History of Moraira, Spain

Moraira, Costa Blanca, Spain

Moraira covers 32 sq.kms. with more than 2,000 hectares under cultivation and 1,000 hectares of vineyards. The vineyard area is up in the hills where the land is not so valuable for villa development.

Objects found in a cave (Cova de la Cendra) on the Cap d´Or ( the headland that protects Moraira´s and El Portet beaches) revealed that there has been human habitation in Moraira for thousands of years.The first settlers (Upper Palaeolithic 15,000 to 20,000 BC) lived here.

The Iberians later arrived in the area and pots from their culture have been unearthed on the Cap d´Or .

Later as elsewhere along the Spanish Mediterranean Coast, the Moors conquered the area. The relics of moorish society are seen still today in the architecture of the buildings, the irrigation and agricultural systems and town layouts. Many of the names used for areas of Moraira have come from the Moors era, e.g. Alcassar, Benimeit, Benimarco, Moravit, Pouet del Morro, Tabaira, etc.

The Moors were expelled by Jaime I in the 13th century and were replaced by settlers from Catalunya and Aragon, the Valencian language arrived in the area at this time. Teulada was founded in 1386 by the Lords of Llúria, Serría and Gandia who were the owners and later they were suceeeded by the Barons of Ariza and Teulada. In the ninteenth century Teulada was claimed by the Spanish crown.

During the 16th century the Barbary pirates raided the coast. Teulada was fortified and a lookout tower (now restored) was built on the Cap d´ Or.

Moraira Castle

There is a legend that Moraira was named after the Moorish princess "Ira, la Mora" - hence "Mora Ira". This may or may not be true. However there is no truth in the tale that her bones are buried under the old castle on the main beach (now restored as a historical monument and museum).

There is evidence that the "Castillo de Moraira" was planned by Juan Bautista Antonelli as part of an overall fortification sceme developed by Felipe II to protect the coast from the Barbary pirates in the 16th century. However according to a plaque above the entrance tp the castle, it was finished as late as 1742. It is also known that it was armed with four bronze cannons, and it was badly damaged by the British fleet on July 20th 1801.

At the end of the 18th century, when Teulada was a farming village, crops were e3xported by sea from the natural ports. As time went by, locals started turn to fishing as a source of income. The small houses where the tackle used to be stored, were enlarged to become fishermen's houses. This was how Moraira as a village came to be developed.

Moraira seafront

Moraira enjoys a subtropical Mediterranean climate, with sea breezes cooling the area in summer and in winter getting protection from the cold North winds from the surrounding mountains. The area averages some 3,000 hours of sunshine each year and the average temperature exceeds 20 degrees. On average there are 325 sunny days each year. In 1986 the World Health Organisation commended the Moraira climate as one of the most equitable in the world - neither too hot in the summer nor too cold in the winter.

Annual Fiestas in Moraira

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