History of Calpe. Places of Interest in Calpe: Rock of Ifach, the Salt Flats, the Queen’s Baths. Calpe, a history associated with the Rock of Ifach.
History of Calpe:
The history of Calpe vanishes into the midst of time. Archaeological remains discovered between the Rock of Ifach and the Morro del Toix reveal that in remote times the town was populated by different civilizations: Iberians, Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans, Arabs and Christians, as a result of its location and mild climate, and that the Romans remained in Calpe the longest.
From the early days of its history to today, Calpe’s strategic location has made it a point of attraction, luring a large number of visitors seeking the sun, its beaches and its people.
Calpe’s history has left a long list of monuments, namely, Los Baños de la Reina, Casa Nova, El Castellet de Calp, La Ermita de San Juan de la Cometa, El Torreó de la Peça, El Forta de la Mar, el Llavador de la Font, etc., and many museums to enjoy and discover its history.
Places of interest in Calpe:
‘El Peñón de Ifach’ (Rock of Ifach), emblem of La Costa Blanca, is a 50,000 m² calcareous rock, standing 332 metres tall and one kilometre long. It is the result of a landslide from the nearby ‘Sierra de Oltá’ and one of the most significant and beautiful landmarks of Calpe, La Costa Blanca and the Autonomous Community of Valencia. Besides its beauty, its relevance is emphasised by the flora and vegetation found on the rock as well as the birds, fauna and marine flora inhabiting the foot of the rock, where it comes into contact with the Mediterranean Sea.
In 1987, the Rock of Ifach was purchased by the Generalitat Valenciana, which declared it Nature Reserve. ‘La Casa París’ was converted into ‘Aula de la Naturaleza’ (nature classroom) and laboratories and other facilities were installed in the living quarters of the old country house. The Rock has been a source of inspiration to authors, poets, artists, composers, photographers and, no doubt, a silent witness of many declarations of love.
Currently, the Rock of Ifach is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Calpe. Around the Rock we can find different routes to guide us to the Rock and the coastline of Calpe. One can climb the Rock of Ifach after visiting the 'Aula de la Naturaleza’ and enjoy the magnificent panoramic views; sail along the Calpe Bay and around the Rock on board the leisure boats available in the summer; stroll around the Rock bordering the sea along the Paseo Ecológico Príncipe de Asturias (the Prince of Asturias’ Ecological Promenade); and enjoy swimming, diving or scuba diving on the beaches and coves close to the Rock to discover the rich seabed.
Calpe, an exciting world around the ROCK OF IFACH.
‘Las Salinas de Calpe’ (the salt flats of Calpe) is a natural area which throughout history has been a source of wealth for Calpe’s economy, due to the prime necessity of salt for preserving food. In Calpe’s case, the salt was used to preserve fish, as Calpe has always been a fishing town. Calpe’s salt flats occupy a depression filled by quaternary alluvial deposits. The location of the Rock of Ifach is a decisive factor for the formation of this interesting humid area. The salt flats are home to unique plants adapted to withstand high concentrations of salt both in the soil and the water, and they also provide a suitable habitat for migratory birds like Storks, Flamingos, Audouin’s Gulls, Royal Herons, Laughing Gulls, Royal Ducks, etc. These birds’ visit to Calpe’s salt flats is a big attraction for ornithology enthusiasts.
‘Los Baños de la Reina’ (the Queen’s Baths), although long ago eroded by the waves of the sea, history suggests that this was a construction designed for bathing, where sluice gates were installed to reduce or prevent the movement of the waves. The water came in through four different points, two located to the south and the other two to the west, so that each of the inlets reached their respective baths. These channels were arranged so that the water inside the baths was totally calm. However, another theory suggests that this construction was a sophisticated salting factory. This idea is based on the presence of mackerel, tuna and sweet water, which was necessary for cleaning fish, as well as on the proximity of the salt flats. Whatever they originally were, they are certainly worth a visit when in Calpe.