Elche, Spain
Palm groves in Elche, Spain.

La Cultura de la Costa Blanca: Exploring and Discussing Spanish Culture, is presented Tuesday, Feb. 18 from 6 - 7 p.m. at the National Hispanic Cultural Center, 1701 4th St. SW, in the Domenici Education Building, rooms 122-124. This event is free and open to the public.

The UNM Latin American & Iberian Institute and the Instituto Cervantes of Albuquerque present a cultural presentation and talk with Martínez Bonastre, head of International Relations and study abroad coordinator at the Universidad Miguel Hernández de Elche in Elche, Spain. Martínez will visit Albuquerque to promote exchanges between the Albuquerque community and the communities of Elche and surrounding Valencian region of Spain. 

This presentation in Spanish will explore the Costa Blanca region of Spain, addressing its architectural wonders, history, art and culture, gastronomy and wines, and abundant coastal resources. Martínez will specifically emphasize the unique elements of the area around his university in Elche, a modern-day city whose rich culture alludes to the region's history of Iberian, Roman and Arab influences. This city is home to both an UNESCO World Heritage Site as well as an UNESCO Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. 

The former designation recognizes "El Palmeral of Elche," the largest palm grove in the world and one which has been cultivated and nurtured for centuries. The latter recognizes "El Misteri", or "Mystery Play," sacral-lyric medieval drama dating back to the 1st century. The built environment of the region is remarkable, with magnificent buildings, temples, Roman Baths and a profusion of sculptures. Its natural environment is equally enticing, with expanses of mostly virgin beaches, ecosystems of sand dunes and pine forests, and some of the region's most important wetlands.