Moraira

MOraira, Costa Blanca, Spain

Moraira is a small town roughly half way between Alicante 80 kms and Valencia 108 kms. Barcelona is 438 kms to the north

Moraira covers 32 sq.kms. with more than 2,000 hectares under cultivation and 1,000 hectares of vineyards. The vineyard area tens to be back from the coast, up in the hills. A cooler climate, and the land is not so valuable.

It is a small town, which you can see from the 9,500 population given in the last census but this increases to as many as 30,000 during the tourist season.

Signs of human settlement here date back thousands of years from a find in a cave (Cova de la Cendra) on the Cap d´Or ( the headland that protects Moraira´s and El Portet beaches). The Iberians later settled in the area and ceramic remains from their civilisation have been discovered on the Cap d´Or .

Later the Moors occupied the area and, as elsewhere along the Spanish Mediterranean Coast, left their mark on the culture and economy of the area. The signs of this first "organized" society are still to be seen in the architecture, the irrigation and agricultural systems and town planning. Many of the area names have been handed down from this era, e.g. Benimarco, Benimeit, Pouet del Morro, Moravit, Tabaira, Alcassar etc.

The Moors were expelled in the 13th century by the conqueror Jaime I and then people from Catalunya and Aragon settled there, bringing with them the Valencian language. Teulada was formally founded in 1386 by the Lords of Llúria, Serría and Gandia who were the owners and later they handed over to the Barons of Ariza and Teulada and in the ninteenth century it was claimed by the crown.

During the 16th century the area was plagued by raids by Barbary pirates, the Town of Teulada was fortified and a lookout tower (now restored) was built on the Cap d´ Or. There is an old tale that Moraira was named after the heathen princess "Ira, la Mora" - hence "Mora Ira". This could be true but (sadly not) is the tale that her remains are entombed under the old castle on the main beach (now restored as a historical monument and museum).

There is actual evidence that this "Castillo de Moraira" was planned by Juan Bautista Antonelli within the fortification scheme developed by Felipe II to protect the coast from the Barbary invaders in the 16th century but, according to a plaque at the entrance, it was finished as late as 1742. It is also known that, although it was armed with four bronze cannons, it was badly damaged by the British on July 20th 1801.

At the end of the 18th century, when Teulada was a farming village, crops were transported by sea, embarking from the natural ports. As time went by, locals started to settle down near their working places, dedicating themselves to fishing. Those small houses where the tackle used to be kept, started to be enlarged until they were converted into real fishing houses, at the same time that this activity was gaining importance. This way how the foundations of what was to be known as an important tourist resort, called today Moraira, were laid.

Moraira seafront

Moraira enjoys a typical subtropical Mediterranean climate, with cool sea breezes in summer and protection by surrounding mountains against the cold North winds in winter. The area averages nearly 3,000 hours of sunshine each year and the average temperature easily exceeds 20 degrees. In 1986 the World Health Organisation recommended the climate of the area as one of the most equitable in the world - neither too hot in the summer nor too cold in the winter. On average it can boast 325 sunny days each year making it an ideal all year round destination.

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