Elche, Spain, 1957

APRIL 1957 – View across the river bed formed by the Rio Vinalopó in Elche, Spain, with the Basilica de Santa Maria overtowering the city. Scan © Mark Zanzig/zanzig.com


The story behind the image

Today I’d like to share yet another historic shot from our family archive that documents a trip by car from Germany to Alicante in Spain. The family members also did a side trip to Elche which is situated just about 35 kilometers from San Juan Playa. But Elche is not situated directly at the sea, so it’s quite different.

In all fairness we have to say that early April is definitely pre-season, so one wouldn’t expect masses of people on the beach, and there may be still remains of the winter as leftovers on the beach.

This shot has fascinated me from the moment I saw it. I admit that I have not even heard of Elche before, but upon first glance it looked more like a fortress than a city. I figured out that the historic town had not been erected on a hill but rather the Rio Vinalopó has washed out the sand and rocks to form a deep river bed. As you can see, in 1957 there were poles for electricity that seem to originate from the river bed. Over time, the river has been harnessed by concrete, and pavement paintings are being exhibited to form a giant public art gallery. At the time of writing, the pieces can even be seen on aerial images on Google Maps.

Comparing the images from 1957 with 2019, both the trees and buildings have grown, preventing a direct comparison. But it seems that the city has resisted the temptation to erect buildings even closer to the river bed. I like that and will put a visit to Elche on my bucket list.


The high resolution image

Capture DateApril 1957
LocationElche, Spain
Image Source7 x 10 cm Print from Original Negative Film
Digital Image SourceEPSON Perfection 4870 Photo
Digital Image Source FormatTIFF, 48 bits/pixel, AdobeRGB
Edited Image FormatJPEG, 24 bits/pixel, sRGB
Edited Image Dimensions4394 x 2951 Pixels
Copyright© by Mark Zanzig/zanzig.com

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