century, which has been preserved because it was used as a wall for some houses.
Convento de las Monjas de la Sangre (Convent of the Blood Sisters)
In the Baroque period Alicante had numerous convents, but this is the only urban building that has survived.
Concatedral de San Nicolás
This building is one of the few buildings that was not destroyed during the bombardment. The construction of the Co-cathedral began in the 17th Century with a Herrerian style characterized by the sobriety and the scarce decorative items. The current façade is the main one, but when the church was built, the original main façade was the side one, made of black marble.
It has always been an important street of the old quarter. In the medieval period Alfonso X, The Wise, gave houses in this street to the noblemen that decided to live in Alicante. Nothing has survived from those houses due to the attack in 1691, and the rich inhabitants living close to the sea moved looking for protection.
Santa Cruz Quarter and Santa Cruz Hermitage
It is located in a quite high area, next to the wall going down from Santa Bárbara Castle. This is one of the most typical quarters of Alicante. The current hermitage dates back to the 18th Century and accommodates the statute of the Christ, which is the protagonist of the dramatic processions during the Holy Week along the steep streets of this quarter.
Museo de Aguas de Alicante
In this museum you will be showed how the water was channelled to supply the city. The method used for these purposes remained virtually the same from the medieval period to the 19th Century. The so-called Garrigós wells are located next to the museum. Although the first news about these wells date back to 1691, they were probably used as shelter by the inhabitants of Alicante during the bombardment, as well as during the Spanish Civil War.
Basílica de Santa María
This Basilica was originally a Muslim mosque, which became a Christian church after the Christians conquered the city. This is another building that was undamaged by the bombardment. The current church is Gothic, with pointed arches in the interior although outwardly the building seems to be square. This church was built on the medieval wall to improve the defence, and, that is way, it has a compact structure. You will see the marks of the cannon shots if you go down the stairs to the lower street. Although these marks are subsequent to the bombardment, the attacks from the sea in 1691 were similarly harmful and this is the reason why they built the church on the wall.
Contemporary Art Museum MACA
In the Plaza de Santa María, we find the oldest civil buildingpreserved in the city, dating from 1685, which has recently extended to accommodate the MACA. An important collection oftwentieth century art, which consists mainly of works donated byEusebio Sempere. It also works by Chillida, Picasso, Dali and Miro, among others.
It is another palace built in the same period than those in located in Labradores street. We finish our itinerary here, and you can take the opportunity to visit the Fine Arts Museum located inside this palace.