MUSE ARQUEOLÓGICO Y DE HISTORIA DE ELCHE (MAHE)

The exciting history of Elche, from its origins to the present day, is presented in an enjoyable and interactive way at the Alejandro Ramos Folqués Archaeological and History Museum of Elche (MAHE). The restored building, inaugurated in 2006, endows the city with a first class cultural asset, and definitively enhances the value of the rich archaeological and historical heritage of Elche. Audiovisual shows, touch screens and panels facilitate the visitor´s understanding of the artefacts on display.

Its ethos follows, with scrupulous respect, the path of the work undertaken over more than 40 years by the Alejandro Ramos Folqués Municipal Archaeological Museum. Both the man himself and centre have acquired an outstanding reputation throughout the world of Spanish archaeological research.

The Whole Stronghold

Since 1982 the museum had occupied the restored buildings of an old textile factory in the eastern wing of the Alcazar de la Señoría, or Palace of Altamira. The new MAHE project has made use not only of the whole stronghold, but also the first level of an underground car park built in the Traspalacio area.

Antiquities

In the Traspalacio, with its newly constructed floor, there is a well-nurtured collection of marvellous antiquities. Its six halls range from the Neolithic (around 4,000 B.C.) to Late Antiquity, the great protagonist being the Iberian cultural legacy with noteworthy works such as the pillar-stele, sculptures of bulls and Sphinxes and painted ceramics, all of them being some of the best examples of this culture found in Spain. There are also reproductions of burial sites and homes of this era (III to VI B.C.)

From this floor a stretch of the medieval wall and the remnants of one of its towers may be seen, as well as part of a XVII century aqueduct which provided water to the city by means of a branch from the main water channel.

The Alcazar de la Señoría

The second area is the exhibition area in the Alcazar de la Señoría, incorporated as an additional part of the museum, and which could not be visited in its entirety until the opening of the MAHE. The excavations carried during its restoration in 2005 made it possible to expose part of the old Islamic road to the city, with a large monumental gate which provided access from the banks of the river.

By crossing the parade ground the two floors of the East wing are reached. Here the historical museum and a technological exhibition with selected artefacts dating from the XIII century to the present day, are housed, with explanatory panels and visual displays.

The lower hall covers the period from the Christian Conquest (1265) to the XVII century and it highlights the boundary crossings of the roads to Orihuela (XIIII century) and Alicante ( XV century).

The upper floor covers the last three centuries of local history, whilst a glass walled room in the western wing is dedicated to exhibitions.

The Keep

The imposing Keep tower, which presides over the stronghold, was the home of the Lady of Elche during her temporary six-month stay in 2006. Whilst the people of Elche await her return, her place is occupied by an exact replica of the famous Iberian bust, ceded by the Archaeological Museum of Alicante (MARQ).

The parade ground of the Palace of Altamira is used on a regular basis to host cultural and social events.