Saint John’s Holy Nigth in Alicante

Alicante is one of the three biggest cities in the Valencia region. Its name comes from the old times when Spain was under the Islamic occupation. It’s situated on one of the most beautiful coast of the country, the Costa Blanca. It is also a place where  many foreign tourist lives or spend their holidays. Alicante is an ideal city to visit for people who want to enjoy their vacation getting tanned on the beach,  doing shopping and having fun in many night clubs, restaurants and pubs. It is also a great place for all those people who are tired of sunless and rainy weather during the year. In Alicante there are very nice beaches which are almost always full of locals and tourist from all over the world, especially from Great Britain, Germany and France. And, of course, where there are a lot of tourist, there are a lot of little shops and bazaars where you can buy almost everything, for example a handbag by Louis Button for 25 euro or a hand watch by Dolce Gobbana  for 20 euro, African and Indian bracelets, accessories,  clothes .

It’s worth to see the old city because of numerous tourist attractions like, for example, la Lonja de pescado, from the beginning  of XX-th century, which combines in its design elements of two different styles: industrial and neo Arabic . In this nice city you can visit a beautiful gothic basilica of the Virgin Mary which was erected on the ruins of the main Alicante’s mosque (city names starting with BEN and AL have Arab origin) and is the oldest temple of the city. Also you can find interesting the towers of the city, fairly well preserved (Torres de Defensa de la Huerta de Alicante) defending the city against the attacks of Berber pirates. The most attractive of them are called Veronica, Bonanza and Reixes.

During our visit we saw one of the two castle in Alicante, called Santa Barbara’s castle which is situated on the highest hill in the area, Benacantil. This castle was previously an Arabic castle and then was rebuilt by the victorious Christians and now consist of three parts from three periods of time: 14th , 16th  and 18th  century. The second castle is the castle of San Fernando from the 19th century ,built to defend the city against the invasion of Napoleon. The most famous Fiesta in Alicante and its region is Las Hogueras de San Juan, what it means The fires of Saint John, which starts on 20th of June and ends the 24th of June, the holy night of Saint John. During this week, the inhabitants of Alicante build large and colorful sculptures made of cardboard and wood which are burned in the last night of the fiesta, after the fantastic display of fireworks at the castle of Santa Barbara visible throughout the city. It is a celebration similar to the polish Wianki, which comes from pagan times and it’s obviously associated with the summer solstice. During this celebration of the arrival of summer time, in the city there are numerous sport events, corrida, concerts, parades or cabalgatas, and all of this is happening in the streets and beaches, mostly in San Juan beach and Postiguet beach which are the most known and visited. The street shops and bars offer local dishes like torta de atun (pastry with tuna fish), brevas (figs) and arroz a banda (a kind of paella). Every year, each district of the city select  one female candidate for the Queen of Summer Festival´s competition. It´s certainly unforgettable to visit Alicante during that interesting summer holidays!