When you visit Torrevieja, it is hard to believe that the town is any different to how it was in the past and yet there has been so much change even in the short time we have lived here. When you see photographs of the town before the earthquake and even those from the 60s, things look very different.
Take the port, for example – a part of the town that we take for granted. This was only completed 50 years ago.
For over a hundred years, the town wanted a port to transport salt and produce from the Vega Baja. In 1862 work began on the construction but then had to be suspended because there was not enough stone available. There was also the rivalry of the ports at Alicante and Cartagena to contend with and the lack of funding from both private and public sources. All that Torrrevieja could offer at that time was a small jetty.
It wasn’t until 1915 that work began on the East dock. From then until 1963, the work progressed slowly in fits and starts. During the period between 1924 and the start of the Civil War, 1.2 million tons of stone were offloaded to construct the 1,400 metre long Levante dock. However, disaster struck when a severe storm in the 40s destroyed much of the work.
It wasn’t until the formation of the new salt company in 1951 that the state made a firm commitment to the work of completing the dock. Between 1952 and 1963, the Levante Dam was repaired and the 800m west pier was constructed creating the port as we see it today.
Apart from the salt dock, there are three marinas and the fishing port at Torrevieja.