The name Altea comes from the Greek Altahia which means “I cure”. In the last phase of Arab domination, Altea belonged to the Taifa of Denia. It was conquered in 1244 by Jaime I of Aragón and repopulated by Christians, obtaining the status of town in 1279.
The history of Altea is marked by the many civilisations which settled here, namely, Iberians, Greeks, Phoenicians, Romans and Muslims who left their imprint and influence. The Greeks and Romans were traders, setting up salting factories all along the Costa Blanca. The Arabs improved the area’s agriculture and imported the most sophisticated arts of fishing.
In the 17th century, the town went through a period of decadence, with the expulsion of the Moriscos in 1609 and the then frequent attacks from pirates. One of the most significant events was the landing of the armada of the Archduke Carlos de Austria, which enabled General Basset to conquer Denia and beyond, as far as Valencia.
Altea has always been a town that has attracted all kinds of artists, painters, writers, musicians, etc, in the decades of 1960 and 1970 it became a melting pot of bohemians. Eberhard Schlotter, Marisol, Rafael Alberti and Vicente Blasco Ibáñez are just some of the personalities who succumbed to Altea’s charms.
Altea is one of the most important cultural towns of eastern Spain. It holds the title of “Cultural Capital of the Autonomous Community of Valencia”, housing the Palau de Altea, the Department of Fine Arts of the Universidad Miguel Hernández de Alicante, the Music Conservatory, the Cultural Centre of Altea la Vella and the Museum of Ethnic Music.
The PALAU DE ALTEA can hold one thousand persons, and opens its doors to exhibitions, congresses, concerts and theatre plays of the highest level. Its stage has seen personalities as important as Rostropovich, Luis Llach, Julio Iglesias, Jose Carrera and many more.
The monastery church, IGLESIA MONASTERIO CARMELITAS DESCALZAS.
The watchtower,TORRE DE LA GALERA, declared a Place of Cultural Interest.
The watchtower, TORRE DE BELLAGUARDA, formerly part of the city walls and now next to a beautiful park in the district of Bellaguarda (Altea’s oldest district).
The church, IGLESIA PARROQUIAL DE NUESTRA SEÑORA DEL CONSUELO, is Altea’s main and most famous church because of its captivating dome, the emblem of Altea often referred to as the “the dome of the Mediterranean” for its beauty and splendour.
The district, PUEBLO ANTIGUO, next to the church, is one of the most beautiful areas of Altea. It is a perfectly preserved ancient town centre with cobbled streets, whitewashed houses and balconies overflowing with flowers. A supper in one of its restaurants and a stroll through its streets is a perfect plan for a superb evening.
The sea promenade, PASEO MARITIMO, offers a wonderful place for a stroll whilst enjoying the Mediterranean Sea and Altea’s rich gastronomic offer.
Altea, one thousand equally beautiful corners.