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Almería

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Almería is located in Spain
Almería
Coordinates: 36°50′N 2°27′W / 36.833°N 2.45°W / 36.833; -2.45
Country  Spain
Community  Andalusia
Municipality Almería
Government
 - Mayor Luis Rogelio Rodríguez-Comendador Pérez (PP)
Area
 - Total 295 km2 (113.9 sq mi)
Elevation 23 m (76 ft)
Population (2007)
 - Total 189,798
 Density 615.9/km2 (1,595.3/sq mi)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 - Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)

Almería is the capital of the province of Almería, Spain. It is located in southeastern Spain on the Mediterranean Sea.

Contents

History

The name "Almería" stems from Arabic المرية Al-Mariyya: "The Mirror", comparing it to the "The Mirror of the Sea".

The city was founded by caliph Abd ar-Rahman III of Cordoba, in 955, as a principal harbour in his extensive domain to strengthen his Mediterranean defenses.

Alcazaba of Almería.

Its Moorish castle, Alcazaba, is the second largest among the Muslim fortresses of Andalusia after the Alhambra.

The ancient walls of Jayrán.

In this period, the port city of Almería reached its historical peak, continuing, after the fragmentation of the Caliphate of Cordoba, under powerful local Muslim taifa emirs like Jairan, the first independent Emir of Almería and Cartagena and Almotacin, the poet emir, both fearless warriors but also patrons of the arts. A silk industry, based upon plantings of mulberry trees in the hot dry landscape supported Almería in the 11th century and made its strategic harbour an even more valuable prize. Contested by the emirs of Granada and Valencia, Almería suffered many sieges, and one especially fierce when Christians, called to the Second Crusade by Pope Eugene III, were also encouraged to fall upon the Muslim 'infidel' on a more familiar coast.

The statue of San Cristóbal.

On that occasion Alfonso VII, at the head of mixed forces of Catalans, Genoese, Pisans and Franks led a crusade against the rich city, and Almería was occupied in October 1147. Within a decade it had passed to 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, Ferdinand and Isabella, December 26, 1489.

Antigua Estación del Ferrocarril.

The 16th century was for Almería a century of natural and human catastrophes, for there were at least four earthquakes— of which the one in 1522 was especially violent— devastating the city. The people who had remained Muslim were expelled from Almería after the War of Las Alpujarras 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. In that time, huge iron mines were discovered and French and British companies came to settle in the area, bringing renewed prosperity and bringing Almería back to a relative importance within Spain.

During the Spanish Civil War the city was shelled by the German navy, and the front page headlines of the Diario de Almería, dated June 3, 1937, referred to the press in London and Paris carrying the news of the "criminal bombardment of Almería by German planes".[1] It and Málaga were the last Andalusian cities to surrender to Francisco Franco's "National Spain" forces.

In the second half of the 20th century, Almería witnessed spectacular economic growth due to tourism and intensive agriculture, with plants grown year-round in massive 'invernaderos' - plastic-covered "greenhouses" for intensive vegetable production.

After Franco's death and the approval of the new Spanish Constitution, the people of southern Spain were called into referendum to approve an autonomous status for the region. The province of Almería voted in favour of it and join the newly created autonomous region of Andalusia, with 118,186 votes for and 11,092 votes against.[2]

Cable Inglés, at night.

Main sights

  • 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 colors, of Muslim-age aspect.
  • The Cathedral, with a fortress-like appearance due to its towers, merlons and protected paths, aimed to defend it from the Mediterranean pirates. Originated as a mosque later turned into a Christian church, it was destroyed by the 1522 earthquake. In the 16th century it was rebuilt in the Renaissance style, whilst keeping some of its defensive features.
  • Renaissance church of Santiago, built in 1533, with tower and portal decorated with reliefs.
  • 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.

Demographics

Demographic evolution of Almería between 1999 and 2007

1999

2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2007

169,027

168,945 170,994 173,338 176,727 177,681 181,702 189,798

Source: INE (Spain)

People and culture

Casa de las Mariposas.

Famous natives of Almería include Nicolás Salmerón, who in 1873 was the third president of the First Spanish Republic, and several musicians, like the popular folk singer Manolo Escobar, renowned Flamenco guitar player José Tomás "Tomatito" and Grammy Award winner David Bisbal, record-breaking album seller in America and Spain. Although administratively annexed to the Autonomous Community of Andalucia, in Southern Spain, some people of the province have shown a clear desire for regional autonomy in different referendums. The island effect produced by the geographical situation has made several customs, accents and history different from the rest of the Autonomous Region of Andalucia. Almería hosted the Mediterranean Games in 2005. Almeria has 2 football teams: UD Almería plays in La Liga since 2007 and CP Almería plays in Regional Division.

Economy

Ayuntamiento of Almería.

Almería has an international airport, named Almería International Airport.

Almería has the largest naturist beach in Europe (also surrounded by naturist accommodations) called El Playazo despite current attempts to reduce the naturist extent of it. A great part of Almería's economy is based on agriculture, which is located mainly in the west part of the region. There we can find a sea of plastics, which are in fact green houses which produce tons of fruit and vegetables, more than 70% of the product is exported to the rest of Europe.

Rambla of Almería.

Transportation

By land, to Almería can be reached by the A-7 Mediterranean Highway, which connects the Mediterranean area and Spanish A-92 that unites it with the rest of Andalusia.

By sea, the port of Almería has lines to Melilla, Algeria and Morocco, also being scale of tourist cruises in the Mediterranean. Likewise also owns a marina with moorings for pleasure boats. Currently the port of Almería is being expanded with new docks also transform into a container port which make large-scale international shipping and thereby increase its freight traffic. It normally cover lines with the following destinations:

By air, Almería has Almería International Airport which is the fourth largest in Andalusia and with domestic and international flights, mainly Amsterdam, Madrid, Barcelona, Melilla, London, Manchester, Birmingham, Brussels, Dublin and cities Swiss, German and EU level.

Harbour of Almería.

Geography

Due to its arid landscape, numerous spaghetti westerns were filmed in Almería. According to Christopher Frayling, the author of Once Upon A Time in Italy: The Films of Sergio Leone, some of the sets are still there.[3] These sets are located in the desert of Tabernas. The town and region were also used by David Lean in Lawrence of Arabia (1962), John Milius in The Wind and the Lion (1975), and others. One of Almería's most famous natural spots is the Cabo de Gata-Níjar Natural Park. This park is of volcanic origin, and is the largest and most ecologically significant marine-terrestrial space in the European Western Mediterranean Sea. With one of the most beautiful and ecologically rich coasts of the western Mediterranean and an area of 380 square kilometres it is one of Spain’s natural jewels. The Cabo de Gata Natural Park runs through the municipal areas of Níjar, Almería and Carboneras. Its villages, previously dedicated to fishing, have become tourism spots for those interested in nature. One of the greatest draws of the Cabo de Gata Natural Park is its beaches.

Panorama of the coast of Almería.

Climate

Almería has one of the sunniest, warmest and driest climates in Europe. Almería enjoys about 3000 hours of sunshine annually with around 320 sunny days a year on average (6 hours of sun in January and 12 in August). Almería has an average annual temperature of around 19 °C (66 °F) and only 25-30 wet days a year on average. During the winter, daily maximum temperatures tend to stay around 14–20 °C (57–68 °F). At night, the temperature rarely drops below 8 °C (46 °F). precipitation falls in short heavy bursts. During the warmest month - August, there are clear sunny skies and no rainfall. The typical daily temperatures range from 28–34 °C (82–93 °F) and occasionally climb higher to around 40 °C (104 °F). The minimum temperatures stay well above 20 °C (68 °F). The temperature of the sea stays around 17 °C (63 °F) during the winter and 26 °C (79 °F) during the summer. This makes a swim an inviting prospect during any time of the year.

Climate data for Almeria (airport)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 16.9
(62)
17.7
(64)
19.2
(67)
21.0
(70)
23.6
(74)
27.3
(81)
30.3
(87)
30.7
(87)
28.3
(83)
24.3
(76)
20.4
(69)
17.9
(64)
23.1
(74)
Daily mean °C (°F) 12.5
(55)
13.2
(56)
14.7
(58)
16.4
(62)
19.1
(66)
22.7
(73)
25.7
(78)
26.4
(80)
24.0
(75)
20.0
(68)
16.2
(61)
13.7
(57)
18.7
(66)
Average low °C (°F) 8.2
(47)
8.8
(48)
10.1
(50)
11.9
(53)
14.6
(58)
18.2
(65)
21.1
(70)
22.0
(72)
19.6
(67)
15.7
(60)
12.0
(54)
9.4
(49)
14.3
(58)
Precipitation cm (inches) 2.3
(0.9)
2.1
(0.8)
1.5
(0.6)
2.0
(0.8)
1.4
(0.6)
1.0
(0.4)
0
(0)
0
(0)
1.2
(0.5)
2.8
(1.1)
2.8
(1.1)
2.3
(0.9)
19.6
(7.7)
Avg. precipitation days 3 3 3 3 2 1 0 0 1 3 3 3 26
Source: Agencia Estatal de Meteorología[4]
Zapillo Beach, in the coasts of Almería.

Films

List of films shot in Almería

Sister cities

Crystal Cave

In 2000, a team of geologists found a cave filled with giant gypsum crystals in an abandoned silver mine near Almería. The cavity, which measures 1.8x1.7 meters, would be the largest geode ever found. The entrance of the cave has been blocked by five tons of rocks, and is under police protection (to prevent looters from entering). According to geological models, the cave was formed during the Messinian salinity crisis 6 million years ago, when the Mediterranean sea evaporated and left thick layers of salt sediments (evaporites). The cave is currently not accessible to tourists.

Photographs

See also

References

External links

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