Velefique, Almería

Almería

[ahl-me-ree-ah]

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

History

The name "Almería" المراية stems from Al-Mariyat: "The Mirror", in Arabic, comparing it to the "The Mirror of the Sea".

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

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

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.

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.

See: List of Almería Kings

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. 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 its intensive agriculture, with plants grown year-round in massive 'invernaderos' - plastic-covered intensive farms.

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 Almeria voted in favour of it and join the newly created autonomous region of Andalusia.

Demographics

Source: INE (Spain)

People and culture

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, reputed Flamenco guitar player José Tomás "Tomatito" and Grammy Award winner David Bisbal, record-breaker 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.

Economy

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.

Transportation

Almeria is communicated by land sea and air.

By land, to Almeria 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 Almeria 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 Almeria 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:

Trasmediterranea: Ghazaouet (Algeria), Oran (Algeria), Nador (Morocco). and Melilla. Comarit - Nador. Comanav - Nador.

By air, Almeria has Almeria International Airport which is the fourth largest in Andalusia and with domestic and international flights, mainly Amsterdam, Madrid, Barcelona, Melilla, London, Manchester, Birmingham, Brussels, Vienna and cities Swiss, German and EU level. The airlines working with the Mediterranean city are as follows:

Air Berlin, Air Nostrum, Air Europa, Ryanair, Easyjet, Jet2, Condor, Spanair, Austrian Airlines, Monarch Airlines, First Choice Airways, Thomas Cook

Geography and Climate

Almería is the driest region in Europe as well as one of the warmest with an average annual temperature of 19 degrees Celsius and has some 330 days of sun per year on average. 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. 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. During the winter the weather is comfortable and fairly dry and daily temperatures are usually between 15-20°C (59-68°F). Nightly temperatures during the winter rarely fall below 10°C (50°F). During the summer it rarely drops below 30°C (86°F). Temperatures during the heat of the day can exceed 35°C (95°F). 40°C (104°F) can be reached during most summers. Nightly temperatures during the summer are usually between 22-26°C (72-80°F). The highest recorded temperature was 44.2°C (112.0°F) on the 30.7.1981 and the lowest recorded was -1.2°C (29.8°F) on the 13.2.1983.

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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

External links

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