In the bay that lies between El Cabo de las Huertas and The Cape of Santa Pola, at the foot of Monte Benacantil, the present-day Alicante developed as a town that looked out over the sea and the fertile orchards which surrounded it. Old Alicante ended at the Rambla de Mendez Nuñez, so called because a river used to run down it. Urban and military assaults such as those it suffered during the Wars of Succession destroyed the historical architecture of Medina Laqueant. The 19th. C. is crucial for Alicante, since the Medieval town walls were torn down in 1821, favoring urban development to the west and north. In 1833 it become the capital of the province and in 1851 it was the first coastal town to be linked by rail to Madrid, as its main sea-port.
Since 1957 the six and a half million red, blue and green tiles of the Explanada hace become the symbol of Alicante. This promenade runs along the esplanade and is the most popular place to walk in the city, with ice-cream stalls open nearly all year round and concerts given by the Municipal Band every Sunday. At one end is the Postiguet beach and at the other is Canalejas Park with the old Loja de Pescado (Fish Market), now converted into the best exhibition hall in Alicante.
A walk through the streets of the old town takes the tranquil stroller who is interested in art via the Plaza del Carmen and Plaza de Quijano to Santa Barbara Castle, a magnificent vantage point overlooking the whole town. Walking down the Calle de Toledo or San roque we reach the Plaza Santa María where we find the best Art Museum, the Museo de la Asegurada, and the church of Santa María. From the Plaza del Carmen we can walk up the Calle de San Rafael to the Santa Cruz district, where the houses are painted in vivid colours and have potted geraniums on their walls, This area is packed with bars and cafes, making it the nocturnal leisure zone of Alicante.
Alicante, being the provincial capital, is the main provide of services for the whole province. Although the commercial area is gradually moving westwards, the oldest established shops are to be found in the Calles Mayor, Castaños, Gerona and San Francisco. The Maisonnave, Federico de Soto, Doctor Gadea Avenues, and the calles de los Reyes Católicos make up the “rive droit” of the Capital.