This week sees one of the greatest cultural events of the area take place. It is the Mystery Play of Elche, a medieval drama representing the Falling Sleep, the Assumption and Crowning of the Virgin Mary. It has been celebrated since the 15th century in the Basilica of Santa María, on 14 and 15 August. It is the only medieval play which has been maintained thanks to a bull of Pope Urban VIII (1632). It is divided into two acts and is sung throughout. It music has melodies deriving from the Gregorian repertory with renaissance compositions and baroque and subsequent additions.
The Mystery Play of Elche is the cultural heritage of the town of Elche and one of the most prized jewels of Valencian culture, as demonstrated by its declaration as a National Monument in 1931, and its inclusion, in 2001, in the First Declaration of Masterpieces of Oral and Intangible Heritage by the UNESCO.