Almeria, Spain is the capital of the municipality of the same name in Andalusia, in southern Spain and has around 200,000 inhabitants. It is beautifully situated on the Mediterranean Sea with some 219 kilometres of sandy coast, the Costa de Almería. Almería has the most sunshine hours in all of Europe, makes the city a popular destination for sun worshipers.
But this historic city has more to offer than sun and beach. Fortresses, churches and archaeological sites are also among the sights of this unique city. Here we will briefly discuss the rich history of Almeria in Spain and its sights.
The history of Almeria, Spain, goes way back
The city was officially founded in 955 by Arabs, but there are indications that the city already existed in the Roman era, albeit much smaller.
In the period called “the Muslim era”, the town increased and became an important trading place for products from Africa. In 1489 the city was officially taken over by the surrounding Catholic monarchies. The “Christian era” begins. In this era, the city is becoming impoverished, and people are starting to move away. Trade with America is now more critical than with Africa and Almería is not on that trade route. Moreover, the city suffers from earthquakes and invading pirates.
A new cathedral
In 1522 the city was almost destroyed by an earthquake, and only 700 inhabitants remained. The city built a new cathedral on the site of the old mosque, the Catedral de la Encarnición de Almería. The temple was created as a fortress to protect against the pirates. Today, the diocese of Amería resides in it. The cathedral attracts Christians from the full area, but the city continues to suffer from earthquakes, droughts and piracy. In the 18th century did the city begin to flourish again, under the influence of mining activities in the area. From 1810 to 1812 the town was occupied by France. In the time that follows, parks, squares and canals arise, and the city will be piped and drained. However, it is only after the Second World War that the town has been restored to its full glory.
This rich history ensures that there are influences from many cultures in Almeria. The Alcazaba has been preserved from the Muslim era. After the Alhambra in nearby Granada, this is the largest Muslim building in Spain. The fort is situated on a hill and overlooks the old centre of the city, the Medina, where some of the original narrow streets still run. In addition to the cathedral, several churches bear witness to the Christian era. The covered market and the old station, both from the 19th century, are certainly also worth a visit. Furthermore, the city has several beautiful squares, theatres, museums and many statues. From the harbour, ferries go to different cities in North Africa.