Almeria is a beautiful city, in an equally beautiful province of the same name, and the town of Almeria is not only famous for its beaches and tourist spots, but also has a fascinating history and an abundance of places to visit, for instance:
The Alcazaba (main picture) is a grand Moorish fortress, second only to the Alhambra, and has been standing since the 10th century. The imposing entrance, with its four arches, leads you through to a space requiring a couple of hours to fully explore and appreciate. Multi-language guide pamphlets are available at the entrance, if you are not on a guided tour.
The fortress comprises three compounds, known as recintos:
El primer recinto, or 1st compound, is at ground level and this was the residential part; where you would find streets of houses, wells, public baths, and so on, although now it houses beautiful gardens and water features. The battlements offer views of La Muralla de Jayran; an 11th century defensive city wall, and panoramic vistas of the city and coast.
El secundo recinto; the 2nd compound, holds the ruins of Almotacin’s palace; the Muslim who ruled for 40 years from 1051, and who led Almeria to the height of its medieval existence. Also in this recinto is the Ermita de San Juan; originally a mosque and now a Christian chapel.
El tercer recinto; the 3rd compound; houses a citadel which was built by the Catholic monarchs during their reign.
The Catedral de la Encarnacion
This is a cathedral that rather resembles a solid fortress, with its six towers. Building began in 1525, originally as a safe haven for townsfolk during the frequent pirate raids of the era, as well as a church. Although starting life as a gothic-renaissance structure, in the 18th century features from the neoclassical and baroque styles were added. The entire interior is breathtaking, especially the ceiling; featuring marble, jasper and walnut carvings.
The exterior features the Sol de Portocarrero; a sun symbol from the 16th century, which has become the logo of Almeria, and the North West tower which features lions of stone.
The Guitar Museum
El Museo de la Guitarra is a relatively new addition to Almeria, and is dedicated to Antonio de Torres, an Almerian master guitar maker, who lived from 1817 to 1892. The museum shows a lot of Torres’ work and covers the history of guitars.
There is an interactive area which allows visitors to try guitars; both acoustic and electric; and to test themselves on a music quiz, or watch a film of the making of Spanish guitars.
The incredible architecture, rich history, and glorious beaches; all add up to a must-see part of Spain that once seen, is sure to never be forgotten. Many visitors to Almeria return several times in order to take it all in, and a lot of Brits decide to pack up and move over here for good, as this is a wonderful way of life and the perfect place to settle.