Tuesday, January 25

Everything that could be and was not



Since the Clarisas nuns left the La Merced convent in 2007 (three years after the exchange), where they had been integrated into the heart of the city for three centuries, the City Council has owned one of the buildings most valuable architecturally and culturally in Elche and with more history. The secrets that awaited the walls of a built building, where the Arab Baths are located, to which very few have had access because the nuns lived in closure, raised all kinds of expectations to the different municipal governments that have directed the City Council until now, which resulted in a shower of promises.

However, despite many attempts, none of the four mayors that have existed since then have succeeded in carrying out all those promises to reopen one of the city’s heritage jewels for the people of Elche, and most importantly, to rehabilitate a monastery left by the Poor Clares sisters due to its profound deterioration, aggravated in the last 14 years by the passage of time. Since then, the pages of this newspaper have been collecting everything that was announced that could be and was not the precious property of Passeig de Eres de Santa Llucia. The last idea to repair and reopen the convent has been to cede the convent to a company to operate it as a charming hotel in exchange for rehabilitating it, something in which the mayor, Carlos González, seems to be willing to go, who sees it as the only alternative justifying that the City Council does not have enough funds to save the property.

Not long ago, in 2019, in the last electoral campaign, the PSOE advocated turning the Clarisas into the new Archaeological and History Museum of Elche (MAHE), while Compromís proposed installing the headquarters that the Miguel University in the old religious building. Hernández (UMH) searches the center. These are not the only ideas that have been for the monastery. From Diego Maciá to Alejandro Soler and Mercedes Alonso, the convent could have been a Misteri museum, a large exhibition hall, a tourist hostel (as is now claimed again), a knowledge management center, which sought to end the digital divide that he was going to promote the investigation, among other genius things.

Chronology of «the turns» that La Merced has given

Everything that could be and was not


The convent exchange. In December 2004, the socialist mayor Diego Maciá signed with the Abbess of the Clarisas the exchange of the convent of La Merced for a new monastery next to the Hort de Revenga and the Bimil·lenari bridge, on the river bank.

Everything that could be and was not


A great museum space. In 2007 the City Council announced the imminent opening of the Convent of the Poor Clares to the public as a large museum space. Mayor Alejandro Soler said that they already had a preliminary project for the rehabilitation.

Everything that could be and was not


Deterioration and dilemma about its use. The lack of use after the nuns left in 2007 aggravated the deterioration of the convent. A year later the PSOE proposed converting the municipal building into a parador and Compromís defended the setting up of an exhibition hall.

Everything that could be and was not


The Misteri museum. May 2010, Mayor Alejandro Soler announced that the convent would be transformed into a documentary and tourist center of the Mystery. The rehabilitation would cost 3.3 million and the idea was to pay for it with the funds of the Government of Plan E.

Everything that could be and was not


One million from the County Council. The provincial administration promised in 2010 to subsidize with one million euros the project to convert the old convent of the Poor Clares into a documentary and tourist center of La Festa and a cultural space.

Everything that could be and was not


Goodbye to state funds. In 2011, with the popular Mercedes Alonso as mayor, Elche received the news that it had lost the 3.3 million subsidy from the central government for the convent for missing deadlines. PP blamed the PSOE for this and vice versa

Everything that could be and was not


An auditorium and exhibition hall. The PP government announced in 2011 the tastings prior to the conversion of the convent cloister into an auditorium and exhibition hall with a budget of 3 million that had been allocated for the knowledge management center.

Everything that could be and was not a.fajardo


Definitive loss of money. The convent saw in 2013 for the second time lose state funds. Elche lost the subsidy due to the delay in meeting the deadlines again to enable the knowledge management center that the government in 2011 proposed for La Merced there.

Everything that could be and was not


Minimum opening as a cultural center. In January 2015 the City Council opened the church as a multipurpose room to host conferences and exhibitions and the cloister after rehabilitating them with a budget of 200,000 euros from the municipal coffers.


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