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Denia Castle overlooks the city and the Port beyond.

Denia (Dénia in Valencian), is a city in the province of Alacant, Spain, on the Costa Blanca halfway between Alacant and Valencia, the judicial seat of the comarca of Marina Alta. As of 2007, it had a population of 42,704[1].

Nearby is the popular resort town of Xàbia.

Contents

History

There is evidence of human habitation in the area since prehistoric times and there are significant Iberian ruins on the hillsides nearby. In the 4th century BC it was a Greek colony of Marseille or Empúries, being mentioned by Strabo as Hemeroscòpion. It was an ally of Rome during the Punic Wars, and later was absorbed in the Roman possessione with the name of Dianum. In the 1st century BC Quintus Sertorius established a Roman naval base here[2 ].

In 636-696, during the Visigothic Kingdom of Iberia, it was the seat of a bishop depending from Toledo. After the Muslim conquest of Iberia and the dissolution of the Caliphate of Cordoba, Dénia (known as Deniyya) became the capital of a taifa kingdom that reigned over part of the Valencian coast and Ibiza. The Slavic slaves, saqaliba, managed to free themselves and run the taifa. The taifa lost its independence in 1076, when it was captured by Ahmad al-Muqtadir, lord of Zaragoza, under which it remained until the Almoravid invasion in 1091. The Muslim Arabs originally built the castle fortress, and the French, who occupied the city for four years during the War of the Spanish Succession, re-built it in the early 19th century.

The town was captured by the Christian in 1244. This caused a decline for the city, which remained nearly unhinabited after the exile of most of the Muslim population. It was later repopulated by the Valencian government. Created into a fief in 1298, it was held by the de Sandoval family from 1431, although the city itself was returned to Aragonese crown in 1455. A marquisate from 1487, Dénia gained much privileges thanks to Francisco Gómez de Sandoval y Rojas, Duke of Lerma, a favorite of Philip III of Spain. It suffered a further period of decay after the decree of Expulsion of the Moriscos (1609), by which 25,000 people left the marquisate, leaving the local economy in a dismayal state.

It was reacquired by the Spanish crown in 1803, after which Denia gained an increasingly important role as trading port. A community of English raisin traders lived in Denia from 1800 until the time of the Spanish Civil War in the late 1930s.

Main sights

Denia is home to a castle located on on a rocky crag overlooking the city. It t was built in the 11th and 12th century and offers views around the sea, the city and the backlands. Within the castle is the Palau del Governador with its museum.

Denia is also home to the Museo Etnologico with further details on the history and culture of the city.

Transportation

The ferry to Ibiza and the other Balearic Islands departs from Denia daily. The city also serves as a terminus for a metre gauge railway line through the mountains from Alicante (popularly known as the (Limón Express), run by FGV.

Culture

The popular bonfire festival is celebrated each March. Huge paper mache statues, called fallas are set up throughout the town, and then set ablaze.

The popular Bous a la Mar (meaning "Bulls at the Sea") is held in July. The highlight of this week long festival is watching bulls run down the main street Marques de Campo, only to be chased into the Mediterranean sea by those daring enough to enter a makeshift bull ring with them.

Sports

Denia's local football team is called Club Deportivo Dénia, and plays in Spain's Second Division B.

References

  1. ^ Spanish Statical Institute
  2. ^ (in Spanish) Parque Natural del Montgó - Estudio Multidisciplinar. Valencia: Conselleria d'Administració Pública, Agencia del Mediambient. pp. 60.  

External links

Coordinates: 38°50.4′N 0°06.6′E / 38.84°N 0.11°E / 38.84; 0.11

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