Some of the most popular images of the city are currently being shared across the world as the mushrooms on Calle San Francisco seem to have suddenly attracted the attention of many popular pages on social networks.

But the mushrooms that sprouted in the pedestrianised C/San Francisco, in the traditional centre of Alicante, transforming the area into a whimsical, fantasy wonderland of yellow brick roads, toadstool houses, and towering mushrooms, were initially not without controversy.

The installation of these large mushrooms in 2013, during the government of Sonia Castedo, with the objective of revitalising the area, provoked criticism from the opposition for its cost – about 66,000 euros. Their installation was subsequently branded as “botched”.

The controversy did not stop there and a year later the City Council put metal bars on the children’s mushrooms due to the emergence of urine and excrement. However, since those early days, these ornamental figures on the pedestrian pathway that connects the Portal de Elche with the Plaza de Calvo Sotelo, have become one of the most popular images of the city.

Now known as “mushroom street” the area has attracted the attention of tourists and it is not unusual to find people walking up and down the street taking ‘selfies’.

Recently, however, these gigantic mushrooms seem to have made the international leap and images captured in the street have begun to be shared on social networks in Italy, France and the United States.

One American radio host, Delilah, with almost 2 million followers, wrote, “I would love to take a walk down this funny and peculiar street. I wonder what magical creatures we could find under the mushrooms.”