The southernmost town in the province of Alicante, Pilar de la Horadada is a charming town with a long history. The scene of many battles over the centuries due to its strategic location between the Kingdoms of Murcia and Valencia, Pilar de la Horadada is actually named after the 15th Century watchtower (located in nearby Torre de la Horadada) which was constructed to warn the inhabitants of the town of attacks from Barbary pirates who sailed along these coasts, making frequent raids on unsuspecting villages during the 14th to 17th Centuries.
The towns Archaeological-Ethnological Museum displays relics from the various cultures who have inhabited the town and region including those from the Iberians, Greeks, Carthaginians, Romans and Moors. The town is located on what was formerly a Roman town called Thiar and this stood on the important Roman road the Via Augusta (formerly Hannibal’s Path) which linked Elche (Illici) and Cartagena (Carthago Nova). It would have been a fairly important town for the Romans and it was an agricultural, industrial and commercial centre, with Roman craft arriving to ship produce all over the vast Roman Empire, several shipwrecks along the coast bear witness to its being on a significant Roman maritime route.
The Romans were followed by the Moors who remained in the area for some 5 centuries and were finally defeated during the Christian Reconquest in the 13th Century. The famous tower (Torre) was built in around 1591 by order of Phillip II and it suffered several incursions from raiding pirates during the 17th Century. Possibly the most important date in the history of Pilar de la Horadada was 30th July 1986 when the town gained its independence from Orihuela and a fiesta celebrating this occasion is held every year.
Up until recent years Pilar de la Horadada has relied mostly on agriculture for its economic survival but since its independence tourism has become just as important and Pilar has become the home of many non-Spanish residents who have fallen in love with the town.
Places to visit in and around Pilar include the 15th Century watchtower, the ruins of the Roman town of Thiar, The Rio Seco (Dry River) a protected Nature Reserve at Pinar de Campoverde, where some interesting flora and fauna can be observed including an endangered variety of dwarf palm and the Parish Church of ‘Nuestra Señora del Pilar.’ Re-built in 1986 on the same site as the original church (the bell tower remains from the original structure), the church has some fine examples of religious art by local artists Manuel Ribera Girona and José María Sánchez Lozano. Also worth a visit is the Archaeological-Ethnological Museum where a number of interesting artefacts from the town’s past can be seen.
Fiestas and festivals in Pilar de la Horadada include the July 30th independence celebrations, various celebrations dedicated to the Virgen del Pilar (late September and October), the Romerio de San Isidro (May) and the Pilar Blues Festival which is held at the beach Las Higuericas in August.
Pilar de la Horadada has two distinct areas, the main town and the beach area located on either side of the N-332 coast road between Cabo Roig and San Pedro del Pinatar.
By Steve Locke, for more information on the Costa Blanca visit: www.needahandspanishproperties.com
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