Palmeral palm forest in Elche (Alicante) is more than a symbol

22ND ANNIVERSARY: Mayor Carlos Gonzalez celebrates Elche’s World Heritage designation Photo credit: Elche city hall

MORE than 1,000 people gathered in Elche’s Hort de Felip on November 26 to celebrate the 22nd anniversary of the Palmeral’s World Heritage Centre designation.

The 500-hectare forest, Europe’s largest with more than 200,000 date palms, was planted by the Romans but was later extended by Moorish and Christian rulers.

This was also the first World Heritage anniversary celebration to be held since the regional parliament passed the 2021 Ley del Palmeral, which guaranteed funding and conservation as well as protection from building development.

“The Palmeral is more than a symbol for us all,” declared Elche’s mayor, Carlos Gonzalez,  thanking the different groups and collectives present at the event for their efforts to “preserve, conserve and guarantee” the palm forest’s future.

From 10am the public was invited to watch, or participate in, activities linked to the local culture centring on the palm trees and their products.

These included a palm-climbing competition with contestants wearing the traditional espadrilles and rope harness used when lopping and pruning the trees. First prize went to Jesus Aldarias who reached the top of the 15-metre tree and rang the bell at the top in the shortest space of time.

The public were also invited to discover what it is like to be a “palmero” for a day and  to sow winter wheat.

Felip Sanchez, councillor for Rural Development, who accompanied the mayor, also congratulated the Raval Residents’ Associations for their efforts in keeping the Huerta alive, referring to the plots of Palmeral land historically used for growing cereal and vegetables.


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Written by

Linda Hall

Originally from the UK, Linda is based in Valenca and is a reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering local news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]