The origin of the name Alicante is a story based on a legend, of love and war. Today we bring you a medieval legend in which two young men compete to win the heart of a princess and which ends with the renaming of the city where the plot takes place, a city which came to be called what we now know as Alicante. Do you know the famous legend of Ali and Cántara? Join us in this exciting story where love is the true protagonist.

Caliph and his Family

Centuries ago, in the city where Alicante stands today, a Caliph lived with his family. Of all her children, the precious princess Cántara was famous for her beauty. She was a woman who exceeded the ideals of beauty of that time. She was the The most beautiful young woman in the whole area and of course she had no shortage of suitors. And it is in this fight between suitors that the name of Alicante originates.

12 Tests Of Hercules

Specifically, there were two boys who fought for her love: Almanzor and Ali. They were both very kind and handsome and Cántara did not know which of the two to choose as her husband. But the Caliph, his father, had an idea and evoking the 12 tests of Hercules, he asked the suitors to each carry out an arduous task. The deal was that the first to finish it would be chosen as the suitor of the princess.

Almanzor was a general who had arrived from Córdoba and had gained fame throughout the Peninsula due to his military exploits. Although Ali was not that famous, he came from a noble family, so he was also up to the task of impressing the princess. The task that Almanzor had to carry out was to go abroad to look for silks and spices to offer the princess. For his part, the young Ali promised to make a ditch from which the water that would reach the city would be obtained. And it is that, without a doubt, what Ali was looking for was to remain close to Cántara in order to conquer her. And that was exactly what happened..

Like Romeo and Juliet

Ali enthusiastically set about his purpose and the ditch completion tasks began, but being close to the princess made it impossible not to impress her. She sang to him at all hours, she wrote and recited poems to him… As she could not be otherwise, she Cántara fell hopelessly in love with him. And without the tasks of the young suitors being finished, the princess’s heart was clear that she wanted to marry Ali.

But time passed and Almanzor, oblivious to the love that had arisen between Ali and Cántara during their trip abroad , returned to the city and with him the end of his purpose. As the Caliph was a just man, understanding that Almanzor’s deed had ended successfully and before Ali did, he gave him the hand of his daughter Cántara as promised, not knowing that the princess had already chosen a suitor. . When Ali found out, he couldn’t bear the pain and ended up throwing himself off a ravine.

Of course when Cántara found out about this misfortune, she also decided end her suffering.

The inhabitants were dismayed by what happened and decided to change the name of the city to ‘Alcántara’ so that the names of the lovers, Ali and Cántara, would remain eternally linked. Over the years, that name became Alicante, the name by which we know the city today.

It is said that their love alone , to this day protects the inhabitants so that no one would face misfortune again.

On your next visit to Alicante you can visit all the settings that appear in the legend and even look for the face of the Caliph under the Castle of Santa Bárbara. Many say that it is not easy since you have to find the right point to recognize it… In any case, from now on whenever you think of this tourist destination, you will know why Alicante receives this name and you will remember the beautiful, although tragic, history of love that this city holds.





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