This vast plantation of date palms was laid out at the same time that the Muslim city of Elche arose, near the end of the 10th century when most of the Iberian Peninsula was under Moorish control. The ingenious irrigation system at this UNESCO World Heritage Site still functions after ten centuries of use. The almost 3.5-square-kilometer grove of palms is the only one of its kind in Europe.
Some historians believe that the palm groves of Elche were originally planted by the Phoenicians to supply their date-fueled diet. This interesting collection of over 200,000 palms (and many varieties of cacti) is watered by an elaborate irrigation canal system devised by the Romans and the Arabs when they inhabited the region. More information—in audio or 3-D guides—is available from the large domed building in the park's center.