The history of Denia
The coastal city of Denia has long been a location coveted by outsiders. In early history its port and strategic position were its main appeal but in modern history its long sandy beaches, climate and attractive architecture has been a draw to tourists from all over the world. There are many clues of prehistoric inhabitation in the area such as early Iberian ruins and the artefacts that were found in the caves at Montgo. Since then it has been conquered by the Greeks, the Romans, the Muslims, the Christians and the French. It was in fact the capital of the Muslim Kingdom that spread along the Valencian coastline and Ibiza for some time but it has also had periods in fairly recent history of being practically uninhabited. Hard to believe now! Denia has been under Spanish rule now since the 18th century.
It was during Muslim rule that the Denia Castle was built, a significant landmark of the city, in the 11th Century. It was built as a fortress to protect the City from invaders. Unfortunately for them, the castle was not enough to prevent the Christians from driving the Muslims out of the City, after which the building slowly went to ruin. It was rebuilt by the French in the 19th Century and is now a tourist attraction and well worth the visit - with an archaeological museum incorporated within.
The port at Denia became an important trading post for raisins in the 17th Century. The raisins were produced in Denia itself for over a hundred years, many within the castle walls. This is when the English first came to live in the area in any significant volume. The raisin trade took a massive blow though when a grape disease that had spread from America practically obliterated every grapevine in Europe. The port is still busy today but now it’s home to the ferry to Ibiza and fishing vessels.
Nowadays, as with most seaside towns on the Costa Blanca coast, the main industry in Denia is its tourism. The current population is just over 40,000 but this can easily double during the busy summer months as tourists flock to enjoy the 20km of beaches, the fantastic climate and its renowned cuisine.