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ALMERIA "Mirror of the Sea"

Almeria was founded in 955 AD by the Moorish monyrch Abderraman III and was originally named "Al-Mariyya" ("Mirror of the Sea"). Already long before there had been an Iberian settlement called "Urci" and lateron the Roman town "Portus Magnus" (Big Port).

Almeria soon became the most important port of Moorish Andalusia and reached the peak of its glory in 11th Century when it was an great cultural and economic center.

Even today, there are several monuments going back to this period: on a hill above the town there is the dominant Moorish Alcazaba Foto with its imposing walls. Behind it you can see several mountain chains, amidst them the only desert in the Iberian Peninsula Foto and at its foot the bright blue Mediterranean Sea.

Due to its privileged climate Almeria is a popular destination all year round. In addition to tourism, the cultivation of fruits and vegetables, and in recent years more and more the use of solar energy, are of great economical importance.

Almeria hasnot only great beaches to offer to its visitors, but also numerous monuments, nature parks in the immediate vicinity of the town and a wide range of culture and sport.

Let us briefly mention the main attractions:

La Alcazaba: the Moorish fortress, consisting of three parts which are surrounden by walls Foto, which is situated on a hill overlooking the city. Behind the Alhambra in Granada, it is the largest building of Moorish Spain and it is surrounded by 1430 meter long walls. From its tower, you can enjoy a beautiful view over the Gulf of Almeria.

Barrio de la Chanca: this district is located below the Alcazaba Foto and impresses us with its "cave-houses" and colorful facades. Most residents are fishermen, and gypsies.

The cathedral: it was built in the 16th Century and is unique in Andalusia with its fortified character. The facade dates from the Renaissance Foto, inside there are three Gothic naves.

Iglesia de Santiago ("Church of Santiago"): a small church from the 16th Century with a Romanesque tower Foto and a portal from the Renaissance.

Puerta de Purchena: a square in the city center with some interesting buildings from the era of modernism in the early 20th Century Foto.

The Musuem of Almeria: here you will find exhibits from prehistoric times until the era of the Moors. Particularly interesting are the Muslim grave stones (Almeria was one of the centers of production), and findings from ancient Iberian cultures, especially from Los Millares and El Argar.

If you wish to deepen your knowledge of prehistoric history, there are several sites in the vicinity of Almeria which you can visit: the cave paintings of "Los Vélez", "Los Millares" Foto dating from the Bronze Age (2700-1800 BC), and the Phoenician settlement of "Villaricos" next to Cuevas del Almanzora.

The most important fiesta is the "Feria de Almeria" in the second half of August, one of the most popular festivals in Andalusia which offers many attractions: horse riding games, bullfights, fireworks, the port is crossed by swimmers, and more.

Cultural highlights include the "Flamenco Festival" and the "Festival of Folklore of the Mediterranean", in which groups from many countries perform their regional dances and folk customs. Furthermore, an international jazz festival, a short film festival and a contest for classical guitar take place in Almeria.



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