The History of Moraira (Costa Blanca)
Moraira is a small upmarket Spanish coastal town, part of Teulada municipality, in the Marina Alta comarca, 80 km north of Alicante and 100 km south of Valencia. The town is located adjacent to the neighbouring village of El Portet and both communities form a tourist resort on the Costa Blanca strip, with 8 km of coastline backed by mountains and vineyards.
A brief history
Prehistoric and Moorish Origins
The area around Moraira has been inhabited since prehistory. Objects found in the Cova de la Cendra archaeological site on Cap d’Or – adjacent to the town – revealed that human habitation can be traced back to the Upper Paleolithic era. Pots linked to the Iberians have also been found on Cal d’Or, suggesting that they later inhabited the area during the Bronze Age.
Following the Umayyad conquest of Hispania, the area was eventually settled by Moors and the influence of that culture can still be seen today in the region’s architecture and municipal layouts. Many of the names in the Teulada-Moraira area derive from the Moor settlement – such as Alcassar, Benimeit, Benimarco, Moravit, Pouet del Morro and Tabaira. Local legend suggests that Moraira was named after the Moorish princess Ira, la Mora.
Christian Conquest and Fortification
During the Reconquista, the Moors were expelled by Jaime I de Aragón and became part of the Kingdom of Aragon between 1270 and 1280 – this is still celebrated today during the annual Moros y cristianos festival. In the years that followed, the Moors were replaced by Christian settlers from Catalonia and Aragon, who introduced the Valencian language to the area.
In 1386 Teulada was founded five kilometers from the coast by the Lords of Lluria, Serria and Grandia and became a municipality in its own right. During the 16th century, Barbary pirates raided the coast and Teulada was fortified with a lookout tower on the Cap d’Or by Felipe II.
This was part of a planned chain of fortifications which later included the Castillo de Moraira – completed in 1742 – located in what is now the centre of the town. The Castillo was armed with four bronze cannons and was badly damaged by the British fleet on 20 July 1801 during the French Revolutionary Wars although it has since been restored.
Farming and Fishing Development
By the end of the 18th century, Teulada had developed into a farming village, with crops exported by sea from natural ports. In 1930, Moraira became an independent parish within Teulada and started to grow as a fishing village. In 1974, Teulada-Moraira became an official municipality with two urban centres. Since then, Moraira has evolved into a popular tourist destination while preserving its historical and cultural heritage.
Beaches and Marina
Today, Moraira is a charming town that offers a variety of attractions for visitors and residents alike. It has a mild climate with more than 300 days of sunshine per year, making it ideal for enjoying its beautiful beaches and coves, such as L’Ampolla, El Portet, Platgetes or L’Andragó. It also has a marina with Calpe Rock in the distance, where you can practise water sports such as sailing, diving or kayaking.
Gastronomy and Market
Moraira has a rich gastronomy based on fresh fish and seafood, rice dishes, fruits and vegetables from its fertile land. You can taste its delicious cuisine in one of its many restaurants or bars, or visit its weekly market where you can buy local products. Some of its typical dishes are paella valenciana, arroz a banda (rice with fish), fideuà (noodle paella), cocas (savoury pastries) or mistela (sweet wine).
Culture and Festivals
The town has a lively cultural scene with events throughout the year. You can visit its museums, such as the Ethnological Museum or the Fishermen’s Museum, or admire its monuments, such as the Church of Santa Caterina, the Hermitage of Sant Vicent Ferrer or the sculpture of the Birds by Antoni Marí. You can also enjoy its festivals, such as the Carnival in February, the Fallas in March, the Easter processions in April or the Patron Saint Festivities in June.
Moraira is a town that combines tradition and modernity, history and nature, culture and leisure. It is a place where you can relax and have fun, discover and learn, enjoy and share. It is a town that will make you fall in love with its charm and beauty.
More About Moraira Town
Population and Diversity
Moraira is not only a historical and cultural town, but also a vibrant and diverse one. It has a population of about 10,000 people, of which more than half are foreigners, mainly from the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands and France. This gives Moraira a cosmopolitan and multicultural atmosphere, where different languages, customs and lifestyles coexist harmoniously.
Environment and Sustainability
Moraira is a town that respects and protects its natural environment, as it has been awarded the Blue Flag for its clean and safe beaches, the Q for Quality Tourism for its services and facilities, and the ISO 14001 for its environmental management. Moraira is committed to sustainable development and responsible tourism, preserving its natural resources and promoting its local identity.
Activities and Attractions
Moraira offers a wide range of activities and attractions for all tastes and ages. You can explore its scenic routes and trails, such as the Camí de la Mar or the Camí de la Font Santa, where you can enjoy the views of the sea and the mountains, or visit its vineyards and wineries, where you can taste its famous Moscatel wine. You can also discover its hidden treasures, such as the Cova de les Rates Penades or the Torre Vigía del Cap d’Or, where you can learn more about its history and legends.
Entertainment and Leisure
Moraira has a lot to offer for entertainment and leisure. You can enjoy its nightlife, with its pubs, bars and clubs, where you can dance, listen to live music or have a drink with your friends. You can also have fun at its amusement parks, such as the Go-Karting or Animal Park, where you can have a great time with your family or friends. You can also indulge yourself at its spas and wellness centres, such as the Parador de Moraira or the Swiss Hotel Moraira, where you can relax and pamper yourself with massages, treatments or therapies.
The Bottom Line
Moraira has something for everyone. It is a town that will surprise you with its diversity and quality. It is a town that will welcome you with its hospitality and friendliness. It is a town that will make you feel at home.
Doctor – University of Florida College of Dentistry
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