Huerto del Cura, in Elche

Do you like palm trees and Mediterranean gardens? If you answered yes, one of the best places to have an incredible time surrounded by plants of this type is in the Huerto del Cura. Located in Elche, towards the south-east of the Iberian Peninsula, the conditions of the area have allowed many date trees and other types of plant beings to beautify the land for more than a century.

The funny thing is that, unlike other gardens, this one is not too big. But that does not mean that it is less important than the others.

What is the history of the Huerto del Cura (Elche)?

Image – Wikimedia/ Halina Frederiksen

The history of this 13,361-square-meter garden begins in 1876, when Andrés Castaño Peral, a farmer by profession, bought a plot of the garden from Juan Espuche. After the death of this man, the garden was inherited by Peral’s second son, named José Castaño Sánchez, who was a chaplain. Because of this, it soon became known as Chaplain Castaño’s orchard, and was renamed Huerto del Cura.

Its popularity came soon, in 1873. That year a male date palm began to sprout numerous suckers at a height of 1.50 meters. This is a rather strange phenomenon, because although the Phoenix dactylifera tends to produce suckers, these arise from the base of the trunk. When in 1894 Empress Elizabeth de Wittelsbach, wife of Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria and Hungary, and whom we know as Sissi, visited the Huerto del Cura, she was so impressed by seeing the palm tree that she recommended Chaplain Castaño to put a Name.

Of course it did. He began to call it the Imperial Palm, in honor of the Empress, thus beginning the tradition of dedicating the most unique palm trees to the most illustrious visitors to the Orchard.

A few decades later, in 1943, thanks to the knowledge and efforts of the Elche scholar Juan Orts Román, who owned it from 1940 to 1958, the garden was declared a National Artistic Garden. And in 2000 it became a World Heritage Site.

What types of plants decorate the garden?

In the Huerto del Cura de Elche we will find a great diversity of plants. For example:

Imperial Palm

Image – Wikimedia/ Diego Delso

It is the undisputed protagonist of the place. Today, at about 165 years old, he has eight arms that come out at a height of 1.50 meters from the trunk. To prevent them from falling, they put a support on it to help it stay upright… we hope for many more years.

Other dedicated palm trees

In addition to the Imperial Palm, walking through the Huerto del Cura de Elche you can see other palm trees with signs on the trunks. Those are the ones that were dedicated to personalities linked to Elche and the garden.

Fruit trees

A garden would not be such without its edible plants. Here, the typical fruit trees and shrubs of Mediterranean gardens grow strongly, such as:

  • Jujube: they are endemic deciduous shrubs of the Mediterranean region that reach a height of 2 to 3 meters. Its leaves are simple and oval, and its fruits are drupes similar to olives that measure about two centimeters. See file.
  • Pomegranates: they are deciduous and spiny trees or small trees originating in Iran and Turkey. They grow up to 5 meters in height, producing simple leaves and their fruits measure 5 to 12 millimeters. See file.
  • Fig trees: they are deciduous trees or rather shrubs originating in south-west Asia that reach a height of 4-5 meters, rarely 8 meters. The leaves are large and deeply lobed, and its fruits, figs, are about 2-3 centimeters long. See file.
  • Lemon trees: they are perennial and often thorny trees that reach a height of 4 meters whose leaves are elliptical, alternate and simple. It produces yellow fruits with a diameter of about 3-4 centimeters. See file.
  • Orange trees: they are evergreen trees native to Asia that reach a height of up to 13 meters. Its leaves are elliptical, green, and sprout from branches that may have thorns. The fruits are large, about 4 centimeters in diameter, and orange in color. See file.

Cactus and succulents

Image – Wikimedia/ Halina Frederiksen

Elche’s mild winter, as well as its warm summer, allow a large number of succulent species to grow healthily, staying outside all year round. Thus, in the Garden you will be able to see Echinocactus grusonii, better known as the mother-in-law’s seat, agaves or Euphorbia, among others, in the rockery which is surrounded by ponds that provide a bit of freshness to the area.

How much does it cost to go there?

The ticket price is as follows:

  • Adults: € 5.50
  • Over 65: € 4
  • Students: € 4
  • Children from 5 to 15 years old: € 2.75
  • Illegal: € 2.75
  • Disabled: € 2.75
  • Unemployed: € 2.75
  • Groups (from 20 people):
    • Adults: € 3
    • Children: € 2.25

What are the hours of the Huerto del Cura de Elche?

Image – Wikimedia/ Concepcion Amat

Hours vary throughout the year. According to the official website of the Huerto del Cura, it is the following:

  • January and February: Monday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5.30 p.m., and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • March: Monday to Saturday from 10am to 6.30pm, and Sundays from 10am to 5pm.
  • April and May: Monday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • June: Monday to Saturday from 10am to 8pm, and Sundays from 10am to 3pm.
  • July and August: Monday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
  • September: Monday to Sunday from 10am to 8pm.
  • October: Monday to Saturday from 10am to 7pm, and Sundays from 10am to 6pm.
  • November and December: from 10 a.m. to 5.30 p.m., and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

In any case, to go over-insurance we recommend contacting them directly.

We hope you enjoy your visit .

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