European way of life

The most beautiful archaeological museum in Europe: the MARQ in Alicante, Spain

Without a doubt, the MARQ is the most beautiful archaeological museum in Europe. Its name lives up to its ambition: to be the first 21st century archaeological museum. Challenge accomplished.

MARQ, Alicante, Espagne © Eurofluence

MARQ, Alicante, Spain © Eurofluence

The MARQ’s whole scenography has one goal: knowledge. Each of the five routes one can take through the permanent displays is an invitation to listen to our ancestors’ voices, from prehistoric to modern times, through the Iberian civilization, the Roman Antiquity and the Middle Ages. Hidden from the burning sun of the Costa Blanca, you walk around a semi-dark place, where the mysteries of ancient civilizations come to light. Objects are displayed on both sides of the main walking area, under giant screens, whose pictures accompany the visitor like moving ribbons.

It’s time to reconnect with you inner child and to go with the audiovisual presentation that make the collections come to life. The MARQ has something of Indiana Jones in the digital times and allows all sorts of interaction between the visitor and the displays. The stern distance museums of this type traditionally resort to does not exist here. The idea here is to translate the long lapses of historical times into the transient logic of our days by using its devices: new technologies. It’s all about showing history in the making, as in the section about underwater archeology: it shows the reconstituted 5th century wreck, with all of its contents.

Reconstitution d'une épave du Ve siècle ap. J-C., MARQ, Alicante, Espagne © MARQ

Reconstitued 5th century A.D. wreck, MARQ, Alicante, Spain © MARQ

The MARQ does not stop at space issues and its surprising scenography includes the reconstitution of a medieval church and the display of the 2000-year-old archaeological stratums on which it was built.

Église médiévale, MARQ, Alicante, Espagne © MARQ

Medieval church, MARQ, Alicante, Spain © MARQ

Throughout your visit, trust your senses and the didactical way the museum stimulates them: watch, listen, touch. The rigor and the quality of the collections will charm the most demanding visitors, whereas the younger ones’ curiosity will be aroused by numerous activities.

The labels are in Spanish and Valencian, but other languages are of course available, through a system of simultaneous translation. Moreover, the concept of the Museum is not to saturate the space with text and labels, but to offer a different access to knowledge, through animations, illustrations, maps and timelines.

The Museum website is an example. It has its own media database and allows access to all the photos and videos of the Museum events: children workshops, historical reenactments, archaeological news in relation to the exhibited words, overviews of temporary exhibitions, and so on. In the showcases of the MARQ, it’s all about transparency.

Through its dynamic and efficient social media policy, the MARQ offers a state-of-the-art snapshot of nowadays historical and archaeological research by posting about the main questions and controversies in these fields on the exemplary Museum website.

Finally, the MARQ has numerous partnerships with local archaeological sites and offers combined entrance tickets at a ridiculously low price:

  • 3€ full price entrance,
  • 2€ for the archaeological site of Lossal for example, where you can see the antique Lucentum, Alicante’s ancestor.

Located on the heights, the MARQ’s building used to be a hospital overlooking the 2000-year-old historical town of Alicante. Thanks to its inventive museography, it allows access to knowledge for all audiences and speaks to homo numericus in his native language.

It didn’t go unnoticed and in 2004 the MARQ received the European Museum of the Year Award, designed for the most innovative and structured museums in the EU, from the European Coucil.

The MARQ, back to the future


MARQ, Museo Arqueológico Provincial de Alicante

  Plza. Dr. Gómez Ulla, s/n. 03013 Alicante

  +34 965 14 90 00

  Opening hours: Tu-Sat, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. – 10 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. 


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