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Spanish in Alicante

Learn Spanish in Alicante

Located half-way down the Costa Blanca, Alicante is one of the most thrilling coastal cities in Spain. Boasting an ancient heritage that dates all the way back to Greek times, when the land was exploited for commercial activities with the local Iberian population. The actual roots to the city, however, belong to the Carthaginian settlement of Akra Leuka, established during the times of General Hamilcar, which was lost to the Romans in the aftermath of the Second Punic War.

From that point onwards, the city would be named Lucentum, the City of Lights, although the name that has prevailed seems to be a corruption of the Arabic 'Laqant', which was the way the Arabs came to know the settlement, following their invasion of the Iberian peninsula towards the beginning of the VIII century. It is a legacy of the Arab presence that most typically represents the city, as the imposing castle that presides over the urban area, atop Mount Benacantil, was built towards the IX century by the Moors.

Recovered only in the XIII century, by virtue of Alfonso X's zeal, Alicante still today displays an enviable blend of Moorish and Christian styles in its architecture and decoration, which renders a stroll through the city streets an absolute delight. Particularly picturesque are the narrow streets of El Barrio, wedged between the cliffs of Mount Benacantil and the coastline. Here, wonderfully decorated old houses subtly display vast amounts of medieval structures, with highly stylised ornaments of Arabic influence.

Alicante Today

Deeply immersed in Mediterranean culture and lore, Alicante lives in full every stereotype of charming life by the sea. Facing the sea, the city is bordered by the commercial port first, followed by a swanky marina crowded with yachts and sailing boats of all sizes, and, finally, an endless strip of beaches that serve as an inviting way to relax, cool down and de-stress at the end of the working day.

Similarly indebted to the sea and its history, Alicante's gastronomic options range from a large selection of Turkish restaurants — not your standard kebab take.-away, but a selection of delicious eat-in restaurants, suitably decorated and equipped — to a virtually endless assortment of seafood restaurants. Light dishes, garnished with fresh vegetables or salad, and featuring local fish, generally sautéed form the main bulk of a menu that also finds many uses for rice, from a special form of paella, to rice with squid ink and arroz con costra, a combination of rice, meat and a crust of baked eggs.

A relatively young population also provides Alicante with a cutting edge nightlife and the city is often active well into the night, especially during the long summer months — from May to October — when open-air activities take the centre stage in the city's affairs. The climax of these events comes in July, during the feast day of Saint John, which is celebrated in the region with massive bonfires, known in Alicante as Les Fogueres de Sant Joan.

Culture

Attached to the Kingdom of Valencia from 1298 onwards, Alicante is the second largest city of the region. Moreover, through its attachment to the Crown of Aragon, which embraced the Kingdoms of Valencia and Mallorca as well as the County of Barcelona, the network of influences that played a role in the shaping of Alicante extends to the north and south, both inland and out to the remote shores of the Mediterranean Sea.

A prime example of Alicante's cosmopolitan status within Spain is evident from the widespread use of a local derivation of Catalan language in the city. A focal point of economic exchange, Alicante partakes indistinctly of Castilian and Valencian culture, making it the perfect meeting point to experience both without the obnoxious extremes of militant nationalism.

Additionally, Alicante also profits from a temperate climate due to its advantageous position right on the coast, yet still sheltered by Mount Benacantil. A steady breeze runs through the roads and alleys as the sun shines far above, giving the place a placid feel nearly all year round. Extensive summers and short winters, during which snow is almost guaranteed not to make an appearance mean Alicante is the place for you if you are looking for a place away from any sign of severe weather.

In short, Alicante boasts tremendous amounts of history with a millenary heritage that cuts across a wide array of cultures and that has come together in a cosmopolitan, fun and delectable city of comfortable temperatures and staggering stretches of beaches. What is more, there are also plenty of outstanding Spanish courses in Alicante — so if this sounds like the place for you, why not have a look!