An historic city with a tradition for carpet making, a curious collection of cave houses, Arabic parks, a beautiful Moorish plaza, and several wonderful museums. It sounds like a tourist haven yet Crevillente left me feeling rather disappointed. Why? Read on!
The day didn’t begin too badly as we found a place to park for nothing. That’s always a good start. Then we made our way to Parc Nou with its palm trees providing shade on a sunny day. There are segments of what is presumably a long forgotten wall with their lovely Islamic arched windows. Sadly, graffiti daubed all over them rather detracts from their visual impact.
Next was the trek into the city centre to find the Tourist Information Office. The big problem was not just a lack of information, but a complete lack of desire to disseminate the information that they did have. Having picked up a map, I actually had to ask someone to get up out of their chair and talk to me about what Crevillente had to offer. The young lady, who grudgingly got up from her desk, appeared to be there on work experience, or perhaps was just there helping out a friend for the day. She knew absolutely nothing about the place and was constantly referring to a colleague who remained superglued to his workspace in the corner.
To our dismay we were told that the Museo de la Festa only opens in the evening. It looks so interesting and would have given us a good insight into what happens during the Moros y Cristianos festival. Fancy only opening in the evening (from 6pm until 8.30pm Monday to Thursday) and being closed all weekend. How many tourists come out for an evening visit midweek? There’s also the Museo de la Semana Santa which would be just as interesting. You have a better chance of getting in as it is open from 6pm until 9pm Tuesday to Friday, and also at weekends and public holidays in the mornings. Sadly the Archaeological Museum is currently closed with no up-to-date information about when it might open again.
We thought we might be luckier when asking about the cave houses which we had read about. The young lady didn’t even seem particularly aware of their existence. Eventually she managed to draw a squiggly line on our map but was unable to tell us anything about them or where exactly we had to look. When we found our way to the street (Carre Virge de la Salut) it was quite difficult to see the cave houses as many of them now have a modern section built onto the front. As we walked around the area where many houses have been built into the hillside we did get the occasional glimpse of how it used to be but, to be honest, you are far better off going to Rojales to see the Cuevas del Rodeo which is the kind of thing we had, for some reason, expected to find here.
We also had the idea that it would be easy to visit a carpet factory. The tourist office were able to give us the phone number of one of the factories to try to arrange a tour, but all we wanted to do was have a quick look around and view the carpets. It seems you are better off going on a coach trip to do this. Perhaps one day we will just call in at one of the factories and see if we can have a quick tour, but the tourist office were not exactly selling the idea to us. There are many carpet factories around, so surely it is possible!
Walking around the centre of Crevillente was nice though. We loved wandering around the narrow maze of streets in the area around the church. Well hidden away is a beautiful little square, the Plaza Mohamed Al-Shafra, which is bedecked in Islamic/Andaluz tiles and deserves a lot more TLC than it gets. It’s named after a 13th (possibly 14th) century Muslim who was born and died in the city. He was one of the most famous surgeons of his time who studied the medicinal properties of plants. This plaza could be brimming with people and bursting with Arabic flavours of shops and restaurants. Sadly everything has closed down except for a single typically Spanish cafe.
To the west of the centre we found the Rambla where we walked through the remnants of the market which was packing up at the time. Nice of the tourist office to tell us about that! It’s quite a nice area with an enormous blue obelisk dominating the skyline. Nearby are a handful of statues of historical figures but with no information to go on, I can’t tell you much about them.
So, a very frustrating experience but it truly is a place with massive potential. Maybe we’ll return for the Moros y Cristianos festival when surely we will the the city at its best.