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Aspe

Aspe is a town and municipality in the province of Alicante, Spain. The town is located in the valley of the river Vinalopó, . It is a charming town, in a rural area surrounded by mountains, vines, olives and almonds but it is also just a few minutes’ drive from the bustling cities of Elche (12 km) and Alicante (25 km). Alicante airport and Costa Blanca's beaches are just 22 km away.p>

Property prices tend to be lower inland than in Spain’s coastal resorts and property for sale in Aspe includes villas, town houses, and rural farm houses.

The economy of Aspe is based on textile and footwear industries, as well as farming. Aspe is also famous for growing a special kind of grape, which is traditionally eaten at the stroke of midnight, every New Year's Eve, all across Spain.

Aspe has a small foreign population, mainly Dutch and English. Places to visit inlclude the historical center (casco antiguo), Basilica of Nuestra Señora del Socorro (founded in 1602), Town Hall (17th century), Castillo del Río, a walled settlemented located 4 km outside the town and the Municipal Historical Museum.

Fiesta de la Virgen de las Nieves, is celebrated from 3rd August, every other year the fiesta takes place in the neighbouring village of Hondón de las Nieves so that the Virgen de las Nieves patron statue can be shared between the town and the village. The Moros y Cristianos (Moors and Christians) fiesta was introduced in 1978 and is celebrated around the 2nd week in August with daily parades and events. The much loved fiesta of La Jira o El Último Jueves as been held for over a hundred years on the Thursday before Ash Wednesday (Maundy Thursday). The town's people parade around town in various groups, called Jiras, parading around town in their group uniform and gather in the plaza or park to sing a song composed for the fiesta with original lyrics. Each group later spend the day at a country house enjoying the fiesta. The Fiesta de la calle "La Cruz" (Street party, The Cross) is celebrated on the first weekend after May 1 and is one of the oldest festivals in Aspe. There are parades, greasy poles, fireworks, parades, tasting of the traditonal dish habas hervías (boiled beans with wine) and a blessing of the four winds by the pastor.

The first human settlement we know of dates back to the Paleolithic remains found in la "Cueva del Roll" and the populaton increased significantly in the Bronze Age. With the Muslim occupation in the seventh century, Aspe became part of the Muslim province known as Cora Tudmir and the Arabs projected their culture and religion onto the area. They channeled to irrigate their land from the water that ran from the Tarafa river creating a fertile land, irrigated by ditches.

The early seventeenth century saw the expulsion of the Moors. Most of the 2,250 residents of Aspe in 1609 left and the area was virtually empty and paralyzed of agricultural and economic activities. The Lord owner of the town attempted to attract people from other areas and created the "Carta Puebla" on May 22, 1611, a document by which the Duke of Maqueda made donations of land to the new settlers. The manor house of Maqueda-Arcos-Altamira received the vast majority of taxes, and therefore promoted and financed the most unique buildings in Aspe: the town hall, finished in 1641, the hospital, the House Palace and the Parish Church, whose work began in the late seventeenth century.

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