Our history

Sant Joan d’Alacant is Close to Everything. Our municipality has everything a visitor could want. We are close to the beach, close to the mountains, close to the capital, Alicante, and close to the neighboring towns of El Campello, Mutxamel, Sant Vicent del Raspeig, Busot and Xixona. Throughout history this population has managed to amass an extraordinary heritage legacy, material and immaterial. This has been possible thanks to the common work between neighboring municipalities and masterful management of the natural resources of our territory.

Our archeology

Prehistoric populations, Iberians, Phoenicians, Romans, Goths, Byzantines and Muslims populated the Huerta de Alicante for more than 6,000 years. The absence of notable archaeological evidence in Sant Joan d’Alacant, compared to the overwhelming number of existing sites in its immediate surroundings, does nothing other than highlight the need to locate, study and preserve the archaeological remains of the municipality. Conservation policies, enhancement and dissemination of the rich cultural heritage will guarantee the history of the municipality since this archaeological heritage not only belongs to the present generations, but also to past and future generations.

The Alicante Garden

Not so long ago the lands of Alicante, El Campello, Mutxamel and Sant Joan d’Alacant were articulated around a network of irrigation ditches that started from the Montnegre River. Irrigation flows were controlled thanks to the Tibi reservoir, the oldest dam in Europe. That society, eminently agricultural, cultivated different horticultural products but also produced items such as fondillón wine, which achieved worldwide fame. Its peak moment was at the end of the 19th century, after the phylloxera epidemic in France. Later, phylloxera also devastated our wine production, constituting the beginning of the end of Camp d’Alacant.

Orchard towers

The Orchards towers were built in the 16th and 17th centuries in the prosperous Alicante Huerta. In that period, Barbary pirates frequently plundered these lands looking for merchandise and slaves. To mitigate these attacks, a defensive system was developed consisting of watchtowers strategically located on the coast. When the presence of hostile ships was detected in a tower, nearby populations were alerted using smoke signals. When the presence of hostile ships was detected in a tower, nearby populations were alerted using smoke signals. This ingenious system constituted an invisible wall that has earned it recognition as an Asset of Cultural Interest.

Tourist map Sant Joan d’Alacant

Farms and houses

The prosperity of Camp d’Alacant during the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries favored the construction of important farm houses typical of La Huerta. During the 19th century, the elite of the Alicante capital acquired the best properties as a sign of power and wealth. Some houses were renovated under nineteenth-century hygienist models, adapting to the tastes of the time, marked by Swiss or French influences. Many nobles and bourgeoisie used Sant Joan d’Alacant as a second residence, giving rise to what we call summer vacations today. Others, however, chose the town as their habitual residence, fleeing the hustle and bustle of the capital.

Tourist map Sant Joan d’Alacant

Hermitages and Churches

Sant Joan d’Alacant has numerous hermitages scattered throughout the Alicante Huerta. Today the Santjoaners continue to celebrate their religious traditions there. They are located next to traditional paths. The oldest are the Hermitage of San Roque (16th century), that of the Virgin of God of Loreto (16th century), the Hermitage of Santa Ana (16th century), and the Hermitage of Calvari (18th century). These hermitages were erected after the Council of Trent (1545-1563) which marked the ratification of certain popular practices related to devotion to the saints and the cult of the Virgin.

Tourist map Sant Joan d’Alacant

Historic centres

The history of Sant Joan is closely linked to the history of Alicante and the rest of the towns of the old Alicante Huerta. The existence of dispersed population centers associated with old Muslim farmsteads is known, such as Benimagrell and Maigmona or possibly Santa Faz. There are many Muslim place names that we find in the municipality, some especially linked to Sant Joan such as Benimagrell, Benialí or Lloixa. In 1315 the name of Sant Joan appears mentioned for the first time in a document about “a process between Sarraïns a l’Horta d’Alacant”. This writing placed Sant Joan on both sides of the Major irrigation channel.