EVERY MARCH 21 a tribute is made to the memory of the earthquake that destroyed much of the towns of Guardamar, Torrevieja and Almoradi, causing a total of 386 deaths.
From September 13, 1828 to March 21, 1829, there were some 200 earthquakes of a mild character in the area around Alicante. However, at 6:15pm on March 21st, 1829, Spain experienced one of the country’s largest earthquakes as the Vega Baja was shaken by a quake that registered 6.6° on the Richter scale. The destruction caused and the collapse of buildings, left 389 dead, 377 injured, and 2,965 homes completely destroyed or damaged.
Houses of several floors, without any foundations, supported by weak wooden beams and located in narrow streets, fell with their inhabitants inside. The largest impact was in Torrevieja, were all the houses were demolished; Guardamar had to be redesigned, and Almoradi was the most affected city. Every year in Almoradi, its inhabitants accompany the saint called San Emigdio, who is the patron saint of earthquakes, and pray to the memory of all the victims. The earthquake of 1829 is so deeply rooted in the minds of the people of Vega Baja that when the August 2008 earthquake of 3.6 degrees occurred, the Council received dozens of petitions to take San Emigdio out onto the streets. Since 1829, only three other earthquakes in Spain have measured higher on the Richter scale.