Where In The World? - The Southern Costa Blanca
At one stage Torrevieja was a sparsely populated but thriving fishing village which attracted many people from close by, these people were mainly Italian fishermen who were attracted by the abundant fishing and who came from the Island (Isla) of Tabarca, just off the east coast of Alicante where pirates once occupied the island and used it as a refuge, the Italian families were brought in to expel these pirates from the island. Old Italian origins remain to this day and can still be seen in Torrevieja. Origins
Torrevieja as a city dates back to the early 18th century, it was built around one of the many watchtowers, built by the Moors, which flank the Costa Blanca coastline, this watchtower was in such poor condition that it came to be called “The Old Tower” (La Torre Vieja) and hence from this the village took its name.
From the beginning there have been three main professions in Torrevieja:-
Seamen: The men from Torrevieja were shipbuilders and great sailors, they transported salt, wine and flat roof tiles to America and the Philippines. They had a long tradition transporting salt to Cuba, “in exchange” the Cuban sailors left behind them a wealth of melodies and songs from the Caribbean, now famously known as "Las Habaneras” (The Cuban Sailors' Songs), these songs are interpreted each year at the end of July by choirs from all over the world, who descend upon Torrevieja to participate in the International Habaneras and Polyphony Competition which is held at the Eras de la Sal harbour venue, this being one of three very well renowned theatres within the municipality. A monumental fountain pays tribute to Las Habaneras and is sited close to the main entrance to the Port (El Puerto) and near to the end of the seafront boulevard (Paseo Vistalegre). Thanks to all of this maritime tradition, Torrevieja came to be the home of the most important fleet in the Mediterranean Sea.
Fishermen: Most of their work involved “night fishing” as we know it, casting out their nets under an artificial light, which in turn attracted fish such as red mullet in abundance, similar fishing vessels to those used during that time can still be seen in the harbour today.
Salt Workers: The salt works (Las Salinas) were developed in the 18th century when large amounts of salt were found in the lagoon. The salt works in Torrevieja are today considered the most important salt works in Europe and second only to the Dead Sea in Israel.
The modernist Casino in the centre of Torrevieja remains as a living testament of that golden era where the wealthy middle class, dedicated to the salt trade, used to gather there and socialize.
In 1830 the first town hall (Ayutamiento) was built, the present town hall, as in true Spanish tradition, accompanies the main church (Iglesia de la Inmaculada Concepcion) and is situated adjacent to the main square (Plaza de la Constitucion) in the centre of the city.
Now officially declared a centre of culture, Torrevieja has been developing stage by stage and is today regarded by many to be one of the most well kept and attractive tourist resorts on the Mediterranean, visited all year round and now home to many people from all over the world.
Torrevieja belongs to Alicante, one of three provinces that make up Costa Blanca’s Valencian Community, Castellón and Valencia both in the north are the remaining two, with the province of Murcia bordering on the south and to the west of Alicante. Easily accessible and within an hour's drive by motorway north and south from both Región De Murcia - Corvera and Alicante - Elche international airports respectfully. Torrevieja is linked by the N-332 coastal highway (Carretera) and the exceptional A-7 and AP-7/A-37 motorways (Autopistas), which connect very efficiently with local and national infrastructure and allow easy access to many of the surrounding residential areas and developments, towns and cities, villages, golf courses, bowling greens, sport centres, beaches, marinas and other important everyday facilities and services such as schools, colleges, shopping centres and hospitals etc.
The Costa Blanca (White Coast) allows you a quality of life second to none, the region’s micro-climate offers over 300 days a year of glorious sunshine, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has designated the environment as the healthiest in Europe and second most in the world. Annual rainfall is low, long hot summer days can reach well into the mid to high 30’s Celsius with nights warm and comfortable, winter sees the temperature a little cooler and milder. The yearly average is 18º Celsius and one may be forgiven for thinking that they are on holiday all the year round.
Located in an area of outstanding beauty, Torrevieja and neighbouring La Mata boast two natural salt water lakes known as “Las Lagunas” (The Lagoons), the largest of which being pink in colour due to a micro-organism similar to that of plankton called Artemia Salina and is a sight to behold.
The lagoon is accessible on foot and it’s quite normal to see people of all ages bathing in it and covering themselves from head to toe with “mud” collected from the lagoon and shoreline, all of which is carried out mainly for medicinal and therapeutic reasons, as the water and “mud” extract contain salt minerals which help to relieve stiff aching joints and also aids respiratory problems.
The area forms part of the “Nature Reserve Park of the La Mata Lagoon and Torrevieja Lagoon”, this being a nature protection zone (ZEPA) for flora and fauna including the many species of birds such as the flamboyant Pink Flamingo, the Colorado Duck, Osprey and Purple Heron, who are all welcomed visitors to the area. The Majestic Carrascoy, Cresta Del Gallo, Pila and Sierra De Callosa mountain ranges of Murcia, Orihuela, Crevillente and Elche form an amazing picturesque backdrop and significantly contribute to the filtration and purification of oxygen in the air, what more can one want? paradise finally found!
The Alicante and Murcia regions are both widely known for their excellent education system and facilities, offering a large number of multi-cultural/lingual schools, colleges and universities to those wanting to learn more, the Roman and Arabic influenced cities of Alicante, Orihuela and Cartagena along with the first century A.D. Cathedral city of Murcia and the beautiful palm grove park city of Elche encompass a wealth of subjects and information for people and students of all ages from all over the globe. Many families from across Europe and the rest of the world who made the decision to live and also work in Spain, have successfully registered their children at local schools and because of the rising demand for school placements, local authorities have recognized the need and have given permission for more new schools to be built including also the appointment of additional multi-lingual teachers and staff.
Enjoying Life - There's Lots To Do!
Leisure facilities are in abundance, impressive modern day sports centres/complexes with heated Olympic size swimming pools accommodate a countless array of indoor sports and activities, “open air” tennis courts, health spas and gyms are also available within some residential developments.
A number of equestrian riding schools open their stables to the public, there are also some excellent yachting clubs and marinas along this sun drenched and varying south eastern coastline, who can resist the warm sparkling waters of the beautiful Mediterranean Sea that caters for every kind of water sport and leisure pursuits imaginable, why not take a ferry-boat excursion from one of the many bustling harbour wharfs to the Island of Tabarca where it all began?
Torrevieja has two water parks, the fun-filled Aquopolis Parque Acuatico and Parque de las Naciones (Park of the Nations) which, when seen in its full glory from above is beautifully landscaped as the map of Europe, for relaxed indoor entertainment there is an 8 screen multiplex cinema venue with a 16 lane bowling alley including game and leisure areas close by, the more energetic may prefer Velice Discotheque which offers lively fun and enjoyment all night long and all of this is within walking distance of the immediate area’s two main commercial shopping centres - Habaneras and the very popular Carrefour Hypermarket. The impressive and much loved Zenia Boulevard shopping centre in Orihuela Costa (a 10 minute drive only south of Torrevieja on the N-332 coastal highway) offers an exciting trip out for everyone, showcasing major high street names and brands such as Zara, Zara Home, Benetton, H&M, C&A, Primark, Lefties, Pull & Bear, Leroy Merlin, Adidas, Burger King, Subway, free WiFi zones, children’s play areas, sports and leisure facilities and various live entertainment on a daily basis.
Just over an hour’s drive north by motorway you discover Benidorm’s “world of leisure” which includes the area’s most famous and spectacular landmark entertainment’s venue Benidorm Palace, also on your travels you'll find the now very popular and very much enjoyed Terra Mitica and Terra Natura theme parks, Aqualandia water park and Mundomar marine and exotic animal park. All of this adds up to great fun for all the family.