Travel Guide to Almería

Viewpoint to the Mediterranean

The great port of Caliphate, sorrounded by mountains, is the city in Europe with the greatest number of sunlight hours. This has facilitated the development of an extensive agriculture activity. Also, the city counts with an excellent mediterranean gastronomy. It is the perfect destination for beach enthusiasts, due to being able to swim year round. Furthermore, they have a fascinating archeological heritage. Up next, discover the history and the travel guide to Almería.

Plan your escape to Almería

In addition to the numerous amount of beaches, Almería counts with a rich archeological heritage, both architectural and sculpturistic. To satisfy the needs of history enthusiasts: The English Cable, the great Archeological Museum, the Almería Cathedral and the monumental Alcazaba. The journey to the Travel Guide of Almería can take up an entire weekend. 

A few kilometers from the city you can find Níjar and the close by Cabo de Gata-Níjar Natural Park. This is one of the most active tourism places in the province of Almería, but probably not the only one. Furthermore, part of travel guide to Almería, adjacent is the coastal city of Roquetas de Mar. Here, you can travel north on highway A92 and explore the breath taking view of the Tabernas Desert. This magnific city offers splendid gastronomy, taking the leading roles in this area are la Caballa and la Melva de Andalucía as a result, both with I.G.P.

The best accomodations and restaurants are in the pages about where to Sleep and Eat in the Almerian capital. Even more, do not miss this great travel guide of Almería.

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In the travel guide to Almería, reviewing history is key. The name pronounced, Al-Miraya, signifies viewpoint or lookout tower. It was re-casted and forted in the year 995 by Caliph Abderramán III. Situated in the place where the Urci population settled in the Iberian times, and the Portus Magnus during the Roman Empire.

The place was, during the Caliph of Cordoba, the second city in the peninsula and the main port with 300 self-owned ships.  The fleet admiral, second after the caliph, resided in Almería. Ibn Maymun was sent to be poisoned by the Almanzor leader due to envy of his power.

Upon forces against the zone, once the caliph disolved, the splendor continues. In hands of Almotacín (XI c.), Almería was a great commercial and cultural center. Proof of this is that the population had fifteen gates. Furthermore,  the urban framework consisted of an authentic labyrinth with a surface close to a million square meters. At the time, there were up to 10.000 textile mills that exported to the arabic world.

Christian medieval text, such as Romance del Conde Arnaldo, or Las Serranillas del Marqués de Santillana, told about it´s splendor. Pope Eugene III promoted a crucade against the city of Almería. The most relevant personalities of that time attended this gathering, such as: Count Ramón de Berenguer of Barcelona, the kings Alfonso VII of Castilla and García Ramírez IV of Navarra and Álava, as well as the great duke Guillermo VI of Montpellier. Due to trade rivalry, the genovean and pisians supported with their fleets.

In 1147 their barriers were raided. Up to 20.000 soldiers defended the fort. The majority died in the hands of the army of Alfonso VII, nicknamed “The small Sultan” by the locals. Once the city was taken over, the looting of the enormous amount of riches followed.

Among the most important treasures was the Sacred Path, a great fountain of emeralds in which based upon tradition, it is where Jesus Christ served the lamb in the Last Supper. The spanish monarchy even took parts of the large mosque of Almería to the monastery of las Huelgas Reales, in Burgos. The rich leather fasteners and the bronze from the Pechina gates were taken apart by the Count of Barcelona, which situated them in the University of Barcelona.

foto antigua Vista desde la Alcazaba / Hauser y Menet en Almería

A decade later due to the city recovered by the Almohads, they were not able to bring back their previous splendor. In 1309 King James II of Aragón retries to conquest Almería, he was unsucessful. His position between the Murcia Christians and the Granada Arabs, positioned him in a strategic enclave being the front of confrontation.

Finally, in 1489, it is passed to the Crown of Castile, which marks start to the decline of Almería. During this time the population suffered the devastating effects of the plagues, along with the continuous arrival of Argelinan pirates. Furthermore, they lived through earthquakes such as the ones in 1518 and 1522 which ended with almost all of the population and with the arab construction. The city finally sees their economy reacivate at the end of the XIX century. Thanks to the exploitation of the resources from the iron and lead miners, along with export of the Ohanes grape.

During the Civil War, May 29, 1937, republican air bombers piloted by Russians mistakenly attacked the German battleship, Deutschland. This led to 31 dead and 74 injured. On the dawn of May 31st, by Hitler´s order, the armored Admiral Scheer and four other soldiers carried out more than two hundred gunshots against Almería. The result were 19 dead, 55 injured, and 35 buildings destroyed. Among the fallen buildings were the cathedral, the San Sebastian Church, and the municipal council.

During the sixties of the XX century, starts up the development of the province, based on the extensive agriculture, tourism, construction, and marble.

Up next, the Travel Guide to Almería.

The travel guide to Almería starts through the Alcazaba (X-XV cs.).This has to do with the second greatest arab fortification on the peninsula, with 1430 meters of a fortified perimeter. Started by the Califa Abderramán III, a factory that has two parts. One part arab and one christian. The visit includes the patio of arms, garden zones, the royal resort, towers, and the state house.

Between the remains of the Almotacín Palace you can find the Mirador de la Odalisca. This was the stage to a love story between a christian prisoner and Rey Moro´s favorite slave. If you want to know Almería in full depth, you can not leave without learning about this story. Coming down from the Alcazaba, is a line of walls, named The Jayrán by the king who put them up in the XI century. The walls go up to the San Cristóbal hill, a spectacular lookout where you can find an image of the Sacred Heart (XX c.) built of stone. One of the most beautiful views in Almería and an important part to our travel guide to Almería.

In the Nicolás Salmerón Plaza you can find a Center of Interpretation for the Arab Walls. The environment of the acient Medina, begins in the present street of La Reina and reaches Del Mar Avenue. The zone known as Pescadería-La Chanca the neighborhood of aljibe, visited by fishermen, sailors, and merchants. This is where La Juderia site was located. Most importantly, you can get a fantastic view from the Greppi cliff and the Hambre hill.

In the present street of Tenor Iribarne, there are three conserved ships that made up the Arab Aljibes of Almería. These were built from bricks and volts from a canon. In the  Manuel Pérez García plaza you can find the Purchena gate, the most distinguished in Almería.

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Alcazaba

The San Juan Church was ordered to be constructed by the Catholic Kings on the land of the main Mosque. This was the first Cathedral in the city. The 1522 earthquake made the new church dissapear. It was rebuilt in the XVII century by Bishop Portocarrero, who we can now thank for the present facade. Years later, it was abandoned due to the 1937 bombings. Now restored, traces of la quibla and el mihrab from the first mosque can be recognized.

Next on our travel guide to Almería, the Cathedral-Fortaleza of Incarnation built upon the 1522 earthquake. It would have and additional funstion as a refuge for the neighborhhood during the pirate attacks. The present gothic facade describes a live botany. The sacristy is emphazised , along with the choir chairs. In the XVIII century, Ventura Rodríguez drawed for the cluste. Thisis  the best neoclassic period that their has been in any spanish cathedral. It can be found in the Cathedral plaza, the Episcopal Palaca (XIX c.). In the neighboring street, Cubo, peeks out a tower of the Cathedral. From that tower you can see the significant Sol de Portocarrero. This is one of the symbols of Almería.

Close to the cathedral cluster the neoclassic Church Parroquial de San Pedro (XVIII-XIX), which includes the chapel of a Fransican convent of the XVI century. The present tower is from the XX century, one of the most interesting parts to see in Almería.

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Cable Inglés

The San Sebastián Plaza is another must-see in Almería. A mosque that was located here, was replaced by a shrine that in the XVII century turned into a Parish Church. The facade is the work of Ventura Rodríguez, one of the artists with the most presence mentioned several times in the travel guide to Almería.

In the very center of the gothic neighborhood of Almería, you can find the Church-Santuario de la Virgen del Mar, in charge of the dominicans. The image of the head woman of the city was found next to a watch tower in the Torregarcia beaches in 1502. The church with an urban front was funded in the XIX century, suffered great damage during the Civil War.

Furthermore, the Puras Convent was funded in the XVI century over acient arab homes. A product of various reforms and expansions, offers elements of diverse styles, from the Mudejars to the Baroque. These are the most relevant in the travel guide to Almería, the church, cloister, and access zone from Cervantes street. Most notorious is the temple front which was constructed in the XVIII century.

The Royal Monastary of Santa Clara (XVIII c.), situated in the centric Jovellanos street, suffered the effects of the confiscation and the Civil War. An area that most sticks out is the main front that is dominated by the image of Santa Clara, one of the most beautiful images to see in Almería. On another note, the Perish of Santiago was constructed in the street Las Tiendas in the XVI century. It was started in a mudejar style and its present renassaince style, one part as destroyed in the Civil War.

In the acient Muslim neighborhhod of Ajibe, you can find the eclectic Parish Church of San Roque (1893), precided by a monumental staircase. Funded in the 1500s over remains of an acient mosque. Rebuilt after a bombing during the Civil War. The Royal Hospital of Santa María Magdalena (XVI c.), stands out for a neoclassic cover (1778).

Casa de las Mariposas Jose Angel Astor Rocha / Shutterstock.com

The place, formerly occupied by the zoco, is known as Plaza Vieja or Plaza de la Constitución. An indoor joint, built in the XIX century, that hosted bullfighting. In the center there is a corinthian marble column that reaches almost 18 and a half meters tall. Known as, “Pingurucho de los coloraos”, a tribute to liberals that defended reform along Fernando VII. The plaza is presided by the town hall, ending the XIX century.

On the travel guide, one important building in Almería is Palacio de los Marqueses de Torre Alta (XIX c.). Located in plaza Careaga. As well as, Palacio de los Marqueses de Cabra (XVIII c.), the Municipal Archive and the Palacio de los Vizcondes del Castillo de Almansa (XVIII-XIX cs.). This last one decrees a facade facing Campomanes street, next to the Historic Provincial Archive. In Navarro Rodrigo street you can find the Council, along with a lit up patio.

The bourgeoisie cities epicenter in Paseo Almería, marks the difference between the historic fragments and the expansion. The moment the century changes, Casa de las Mariposas, inhabited by the Ripoll family is rebuilt. In 1921 the Teatro Cervantes was inagurated, with its wide half-point arches and modern elements.

In the periods between centuries the so-called English Cable (1902), a mineral carrier was installed in the Almadrabillas beach. This united the beautiful Train Station (XIX c.) to the port. This is a masterpiece of the steel architecture. From the same time and esthetic, you can find the Central Market of Almaria. The main facade shows off the representation of a fememnine figure with a fruit basket, this symbolizes abundance. It is one you can not miss on the travel guide to Almería.

In the Sports Port of the Sea, following our travel guide to Almería, we can see the Faluca Almariya. This is a replica of a muslim medieval boat, located next to the Almadrabillas beach.

Lastly on our travel guide to Almería, The Archological Museum of Almería. Important collections from Prehistoric and Muslim periods are hosted here. The Cortijo Romero, known as the House of Movies, was built in the XIX century. Famous Beatle John Lennon stayed here for a period of time, in 1966 when filming the movie How I Won the War.

Essentials

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Ayuntamiento de Almería
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Catedral de la Encarnación

Helpful Tips

Coordinates

36° 50′ 0″ N, 2° 27′ 0″ W

Distances

Sevilla 407 km, Madrid 545 km.

Parking

Many permited parking places in the urban zones. Parking zones in the center of the city, (Aparcamiento Público San Ildefonso, Santiago street, or Parking Almericentro, General Tamayo street).

Altitude

23 m.

Population

191 443 (2012).

The following are the greatest festivities to look out for in Almería: Romería a Torregarcía (the second Sunday of the year in the place where the Lady of the Sea appeared, Headwoman of Almería in 1502), Carnavales, Semana Santa, Cruces de Mayo, The Night of San Juan (June 23rd), Virgen del Carmen (July 16th), Ferias and Fiestas in Honor of the Lady of the Sea (the second biweek of August).

<events to look out for in Almería: Almería International Dance Contest  (July), Flamenco Festival (August), Lady of the Sea Feria Taurina ,Folklore fest Pueblos Ibéricos & Mediterranean (August). Along with, Pendón Day (San Esteban, December 26th, honoring  the conquer  by the Catholic Kings in 1489).

Ceramic, Plaster, Carton, Algae, and Sea Shells.

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