The earliest remains found here are of an Iberian settlement
whose major activity was trading with other coastal settlements.
The Romans then extended the town, and it became one of their main commercial ports along the coast, with the Roman name of Portus Illicitanus. After the demise of the Roman Empire the coastal area suffered a slow process of depopulation. Much of the problem was due to pirate attacks, and the pirates had a base on the nearby Isla Tabarca.
Various Roman artifacts can be found in the town today, including
a wonderful Roman mosaic in the park. You can also see in the same area the
remains of the Portus Illicitanus, the Roman “Palmeral” Villa from
the early Empire and a 4th century Roman fish factory, in addition to numerous
Iberian and Greek ruins.
In the centre of the town stands an impressive castle dating from the 16th century built in the military Renaissance style. Today it houses a chapel dedicated to the Virgin of Loreto, an Aquarium displaying some of the fauna from the Santa Pola Bay, the Museum of the Sea with archaeological artefacts rescued from the sea. Opposite the castle entrance is the Plaza de la Glorieta,that at night comes alive when locals meet in the bars and restaurants.
Beautifully laid out squares mix with busy streets and ancient ruins lay round every corner. Santa Pola also has some fine churches and museums plus its own fiestas.
There is a nearby natural park at Las Salinas, salt flats which is home to a flock of Flamingos.
Daily markets sell fresh fish, straight off the boats. And on Saturday visit the street market, near the park
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