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Friedrichsdorf Houilles Twinning Home Archena Spain

                     ARCHENA The link with the Spanish town of Archena                             follows an initiative by Chesham Park Community College where students had been conducting exchanges with their Archena counterparts for some time. When it was learnt that the college was interested in a formal twinning arrangement, the twinning association felt it would be best dealt with under its umbrella. The town council agreed and the formalities were conducted in 1995.

Archena is an ancient spa town whose thermal waters were known to the Romans. It lies 50 miles south-west of Alicante and 12 miles from Murcia, the capital city of the Murcia region. It is very much a fruit-growing area, even though it is also one of the driest regions of Europe with an average temperature of 18C (64F).

It is a typical Mediterranean country town with a population of around 17,000. The town has been inhabited since the copper age and many Roman remains have been found there. As with much of southern Spain, it was occupied by the Moors for centuries, who started the town's irrigation system, the main channel of which has been used at least since 1377. After the Moors left, King Alfonso X gave Archena to the military order of St John of Jerusalem, which remained the sole owner of the area until the 19th century.

With the arrival of the railway Archena began to export its farm produce and the fruit canning industry was established. After a long and hard period following the Civil War, prosperity returned to the area in the 1960s.

The town is well known for its Christian festivals, such as Corpus Christi and the Virgin of Health and its Holy Week celebrations have been declared of regional tourist interest. Visitors can now stroll along Calle Chesham (Chesham Street) in the evening sun.