Petrer, Alicante

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map of Petrer
Map of Petrer

Sunrise at 8:08 AM,
Sunset at 17:42 PM

Petrer is located in the province of Alicante, in the Community of Comunidad Valenciana, Spain. Nearby towns include Elda (1 km away) - Sax (6 km away) - Monover (Spanish Monovar) (7 km away) - Pozoblanco (9 km away) - Novelda (10 km away). Nearest airports are - Alicante, (IATA code ALC) (29 km away) - Alcantarilla, Murcia (71 km away) - Murcia San Javier, Murcia (IATA code MJV) (79 km away) (All distances direct, not road distance).

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Petrel (in Valencian, more properly known as Petrer) is located in the centre of the province of Alicante in the region of the Mid Vinalopó. The village of Petrel is completely merged with the village of Elda, forming the conurbation Elda-Petrel.

Petrel has 33,486 inhabitants (INE 2007), a population that has grown thanks to its industrial development. Its economy is based on the manufacture of all types of footwear, and the leather industry is booming.


Petrel is located in the valley of the Vinalopo, which is the river that runs through the west side of the municipality.

With an area of 104.2 sq km, bordered to the north by the municipalities of Castalla and Sax, to the south by Novelda and Monforte del Cid, on the east and west with Agost with Elda, a population in which makes up conurbation of 88,845 inhabitants.

Petrel is predominantly mountainous, consisting of a narrow corridor between the Elche lowlands and the highlands of Villena. The weather is Mediterranean, is characterized by short and irregular rainfall, and some pleasant temperatures, with cold winters and a long summer season.


The first settlements date from the prehistoric to the Neolithic period, about 5000 years BC, and are known as El Chorrillo and l'Almortxò. There are also several settlements, mostly in farming villages, over most of the current municipality, such as the site of Catí-Foradà.

But the development of the urban centre of Petrel starts in the Arab village of Bitran, a village within the region which was important as a Muslim settlement, as seen by the twelvth century castle. This castle, along with those of Villena, Sax and Novelda formed a large defense system for the route to Castilla and northern province of Alicante by the passage of the Vinalopó.

In signing the 1244 Treaty of Almizra, in which the kingdoms of Castile and Aragon established their borders, Petrel became part of Castille. It was subsequently signed the Decision of Torrellas (1304) and the subsequent Treaty of Elche (1305), after which Petrel is included in the crown of Aragon, thus belonging to the counts of Castlemaine, whose descendants sold the villa, along with those of Elda and Salinas, to D. Juan Coloma, at the end of the sixteenth century, creating then the county of Elda.

During the sixteenth century, the bulk of the population of Petrel was of of Moorish origin, so the town was significantly de-populated after the expulsion of the Moors in 1609. The repopulation of the municipality came from about 100 families from nearby villages as Castalla, Onil, Biar, Jijona and Muchamiel. King Felipe III thanked Antonio Coloma i Calvillo, lord of the village, for his help in the expulsion, offering all the territories of the Sierra del Cid in 1612. The new territories were finally incorporated after signing a right of the owners of Petra in 1662, to the detriment of the villages adjacent to the west, especially Agost.

During the War of Spanish Succession (1700-1713), the village gave its support to Felipe V, as part of the union of Castalla. When Philip finally acceded to the throne, he thanked Petrel for their loyalty with various privileges.

During the Spanish Civil War, Petrel became the capital of the Second Republic, and the president, Negrín, held the Council of Ministers at the National School of Elda and his government headquarters and residence at the Poblet farm of Petrel, from where he traveled in small plane along with his government team to France to seek refuge, as the area was soon to be overrun by the nationalists.


The economy of the region is mainly footwear. Today it seems a settled process in which there are integrated, along with the production phases of the footwear industry, a growing agriculture and mining sector, and a service sector.

Footwear and leather goods have become, over the years, the main items produced here. The size of the companies (small and medium) and their organization, allowed ample flexibility and adaptation to the demands of different volumes of orders for shoes, handbags and other leather goods.

There are currently about 220 shoe companies, representing about 45% of the total. The remaining industrial activities are, in order of importance, construction companies, leather and food processing industry that, despite their small number, are fully brought to the international market.


Petrel has 33,486 inhabitants (INE 2007), representing 37.72% of the population of the conurbation Elda-Petrel. Since the 70s, Petrel has absorbed much of the population growth in Elda, thanks to the expansion of the town of Petrel, especially in the neighbourhood of the border between the two towns.

The percentage of foreigners registered in Petrel is 3.34% (INE 2006), the lowest of all municipalities with more than 2,000 people in the province. Most immigrants come from Latin America in the municipality.


After the municipal elections of 2007, Pascual Diaz Amat became the mayor of the municipality, thereby becoming the first mayor of the People's Party. In the 2003 elections the PP had already been the most popular, but EUPV and PSPV-PSOE managed to reach the majority. In 2007 the PP won 11 elected, enough to govern the town hall in absolute majority, while the PSOE and IU were elected in 5. 2007 also was the first year it was presented in Els Verds-Bloc coalition, but did not get any councilor.


Moors and Christians fiestas are held in honour of the patron of the town, San Bonifacio, during the second or third week of May, from Thursday to Monday.

The Virgen del Remedio is honoured during the second week of October, although the main day of the festival is Oct. 7. During this month, there is a parade called Carasso, which takes place every Sunday.

The first Sunday after Easter, is celebrated as the day of the Flags, in honour of the flag bearers of the festival of Moors and Christians.

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