Almeria Town Granada Andalucia Spain

Almeria is a city in Andalucia and the capital of the province of the same name, situated on the beautiful Costa Tropical and about 1 hour driving from Malaga International airport on the coast road to Costa Blanca. Almeria is a Moorish castle, and is the second largest Moslem fortress in Andalucia after the famous Alhambra in Granada. Almeria is the European city whish has the most hours of sun per year and also the driest climate in Andalucia.

Harbour – fortress and Abd ar-Rahman III

Although the surrounding area was inhabited by Neolithic, Iberian. Phoenician and Carthaginian peoples and was also an important part of the Roman Empire, the city itself was founded by Abd ar-Rahman III of Cordoba in 955 as a principal harbour in his extensive domain to strengthen his Mediterranean defences after his grandfather Adb ar-Rahman from Syrian who was landed at Almuñecar at year 775. Its name is believed to stem from the Arabic Al-Mariyat, meaning The Mirror of the Sea or from Al-mariyya, meaning lookout or vigil, as its initial function was to protect the city of Bayyana, currently known as Pechina.

Almeria’s history.

During this period, the city of Almeria reached its history peak, continuing, after the fragmentation of the Caliphate of Cordoba, under powerful local emirs like Jairan, the first independent Emir of Almeria and Cartagena; and Almotacin the poet emir, both fearless warriors but also patrons of the arts.

During the 11th century, the silk industry (thanks to mulberry trees plants in the hot, dry landscape) was Almeria main source of income and made its strategic harbour an even more valuable prize. Almeria also exported slaves, gold and silverwork and Macael marble.

Contested by the emirs of Granada and Valencia, Almeria suffered many sieges, and one especially fierce when Christians, called to the Second Crusade by Pope Eugene III, were also encouraged falling upon the Moslem infidel on a more familiar coast.

On the occasion Alfonso VII, at the head of mixed forces of Catalans, Genoese, Pisans and Franks, led a crusade against the rich city, and Almeria was occupied in October 1147. Within a decade it was under the control of the puritanical Almoravid emirs, and though its glorious culture was diminished, not until the late 15th century did it fall permanently into Christian hands, surrendered to the Catholic Monarchs, Fernando and Isabel, in December 1489.

Earthquakes - pirates – war.

The 16th century brought natural and human catastrophes, with at least four earthquakes shaking the city. The one in 1522 was especially violent.
The remaining Moslems were expelled from the city after the Alpujarras war in 1568 and scattered across Spain. Landings and attacks by Berber pirates were also frequent in that century, and continued until the early 18th century.

During that time, huge iron mines were discovered and French and British companies came to settle in the area, bringing renewed prosperity and bringing Almeria back to a relative importance within Spain.

Spanish Civil and after Franco come the new agriculture and tourism.

During the Spanish Civil war the city was attacked by the German navy. Almeria and Malaga were the last cities to surrender to Francisco Franco and the fascists.

Under the second half of the 20th century, Almeria witnessed spectacular economic growth doe to tourism and its intensive agriculture, with plants grown year-round in massive greenhouses which cover whole farms.

After Franco death and the approval of the new Spanish Constitution, the people of Andalucia were called into referendum to approve an autonomous status for the region. The province Almeria voted in favour of it and joined the newly created autonomous region.

The Gypsum crystal was found.

In the year 2000, a team of geologists found a cave filled with giant gypsum crystals in abandoned silver mine near Almeria. The cavity which measures 1.8 x 1.7 metres, is the largest geode ever found. The entrance to the cave has been blocked by five tons of rocks, and it under police protection to prevent looters from entering and is also closed to tourists. According to geological studies, the cave was formed during the Messinian salinity crisis six million years ago, when the Mediterranean Sea evaporated leaving behind thick layers of salt sediments.

Some of Almeria’s most important monuments.

The Moorish fortress, with tree parts, the first was the military area and where the local people found refuge when the city was under attack. The second was the palace, and the third was built later during the reign of the Catholic Monarchs.

Calle de la Almedina and Puerta de Purchena – this was the main entrance to the city during the Moslem era. - The Jayran Ramparts and San Cristobal Hill, the wall descends from Moslem fortress and reaches the hill where the remains of a Christian fortress can be found. - The Arabic Wells, also built on the orders of Jayran in the 11th century, supplied the town’s water.

Calle de las Tiendas; A typical Arabic street which leads to the city centre. It was one of the most important commercial areas and contained most of the city’s shops. - San Juan Evanglista Church, built in the 17th century over the remains of the city’s main mosque destroyed by an earthquake in 1522. Some of the elements of the mosque, from the 12th century remain intact.

The cathedral, built in 1524; the huge gates to the building are in renaissance style built in 1550 and 1573. The interior is in late Gothic style. The cathedral was also used as refuge for citizens against pirate attacks.
The façade has one of Almeria’s emblems, the Portocarrero Sun, allegedly designed by Brother Juan de Portocarrero, with a human face and surrounded by flowers and ribbons.

Almeria’s symbol – the Indalo.

Almeria’s best known symbol is the Indalo. It was derived from paintings found in caves of men hunting with bows and arrows, but is also believed to have s divine connotation.
Plaza de la Constitucion, was the old Arabic market, and become a square in the 19th century, and is home to the city hall. It also contains a monument to those who died in the Civil War.
Cervantes Theatre, begun in 1898 and finished 1921, has neo-Baroque elements. The theatre becomes the site of festivals and local evens. It has exclusive sunflower lamps outside, and hosts a busy schedule of events throughout the year. There are many other interesting places to see and things to do in Almeria.

Almeria today.

Because of the fantastic weather all year around have many people from whole Europe want to move to the warm and sunny Almeria, so today it’s building many new apartments complex, lovely small and picturesque townhouses and villas streets in Andalucia style and also shopping centres. Almeria is Andalucía’s sunshine city is well worth a visit or come to live in.



 

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