I came back already from my little holiday in Santa Pola. I have had a lovely time, doing all the things you usually don’t do in your daily life, because of lacking of time, such as walking by the nice beach promenade, reading (Chris Stewart books this time!), eating very fresh and delicious fish and seafish and rices cooked in many different styles, drinking delicious "horchatas with fartons" (made with tiger nuts), listening to nice chorals by the sea.... well, a really relaxing time, nothing to do with stress, transport strikes and this sort of things I have in my own city now.
This little fishing and touristic village is a town with a great history. It had the influence of oriental societies, Greek and Phoenician, gave way to the Iberian culture, which left its mark in Santa Pola. In the 4th Century BC a fortified settlement was established, bringing fishermen and traders, marking the start of the village of Santa Pola. With the arrival of the Romans in the 1st century BC the population rose as it became one of the main seaports known as the Portus Illicitanus. After the fall of the Roman Empire and during the Middle Ages the area known as the Port of Cap de l’Aljub lost its population, mainly due to the pirates that had established themselves on the island off the coast, known today as Tabarca Island.
To protect and defend fishermen and sailors from these pirate attacks the watchtowers and castle fortress was built. The castle was built in 1557 by Italian engineers. Today the castle centre plays host to a full culture, festive and religious programme.
During the summer months when its population literally doubles with tourists, mainly Spanish, who dine out in the eateries, enjoying chocolate with churros in the squares and plazas and lazing along the miles of beaches, which are a mecca for water and wind sport enthusiasts. Another popular attraction is the aquarium situated on Francisco Fernanez Ordóñez Square.
THE ISLE OF TABARCA
Santa Pola is the nearest place from the Iberian Peninsula to Tabarca island, just 3 miles away from the Cape and the only inhabited island in the Valencian Community. During all the year boats leave from the port of Santa Pola for this dearly island, declared a National Historical Area in 1964.
Visiting the island is a way of dropping anchor in the past and remember that once, it was a place for artist’s inspiration and a sanctuary for pirates. Just to finish with this serious problem, the island was fortified and filled up with people from the isle of Tabarqah (Tabarka), in Tunisia.
From this time, (18th. cent) there still survive the walls, the gates of San Gabriel, san Miguel and San Rafael, the defensive tower of San José, the Governor’s House (Casa del Gobernador) -turned into a hotel, today- and the Church.
Paradise of crystal-clear waters, its magnificent flora and fauna turn this island into a dreaming place for diving, turning into the first national marine reserve in 1986.