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Elche (ĕlˈchā) [key], Valencian Elx, city (1990 pop. 184,912), Alicante prov., SE Spain, in Valencia. It is surrounded by an extensive grove of date palms, the only one of its kind in Europe. The city's industries produce footwear, soap, olive oil, and palm products. Elche preserves a North African atmosphere. Many Iberian, Greek, Roman, and Moorish artifacts have been found in the area, notably the Lady of Elche, a stone bust (presumed to date from the 5th cent. B.C.) now in Madrid's National Museum of Archaeology. An annual drama dating from the Middle Ages marks the feast of the Assumption.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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