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Palmeral of Elche

Palmeral of Elche

The Palmeral of Elche, a landscape of groves of date palms, was formally laid out, with elaborate irrigation systems, at the time the Muslim city of Elche was erected, towards the end of the tenth century A.C., when much of the Iberian peninsula was Arab. The Palmeral is an oasis, a system for agrarian production in arid areas. It is also a unique example of Arab agricultural practices on the European continent. Cultivation of date palms in Elche is known at least since the Iberian times, dating around the fifth century B.C.

Palmeraie d’Elche

Le paysage des palmeraies d'Elche, avec ses systèmes complexes d'irrigation, a été aménagé à l'époque de la construction de la cité islamique d'Elche, à la fin du Xe siècle apr. J.-C., au moment où une grande partie de la péninsule ibérique était arabe. La palmeraie d'Elche est une oasis, un système de production agricole sur des terres arides et un exemple unique des pratiques agricoles arabes sur le continent européen. La culture du palmier dattier se pratique à Elche depuis l'époque ibérique, vers le Ve siècle av. J.-C.

بستان النخيل في إيلش

في خلال فترة بناء مدينة إيلش الإسبانيّة، ولدت بساتين النخيل وأنظمة الريّ المعقدّة في نهاية القرن العاشر ب.م يوم كان الجزء الأكبر من شبه الجزيرة الإيبريّة عربيّاً. وكان بستان النخيل في إيلش واحة أي نظام إنتاج زراعي على أراضٍ قاحلة ومثالا فريدا من نوعه للممارسات الزراعيّة العربيّة في القارة الأوروبيّة. وتجري في إيلش زراعة شجر نخيل التمر منذ الحقبة الإيبرية، قرابة القرن الخامس ق.م.

source: UNESCO/ERI

埃尔切的帕梅拉尔

埃尔切的帕梅拉尔和穆斯林城市埃尔切于公元10世纪末期同时开始修建,当时伊比利亚半岛主要由阿拉伯人统治着。帕梅拉尔就如同沙漠中的一个绿洲,在当地贫瘠的土地上创造了进行农业生产的奇迹。这里同时也是欧洲大陆上阿拉伯人农业生产独一无二的范例。埃尔切种植枣椰树的历史已经相当久远,至少在公元前5世纪的伊比利亚时代就开始了。

source: UNESCO/ERI

Пальмераль - пальмовые рощи вокруг города Эльче

Пальмераль Эльче – ландшафт рощ финиковых пальм, включающий тщательно продуманную оросительную систему, – был сформирован к концу X в., т.е. в то время, когда арабы еще господствовали на большей части Пиренейского полуострова, и когда строился мусульманский город Эльче. Пальмераль – это оазис и система сельскохозяйственного производства в условиях засушливого климата. Это также уникальный для Европы пример арабской технологии ведения сельского хозяйства. Разведение финиковых пальм в Эльче известно, как минимум, со времен иберов, т.е. примерно с V в. до н.э.

source: UNESCO/ERI

Palmeral de Elche

El paisaje formado por los huertos de palmeras de Elche, con sus complejos sistemas de riego, fue estructurado en el siglo VIII d.C., cuando una gran parte de la Península Ibérica estaba bajo la dominación musulmana. No obstante, hay buenos motivos para pensar que quizás su origen sea más antiguo y se remonte a la época del asentamiento de los fenicios y los romanos en la región. El Palmeral es un ejemplo único de las técnicas agrícolas árabes en el continente europeo.

source: UNESCO/ERI

エルチェの椰子園

source: NFUAJ

Palmeral van Elche

De Palmeral van Elche, een landschap van bosjes en dadelpalmen met uitgebreide irrigatiesystemen, is formeel aangelegd op het moment dat de islamitische stad Elche werd gesticht in de 10e eeuw na Christus. Een groot deel van het Iberisch schiereiland was in die tijd Arabisch. De Palmeral is een oase, een systeem voor agrarische productie in droge gebieden. De palmentuin is een typisch kenmerk van Arabische landbouwpraktijken die naar Europa zijn gebracht tijdens de islamitische bezetting. De teelt van dadelpalmen in Elche bekend sinds de Iberische tijden (rond de 5e eeuw voor Christus) en het oude irrigatiesysteem is nog steeds in werking.

Source: unesco.nl

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Palmeral of Elche © Randi Hausken
Justification for Inscription

Criterion (ii): The Palmeral (palm groves) of Elche represent a remarkable example of the transference of a characteristic landscape from one culture and continent to another, in this case from North Africa to Europe.

Criterion (v): The palm grove or garden is a typical feature of the North African landscape which was brought to Europe during the Islamic occupation of much of the Iberian peninsula and has survived to the present day. The ancient irrigation system, which is still functioning, is of special interest.

Long Description

The Palmeral (palm groves) of Elche represent a remarkable example of the transference of a characteristic landscape from one culture and continent to another, in this case from North Africa to Europe. The palm grove or garden is a typical feature of the North African landscape which was brought to Europe during the Islamic occupation of much of the Iberian peninsula and has survived to the present day at Elche. The ancient irrigation system, which is still functioning, is of special interest.

This is the only palm grove of its type anywhere on the European continent, which makes it an exceptional landscape in this geographical context. Arab geographers and European travellers have testified to this exceptional quality throughout history. In addition to the authentic wild forest, many palm trees are cultivated in gardens, the remains of Arab agriculture established over eight centuries ago on the Iberian Peninsula. Archaeological data from the Iberian and Roman periods indicate that these plantations are in fact much older than the Arab palm grove. There is also what survives of a settlement or an urban plan, which can be seen from the cartography of the region. The central core of the town is surrounded by a series of palm gardens before reaching the rural area proper, where these are more widely scattered, even appearing to be natural woods, without human involvement. Palms also form an essential component of the culture of Elche, manifesting itself in many ways - the processions on Palm Sunday, the Night of the Kings, the town's coat of arms. The origins of the Elche palm grove are attributed to the Phoenicians and Carthaginians in the 1st millennium BC, since dates formed part of their diet. It was with the Arab invasion in the 8th century AD that they began to be cultivated; a network of irrigation canals enabled the brackish waters of the Vinalopó River to be used. The town was moved northwards to a new location and surrounded palm groves, so as to recreate landscape reminiscent of that of North Africa, from whence the new settlers came.

Elche was recaptured in 1265 during the reign of Jaime I and its lands were redistributed. The fertile lands on the left bank, irrigated by the main canal (Sequia Major) were granted to those who assisted in the reconquest; this area contained many groves of date palms, some of which survive to the present day. There were no groves on the right bank (the Magram), where the lands were assigned to Muslim vassals (Moriscos); however, despite the lower fertility of this area, its farmers achieved a high degree of productivity, which was to degenerate sadly when the Moriscos were expelled in 1606.

The area of palm groves went on producing large crops, but these diminished as the town spread in this direction in the 17th century and the palm trees were cut down. This process was exacerbated with industrialization and the arrival of the railway in the 19th century. It was not until the 1920s that the danger to the groves was recognized, and in the 1930s legislation was put in place to ensure the continuance of what remained, to be completed with the passage of the Law on the Protection of the Elche Palm Grove in 1986.

The date palm trees of Elche are a dioecious species native to western Asia and North Africa. They can grow to a height of more than 30 m and live for over 300 years. The palm groves form a compact group in the eastern part of the town. The boundaries of the plots (huertos ) are rectilinear, so they are mostly square or rectangular (a few triangular) in plan. They are bounded by cascabots (fences of plaited dried palm leaves) or plastered walls of undressed stone 1-2 m high. The plots contain the houses of the tenants or owners of the land, although these are mostly in a ruinous condition in the plots nearest the centre of town. The trees are planted in single or double rows, following the lines of the irrigation canals. They produce dates for human consumption and the 'White Palm' leaves, widely all over the Iberian Peninsula for decoration and processional use on Palm Sunday. This area is clearly defined by the natural feature of the Vinalopó River, the historic centre of Elche, and recently developed perimeter areas zoned for non-residential use, largely not built.

Source: UNESCO/CLT/WHC
Historical Description

The origins of the Elche palm grove are traditionally attributed to the Phoenicians and Carthaginians in the 1st millennium BC, since dates formed part of their traditional diet. It was with the Arab invasion in the 8th century AD that they began to be cultivated; a network of irrigation canals enabled the brackish waters of the Vinalopó river to be used. The town was moved northwards to a new location and surrounded by many palm groves, so as to recreate a landscape reminiscent of that of North Africa, from whence the new settlers came.

Elche was recaptured in 1265 during the reign of Jaime I and its lands were redistributed. The fertile lands on the left bank, irrigated by the main canal (Sequia Major) were granted to those who assisted in the reconquest; this area contained many groves of date palms, some of which survive to the present day. There were no groves on the right bank (the Magram), where the lands were assigned to Moslem vassals (moriscos); however, despite the lower fertility of this area, its farmers achieved a high degree of productivity, which was to degenerate sadly when the moriscos were expelled in 1606.

The area of palm groves went on producing large crops of dates, but these diminished as the town spread in this direction during the second half of the 17th century and the palm trees were cut down. This process was exacerbated with industrialization and the arrival of the railway in the 19th century. It was not until the 1920s that the danger to the palm groves was recognized, and in the 1930s legislative measures were put in place to ensure the continuance of what remained, a process that was completed with the passage of the Law on the Protection of the Elche Palm Grove by the Regional Parliament of Valencia in 1986.

Source: Advisory Body Evaluation