The city of Almeria is Andalucia's most eastern capital. Years ago, it was not as well known by tourists as other capitals like Malaga, Seville, or Granada. However, that has changed considerably recently with its growth as a major holiday area.
Almeria holds a great deal of charm and is steeped in history. It is located at the foot of a mountain range which is crowned by the magnificent Alcazaba, an Arab fortress built by the Caliph of Cordoba, with three huge walled enclosures (in the second of which are remains of a mosque, converted to a chapel by the Catholic kings).
In times of war, the Alcazaba could hold an army of more than 20,000 men. From here, there is a good view of the city's famed cave quarter and of the strange fortified cathedral with its gothic style construction and renaissance facade.
The Alcazaba dominates the city and is the main reminder of Almeria's heyday when it was the major port of the Cordoba caliphate. It grew wealthy on trade and the textile industry with silk woven from the silkworms of the Alpujarras.
In 1489, the city was taken over by the Catholic monarchs and its Muslim populace expelled soon thereafter. Almeria's cathedral is at the heart of the old part of the city and was begun in 1524 to replace a predecessor wrecked by the earthquake in 1522. The architecture is a combination of Gothic and Renaissance, its fortress like appearance was due to suffering raids by pirates from North Africa. The north facade is an elaborate mid-16th century design.
The cathedral was built during an era when the southern Mediterranean was terrorised by the raids of Barbarossa and other Turkish and North African pirate forces and therefore, its corner towers once held canons. Situated in the centre is the great altar with its wealth of priceless art work including a tabernacle dating from the 18th century.
The spacious interior has a Gothic ribbed ceiling and makes use of jasper and local marble in some of its baroque and neo-classical trimmings. The chapel behind the main altar contains the tomb of Bishop Villalan, founder of the cathedral, and is another work of de Orea, as are the choir (with its stalls made out of walnut wood) and the Sacristia Mayor with its fine carved stone roof, windows and arches.
Almeria as one of the eight provincial capitals of Andalucia with various museums. True historians will appreciate the Almeria Museum which contains numerous objects discovered by the well-known Belgian mining engineer, Louis Siret. The contemporary art museum is well worth visiting. Take a stroll around Almeria and discover for yourself numerous examples of beautiful street art.
The Alcazaba, a mediaeval fortress begun in the 13th century but destroyed by an earthquake in 1522. It includes a triple line of walls, a majestic maschio and large gardens. It commands a quarter in white colours, of Muslim-age aspect.
The fortified Cathedral.
Renaissance church of Santiago, built in 1533, with tower and portal decorated with relief's.
Chanca, a group of houses carved within rocks.
Castle of San Cristobal, now in ruins. It is connected to the Alcazaba by a line of walls.
Museum of Almería. Includes findings from Prehistoric, Iberic, Roman, Greek ages and Muslim objects, mostly from the Alcazaba.
Paseo de Coches, a modern seaside walk with gardens and palms.
Alquiler coches is an ideal way of Travelling to tourist spots for those who don't own a car. Several kinds of cars including air conditioned and automatic are available for the customers.