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Alicante (Valencian: Alacant, Spanish: Alicante) is the capital city of the province of Alicante, in the Valencian autonomous region, in the south-east of Spain, by the Mediterranean Sea. Alicante is an important Seaport, its population is 284,580 (2001).

Alicante is one of the fastest growing cities in Spain. Its economy is based upon tourism and wine production. It exports wine, olive oil, and fruit, and has light industries, including food-processing, leather, textiles, and pottery. The area's food speciality, are turrones - honey and almond nougats.

It has regular ferry services to the Balearic Islands, and an international airport is nearby. Amongst the most notable features of the city, is its castle - the Castillo Santa Barbara, which sits high above the city upon a cliff.

The city is the headquarters of the Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market.


Alicante was founded in 324 BC by the Greeks who named it Akra Leuke (White Peak). In 201 BC it was captured by the Romans who called it Lucentum, Hannibal is said to have unloaded his famous war elephants here. Between 718 and 1249, the city was ruled by the Moors. In 1265 it was retaken by James I of Aragon and incorporated into the kingdom of Aragon.

The city was besieged by the French in 1709 and 1812, and later by the Federalists of Cartagena in 1873.\n