As Andalucía’s most eastern province, Almería was a frontier land, heavily fortified over the centuries with watchtowers looking out to sea; imposing fortresses; and beautiful palaces. It has been the battle ground for many competing Arab dynasties and the place of bloodshed during the Spanish Civil War.
The region has an arid climate and is home to Europe’s only desert, ‘Tabernas’ Due to the area’s similarities to the deserts of the American West, Tabernas has been a regular location for feature films and television shows. Many of the ‘Spaghetti Westerns’ made by Italian directors like Sergio Leone were shot here including ‘A Fistful of Dollars’ and ‘The Good, the Bad and the Ugly’, starring Clint Eastwood. Nowadays, visitors can enjoy tours of the old sets at a number of studio theme parks, including ‘Mini Hollywood’ and ‘Fort Bravo’.
Travelling through Almería, one cannot escape the view of the ‘invernaderos’, which are large greenhouse structures covered in transparent plastic. These spread out for as far as the eye can see, filling much of the flatter, low lying areas. This intensive farming produces much of the fruit and vegetables for the European market, including organic produce for the UK, Germany and further afield. This, together with tourism makes up the majority of the province’s economy.
Almería capital is an elegant port city with wide avenues and impressive architecture. Thanks to major investments made to host the Mediterranean Games in 2005, the city boasts some superb public spaces, including the distinctive pedestrian walkway, known as the ‘Rambla of Almería’ that leads down to the harbour.
The centre is full of ancient monumental buildings including convents, churches and the cathedral. Sophisticated urban plazas and squares look back to a golden era for the city.
Almeria’s earlier history was dominated by the Arabs, and after The Alhambra, the city is home to the largest Moorish complex in Spain, the fortified Alcazaba, covering a staggering 43,000 square metres. Although damaged in an earthquake centuries ago, the fort also includes a medieval castle built by the Catholic Monarchs.
Thanks to its warm and dry climate, with barely a month of rain each year, Almería is increasingly popular with holiday visitors. Not only for the attractions of the capital, but also for its protected, pristine beaches of the ‘Cabo de Gata’ natural park. Shaped by earthquakes and volcanoes, this rugged coastline is unique in Andalucía. This is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful and ecologically significant coasts of the western Mediterranean. This is not just a holiday spot to lie in the sun, as the province’s passion for sport and the sea means that one is never far from the opportunity to scuba dive, sail or windsurf.
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