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Santa Barbara Castle, Alicante


Alicante (Castillian Spanish) or Alacant (Valencian Catalan) is the capital of the province of Alicante and of the comarca of the Alacantí, in the southern part of the Valencian community, Spain, a historic Mediterranean port. The population of the city of Alicante proper was 319,380, estimated as of 2005, of the entire urban area, 427,217. Population of the metropolitan area (including Elche and satellite towns) was 711,215 as of 2005 estimates, ranking as the eighth-largest metropolitan area of Spain.

Alicante is one of the fastest-growing cities in Spain. Its economy is based upon tourism in the beaches from Costa Blanca coast, wine production, services and administration. It exports wine, olive oil, and fruit, and has light industries, including food-processing, leather, textiles, and pottery. Turrones (torrons in Catalan) —a honey and almond nougat—is a food specialty of Alicante.

The city has regular ferry services to the Balearic Islands, and an international airport is nearby. It is strongly fortified, with a spacious harbor. Amongst the most notable features of the city is its castle, the "Castillo de Santa Barbara", which sits high above the city upon a cliff. The most important festival, the Bonfires of Saint John, takes place at the time of the summer solstice, and they are declared of international touristic interest. Another well-known festival is Moros y Cristianos in any quarter of the city, such as Altozano or Saint Blas.

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