Almeria's story dates back to 955CE when it was founded by Caliph Abderramán III, on the remains of the ancient Roman town of Portus Magnus. Hence, it is said that Almeria dates back to the Age of Bronze, due to some findings that trace their origins to prehistoric times.
Almeria has a lot of history and is considered to be one of the oldest cities, but in fact, it is a new one. This is because around the 17th century terrible earthquakes and plagues decimated its population, and it was only in the late 20th century, that it got its fame and inhabitants back.
Almeria is a small city but has a lot of things to do while visiting. You can enjoy hiking, diving, snorkeling, cycling and a lot more in only a few minutes away from the city center. Everything is nearby, and its nature is simply stunning. Also, Almeria has been declared to be the gastronomical city of Spain in 2018. Here are a few suggestions that shouldn't be missed during your first visit to Almeria!
Alcazaba was built in 955 A.C, and it is one of the most famous monuments in Almeria. It is one of the most powerful Moorish fortresses of Al-Andalus. Alcazaba is one of the biggest castles in Europe as at the beginning it was planned to be used as the seat of the local government. So, a small city was built inside this system of defensive walls.
The Alcazaba is a three-walled layer castle, as it was constructed in different eras and for various purposes. The name of these wall layers is "Recinto." Alcazaba is divided into three Recintos. The first one was a shelter for the population. The second one was the residence of the governors, and the third and most recent one was built by the Catholic Monarchs after conquering Almeria.
In the heart of the city, you can find one of the most important monuments of Almeria. The Cathedral was built in 1524, replacing a Mosque that was destroyed by an earthquake in 1522. The Cathedral was completed 40 years later, while the last bell was built in 1805. The "Catedral de la Encarnación de Almería", as it's called, was used as a fortress because of the various pirate invasions that Almeria used to face at that time.
Outside the Cathedral's entrance, there is a big square with palm trees and the Episcopal Palace (Palacio Episcopal). In wintertime and especially in Christmas time, they put an arch full of lights in the middle of the square.
The Episcopal Palace (Palacio Episcopal) shares the same square with the Cathedral of Almeria and covers an entire block. The palace was built in 1894 and was inaugurated in 1896, but the construction was finished three years after.
It used to be the first residence of the high ecclesiastical hierarchy of Almeria. After the big earthquake in 1804, that almost demolished the palace, restorations started and lasted for more than a century.
Of course, Almeria's Plaza de Toros couldn't be missed. Everywhere across Spain, there is one that you definitely have to visit. This Plaza the Toros was built in 1888 and is divided into two levels that can host more than 9.000 spectators in their corridas. One peculiarity of this bullring is that an afternoon snack (Spanish merienda), is offered during their bullfighting schedule. The most interesting thing is that the merienda is being distributed among the spectators and to do so, a 30mins break is required.
So if you find yourself in Almeria, don´t miss the opportunity to visit those amazing places that will travel you back in time and help you familiarise with the unique Spanish culture.
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