Countries<Spain<Comunidad Valenciana<Elche< Palmeral de Elche

Palmeral de Elche(Elche)

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The Palmeral de Elche is an example of a typically Islamic landscape, artificially transferred to the Iberian Peninsula. It is located within the urban area of the city of Elche and is a large expanse of palm trees with more than 45,000 specimens, making it the largest palm grove in Europe and the northernmost of its kind.

The main type of palm tree found here are date palms, which were brought there by the Arabs when they occupied the Iberian Peninsula and have survived to the present day. The best known parts of the Palm Grove are the Huerto del Cura, the Municipal Park, the Huerto de Abajo and the Huerto del Chocolatero. Some specimens are more than three centuries old, as the palm tree has an average lifespan of 250 to 300 years.

The Palm Grove was designed to achieve the highest yield from the water resources of the area, also allowing the cultivation of other species. It also stands out for developing a revolutionary hydraulic culture, characteristic of the Islamic settlements in the Iberian Peninsula.

The date palm was used to make better use of the scarce water available for irrigation. The palms were planted flanking the irrigation ditches and delimiting the cultivated fields. Today these palms still help other irrigated crops to grow. These crops can be of the traditional type such as cereals, vegetables and fruit trees; or of recent introduction such as flowers and ornamental plants. The Palmeral is an extraordinary example of sustainability in the agricultural development of fragile ecosystems.

The Palmeral de Elche was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO on 30 November 2000.

Image of Palmeral de Elche