Measuring the heights

PUIG CAMPANA: 1,410 metres above sea level, as measured from an Alicante step.

 A STEP in Alicante’s city hall is being touted as a tourist attraction.

A plaque beside the main staircase at Alicante city hall was Spain’s first altitude marker.

It marks the first step as NP-1, 3.4 metres above sea level.  Alicante was chosen as the starting point for altitude measurements in 1871, explained Adrian Santos, councillor responsible for Alicante city’s Urban Image department.

Although the Mediterranean is practically tideless, there is less difference between the high-tide and low-tide mark on the Alicante coast than anywhere else in Spain.

The plaque is soon to be replaced with another giving more information of the staircase’s claim to fame. 

“We want the step to become a tourist attraction like Kilometre Zero in Madrid,” Santos said, referring to the original starting point for measuring all main roads.

All heights in Spain are given using the step as the base measuring point.  So Alicante province’s highest, mountain, Aitana, visible from much of the Marina Baja, is 1,557 metres above sea level, using the city hall’s step as a measuring point.

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