A fundamental fact to understand Orihuela’s identity is the creation of the Orihuela Bishopric which has marked its being unfailingly throughout the ages. As the Episcopal seat of the Province of Alicante for almost four centuries Orihuela has an important artistic heritage and a notable religious imprint on its traditions.
It has five national monuments and nine declared Goods of Cultural Interest as well as the religious painting of Velázquez- “The Temptation of Saint Thomas Aquinas”, and works of religious imagery such as the Holy Family of Salzillo or the She-Devil of Bussy. Another determining fact that marks Orihuela is the Segura river that externally limited the city and watered its fertile orchard.
Today the river marks the difference between the old city and the new commercial Orihuela. Its extensive municipal area, 338.5 km. square, includes the second best palm grove in Alicante as well as five golf courses and 16 km. of urbanized coast with corners like La Zenia, Cabo Roig, or the Dehesa de Campoamor, where the famous politician and poet from the 18th century spent his summers. A walk through Orihuela cannot be done in a hurry, it is worth your time.
Entering by the old road from Alicante and passing by the Palmeral de San Anton, we find the current Santo Domingo School, the old University of Orihuela with double height cloisters and a baroque façade.
Then we look for the house where Miguel Hernandez lived, in which there is a small museum. Continuing along Santa Lucia Street and leaving the hill on the right that ends with the building that houses the Diocesan Seminary, we arrive at the San Salvador Cathedral whose Museum contains Velazquez’s religious painting. Surrounding the hill we will come across the two typical churches of Orihuela: the Church of the Saints Justa and Rufina with their gargoyles and Gothic tower, and the Church of Santiago where the Salzillo is dedicated to the Holy Family, and where the Catholic Kings held court on their way to conquer Granada in 1492. This is why you can see their coat of arms on the magnificent Gothic façade.
Also in the old town is the Circus Theatre, the most beautiful and original of all the theatres in Alicante. At Easter, the Burial Procession – which is held on Holy Saturday – stands out due to two details that are exclusive to Orihuela: it is normally presided over by an Orihuela native who, due to a papal bull, has the immemorial privilege of being covered inside the Cathedral and because one of the thrones in the procession surrounds the Cathedral due to the fact that one of the images is a devil in female form. This image is popularly known as the She-Devil.
The Orihuela coast stretches between Punta Prima and Punta del Cuervo and has magnificent beaches such as Playa Flamenca, La Zenia and Dehesa de Campoamor. There are marinas in both the Dehesa de Campoamor and Cabo Roig.
In this area you can enjoy five golf courses.