On the banks of the Rio Segura, Orihuela sits at the base of a barren mountain of rock.  200 years after its designation as a bishopric in 1564 it enjoyed wealth and prestige as a new town was created to stand beside the town's Gothic treasures.  It is a little jaded these days but if you are interested in ecclesiastical architecture it is well worth taking some time to explore the town's heritage; a 16th Century Convento de Santo Domingo (a University back in 1569 and now again functioning in an educational role); a 14th Century Catalan-Gothic Cathedral built on the site of a mosque (as is so often in Spain) and including a small museum in a charming little cloister and various other small places of worship and museums. 

Crowning the mountain that dominates Orihuela are the ruins of a Castle, originally constructed by the Muslims.  If you should venture up the stiff climb there is a great view of the town and rolling plain.

Orihuela's Easter Week processions rival in fervour and splendour to those of many larger towns.  There is also a week-long Fiesta held around the 17th July, the date of the town's repossession from the Arabs, where competing bands of Moors and Christians take to the streets and fight mock battles.  For four days around the 15th August Orihuela holds its annual live-stock fair.

There are plenty of bars and small places to eat Tapas and the Restaurante Sorzano de Tejeda, famous for its rice dishes, occupies a former palace and offers elegant dining.  For something special go to the Hotel Palacio de Tudemir where they do an inventive menu of regional specialities.

The Orihuela Costa street market is every Saturday and is to be found on the Calle Nicolas Bussi (behind the Mercadona at Playa Flamenca).  There are in the region of 800 stalls.


Copyright 2007 R Mills & D Tester. All Rights Reserved. Reproduction in part or in whole including images without permission is expressly prohibited.