Alicante

Alicante, is a city and port in Spain on the Costa Blanca, the capital of the province of Alicante and of the comarca of Alacantí, in the south of the Valencian Community.

 

 It is also a historic Mediterranean port. The population of the city of Alicante proper was 332,067, estimated as of 2014, ranking as the second-largest Valencian city.[ Including nearby municipalities, the Alicante conurbation had 452,462 residents. The population of the metropolitan area (including Elche and satellite towns) was 757,085 as of 2014 estimates, ranking as the eighth-largest metropolitan area of Spain.

 

During the early 20th century, Alicante was a minor capital that enjoyed the benefit of Spain's neutrality during World War I, and that provided new opportunities for the local industry and agriculture. The Rif War in the 1920s saw numerous alicantinos drafted to fight in the long and bloody campaigns in the former Spanish protectorate (Northern Morocco) against the Rif rebels. The political unrest of the late 1920s led to the victory of Republican candidates in local council elections throughout the country, and the abdication of King Alfonso XIII. The proclamation of the Second Spanish Republic was much celebrated in the city on 14 April 1931. The Spanish Civil War broke out on 17 July 1936. Alicante was the last city loyal to the Republican government to be occupied by dictator Franco's troops on 1 April 1939, and its harbour saw the last Republican government officials fleeing the country. Vicious air bombings were targeted on Alicante during the three years of civil conflict, most notably the bombing by the Italian Aviazione Legionaria of the Mercado de Abastos in 25 May 1938 in which more than 300 civilians perished.

The next 20 years under Franco's dictatorship were difficult for Alicante, as they were for the entire country. However, the late 1950s and early 1960s saw the onset of a lasting transformation of the city by the tourist industry. Large buildings and complexes rose in nearby Albufereta (e.g. El Barco) and Playa de San Juan, with the benign climate being the biggest draw to attract prospective buyers and tourists who kept the hotels reasonably busy. New construction benefited the whole economy, as the development of the tourism sector also spawned new businesses such as restaurants, bars and other tourist-oriented enterprises. Also, the old airfield at Rabassa was closed and air traffic moved to the new El Altet Airport, which made a more convenient and modern facility for charter flights bringing tourists from northern European countries.

When dictator Franco died in 1975, his successor Juan Carlos I played his part as the living symbol of the transition of Spain to a democratic constitutional monarchy. The governments of regional communities were given constitutional status as nationalities, and their governments were given more autonomy, including that of the Valencian region, the Generalitat Valenciana.

The Port of Alicante has been reinventing itself since the industrial decline the city suffered in the 1980s (with most mercantile traffic lost to Valencia's harbour). In recent years, the Port Authority has established it as one of the most important ports in Spain for cruises, with 72 calls to port made by cruise ships in 2007 bringing some 80,000 passengers and 30,000 crew to the city each year.[4] The moves to develop the port for more tourism have been welcomed by the city and its residents, but the latest plans to develop an industrial estate in the port have caused great controversy

 

Alicante enjoys mild winter temperatures, hot summers and little rain, concentrated in equinoctial periods. Scientists tend to classify the climate of Alicante region according to Köppen climate classification as hot semi-arid (On average the temperature ranges between 17.0 °C (63 °F) and 6.5 °C (44 °F) in January, and between 30.8 °C (87 °F) and 21.5 °C (71 °F) in August, with an average annual temperature of 18.3 °C (65 °F). Daily variations in temperature are generally small because of the stabilising influence of the sea, although occasional periods of westerly wind can produce temperature changes of 15 °C (27 °F) or more. Seasonal variations in temperature are also relatively small, meaning that winters are mild and summers are hot.

The average rainfall is 311 mm (12.2 in) per year. The cold drop means that September and October are the wettest months. Rainfall can be torrential, reaching over 200 mm (8 in) in a 24-hour period, leading to severe flooding. Because of this irregularity, only 35 rainy days are observed on average per year, and the annual number of sunshine hours is 2,953.

The record maximum temperature of 41.4 °C (107 °F) was observed on 4 July 1994.[ The record minimum temperature of −3.8 °C (25 °F) was recorded on 26 December 1970.[ The worst flooding in modern history occurred on 30 September 1997 when 270.2 mm (10.6 in) of rain fell within six hours.[ Temperatures under 1 °C (34 °F) are very rare. Snow is unknown since 1926[