....town or city??
Is Elche a town or a city??
It’s a good question. Well, Elche is a city, but if you ask someone from Alicante, he/she will probably answer that Elche is a town. The reason for that is the rivalry among Elche and Alicante due to football. Both of them have football teams playing in the same division, and it seems to be a tradition not to get on well with one’s neighbour.
I’ll tell you briefly the history of Elche. Elche has had two important settlements. The first one was two kilometres away from the today’s city. There are remains from the Neolithic period until the Visigothic period. The settlement had a strategic location and the river Vinalopó, which made it easy to defend. After that, by the 5th century BC, the settlement developed into the Iberian city of Heliké, which eventually was invaded by the Carthaginians. The famous Iberian sculpture, the Dama d’Elx, is the best example of the art of this period. At present, you can see it if you visit the Madrid’s National Archaeological Museum.
Then the Romans invaded the Iberian Peninsula, and the city was granted the title of Colonia Julia Ilice Augusta (that’s the reason why the inhabitants of Elche are named ‘Ilicitanos’), a high status that just had the cities of Ilice (Elche) and Valentia (Valencia) in what is now the Valencian Region. The city even had the imperial privilege of minting its own currency.
After the fall of the Roman Empire, Elche was plunged in a period of destruction up to the appearance of the Moors. Then, in the 13th century the Christian king Jaume I conquered the city, forcing the Muslims and the Jews to live in two humble neighborhoods.
In the middle of the 19th century the espadrille industry acquired a high importance, and it encouraged the growth of the city, not only economically but also culturally. Before that industrial revolution, Elche was a town that lived from the agriculture, but thanks to the creation of lots of new work places, a lot of immigrants came to work to Elche throughout the 20th century.They got a new life and settled down in the city. Nowadays, Elche’s population is about 250000, and it's rising...
Yes! The city exploits the fact that it produces nearly half of Spain’s footwear. There are museums, but you can also visit a real footwear factory, because it’s still a major centre of shoemaking. Some worldwide-known footwear brands were born in Elche, and others manufacture their goods in this area.
It’s really interesting to know the making of a shoe or a boot, from the cut of the leather to the packing. If you want to know more about that issue, next time I can explain it in detail with images. I’ve been working as an eventual in a factory shoe for many holidays, and I’m an expert now!
These days, the problem of the Spain’s footwear industry is the competition from other countries. Their factories sell quality shoes at a price that cannot be competed, due to the cheap labour among others.For that reason, the number of footwear factories has been falling for years. The footwear sector in Spain commits itself to further rise of the quality of the shoes, and to popularize its brands round the world. On the other hand, the construction and other industries have grown quickly, which means new jobs there.
Now, you know more about Elche's industry. Could you tell me how most of people where you live in make a living?
Jonathan, thanks very much for your corrections and explanations. They throw light on points I wasn’t sure of. My Spanish mind is always running!
At that right night… I tried to say that they leave the kids’ presents “ the night of January 5th” .
My answers to your latest homework are:
- A “cabalgata” takes place that evening in every city.
- A “cabalgata” takes place in every city that evening.
2. Everybody wants to be the one who has the best car.
- The period of time just before an important event such as Christmas = the run-up (to Christmas).
- To have a quick look al something = to cast a glance at something
- To say something that is exactly right or appropriate = the correct version
4. Life and sole….it sounds the same as Life and soul. Looking it up on Google, the first result is a page of reflexology, what seems quite suitable to the homophone ‘life and soul’….
5. I’ve written two possibilities to introduce a question that may be a bit too personal or inquisitive:
- I don’t want to pry, but would you mind telling me a single quote you live by?
- I don’t want to be nosy, but could you tell me what your favourite film is?
How time flies!! It’s time to do some jogging to keep fit!
Thanks to everybody for all your comments!! It's nice to know from you!!....Tomorrow I'll answer all of them, and I'll try to include a recipe of a typical spanish dish, as the Paella... but I'm opened to more suggestions!
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