Almería (UK: //, also US: /-/, Spanish: [almeˈɾi.a]) is a city and municipality of Spain, located in Andalusia. It is the capital of the province of the same name. It lies on southeastern Iberia on the Mediterranean Sea. Caliph Abd al-Rahman III founded the city in 955. The city grew wealthy during the Islamic era, becoming a world city throughout the 11th and 12th centuries. It enjoyed from an active port that traded silk, oil and raisins.
"Muy noble, muy leal y decidida por la libertad: ciudad de Almería"
(Very noble, very loyal and determined towards freedom: city of Almería)
|Comarca||Comarca Metropolitana de Almería|
|Founded by||Abd-ar-Rahman III|
|• Body||Ayuntamiento de Almería|
|• Mayor||Ramón Fernández-Pacheco (PP)|
|• Total||300 km2 (100 sq mi)|
|Elevation||27 m (89 ft)|
|• Density||660/km2 (1,700/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+1 (CET)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+2 (CEST)|
|Area code(s)||(+34) 950|
|Website||http://www.aytoalmeria.es (in Spanish)|
The origin of Almería is connected to the 9th-century establishment of the so-called Republic of Pechina (Bayyana) some kilometres to the north, which was for a time autonomous from the Cordobese central authority: the settlement of current-day Almería initially developed as a humble trading port of Pechina known as Al-Mariyya Bayyana. Pechina and its maritime port experienced divergent fortunes, and while the former progressively depopulated, the latter became the base of the Caliphal navy after 933, during the rule of Abd-ar-Rahman III. Furthermore, in 955, Abd-ar-Rahman III decided to erect the walls. A silk industry consisting of hundreds of looms and feeding itself from the mulberry trees planted in region, fostered Almería's economy. Almería also became an important slave trade hub during the caliphal period.
In the wake of the collapse of the Caliphate of Córdoba in the early 11th century, Almería detached from Cordobese authority towards 1014 and became ruled as an independent taifa under Slavic kinglets. It submitted to the Taifa of Valencia in 1038, yet it soon became independent as a new taifa, ruled by the Arab Banu Sumadih until 1091, when it fell to Almoravid control. This allowed the city's economy to insert itself into the trade networks of the Almoravid empire. Building upon the previous development during the caliphal period, Almería reached a degree of historical relevance unmatched in the rest of its history throughout the 11th and 12th centuries, becoming the third-largest city of Al-Andalus. Almería imported indigo dye and wool from the Maghreb and linen from Egypt, while it exported copper to Fez and Tlemcen as well as its highly sought textiles.
Contested by the emirs of Granada and Valencia, Almería experienced many sieges, including one especially fierce siege when Christians, called to the Second Crusade by Pope Eugene III, were also encouraged to counter the Muslim forces on a more familiar coast. On that occasion Alfonso VII, starting on 11 July 1147, at the head of mixed armies of Catalans, Genoese, Pisans and Franks, led a crusade against the rich city, and Almería was captured on 17 October 1147, marking the breakup of the city's period of splendor in the Middle Ages.
Within a decade, in 1157, Almería had passed to the control of Muslim Almohad rulers. Almería soon passed by the temporary overarching control of rebel Murcian emir Ibn Mardanish (1165–1169), hindering the early efforts of recovery in the city, that under the decade of Christian occupation reportedly had been left depopulated and, by and large, quite destroyed. During Almohad rule, the city did not return to its previous splendor, although the port remained trading with the Crown of Aragon and the Italian republics.
Following the rebellion against Almohad rule heralded by the likes of the Banu Hud and the Banu Mardanis, Almería submitted to the authority of Ibn Hud, who had raised the black banner and pledged nominal allegiance to Abbasid authorities by 1128. After Ibn Hud's assassination in Almería in 1238, the bulk of the remaining Muslim-controlled territories in the Iberian Peninsula passed to the control of rival ruler Ibn al-Aḥmar (sultan since 1232), who had set the capital of his emirate in Granada by 1238, constituting the Nasrid Kingdom of Granada, to which Almería belonged from then on. While relatively languishing throughout the Nasrid period, Almería still remained a key strategic port of the emirate together with Málaga, as well as a haven for pirates and political dissidents. It sustained intense trading relations with Aragon and the African port of Hunayn. Almería endured a brutal siege by Aragonese forces in 1309 that, while eventually unsuccessful, left the city battered.
The city submitted to the sovereignty of the Catholic Monarchs on December 26, 1489. Relatively isolated and within the range of attacks from Barbary pirates, the hitherto mercantile city entered modernity by undergoing a process of heavy ruralization that imperiled its very same continued existence as a city.
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 Barbary pirates were also frequent in the 16th century, and continued until the early 18th century. At that time, huge iron mines were discovered and French and British companies set up business in the area, bringing renewed prosperity and returning Almería to a position of relative importance within Spain.
During the Spanish Civil War the city was shelled by the German Navy, with news reaching the London and Parisian press about the "criminal bombardment of Almería by German planes". Almería surrendered in 1939, being the last Andalusian main city to fall to Francoist forces.
In the second half of the 20th century, Almería witnessed spectacular economic growth due to tourism and intensive agriculture, with crops grown year-round in massive invernaderos – plastic-covered "greenhouses" – for intensive vegetable production.
After Franco's death and popular approval of the new Spanish Constitution, the people of southern Spain were called on to approve an autonomous status for Andalusia region in a referendum. The referendum were approved with 118,186 votes for and 11,092 votes against in Almería province, which represented 42% of all registered voters.
- The Alcazaba, a medieval fortress that was begun in the 10th century but destroyed by an earthquake in 1522. It includes a triple line of walls, a majestic keep and large gardens. It commands a city quarter with buildings dressed in pastel colors, of Muslim-age aspect. It is the second largest among the Muslim fortresses of Andalusia, after the Alhambra.
- Almería air raid shelters, underground galleries for civilian protection during the Spanish Civil War, currently the longest in Europe open for tourists.
- The Cathedral has a fortress-like appearance due to its towers, merlons and protected paths, created to defend it from Mediterranean pirates. Originally designated as a mosque, it was later converted into a Christian church, before being destroyed in 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 into 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 promenade with gardens and palms.
- Cable Inglés (English Pier), 1904 iron railway pier built to transfer iron ore, copper, and silver produced by British- and French-run mines in Granada from trains to waiting cargo ships.
People and cultureEdit
Famous natives of Almería include Nicolás Salmerón y Alonso, who in 1873 was the third president of the First Spanish Republic, as well as several musicians, including the composer José Padilla Sánchez, whose music was declared of "universal interest" by Unesco in 1989, the popular folk singer Manolo Escobar, renowned Flamenco guitar player José Tomás "Tomatito" and Grammy Award winner David Bisbal; the champion motorcyclist Antonio Maeso moved to Almería as a child.
The Irish folk-rock group The Pogues paid tribute to Almería in "Fiesta," a song on the band's third album, If I Should Fall from Grace with God.
Almería hosted the Mediterranean Games in 2005. The city has 2 football teams: UD Almería, which plays in the Spanish Segunda División following relegation from La Liga in 2015 and CP Almería, which played in Tercera División Group 9 in the 2018/19 season following promotion.
The Plaza de toros de Almería is the main bullring in Almería. It has a capacity of 10,000 and it opened in 1882.
Intensive agriculture has been the most important economic sector of Almeria for the last 50 years. Nowadays, greenhouse's production, handling and commercialisation of vegetables, and the supply industry of the sector, represent almost 40% of Almeria's GDP. Directly, agricultural production accounts for 18.2% of the provincial GDP. In Andalusia, the average contribution is 6.6% and in Spain it is only 2.9%.
This situation is the result of a great dynamic model, which can continually incorporate new technologies: using soil sanding, plastic covers, drip irrigation systems, hybrid seeds, soil-less cultivation, irrigation programs, new greenhouse structures, and so on. They all allowed to improve production and increase commercialisation calendars, assuring the profitability and quality of the crops and the competitiveness of the markets. Moreover, Almeria's economy has an important exporting vocation: 75% of production was sold abroad in 2018, with a value of 2.400 million euros.
This development is explained by familiar investment, as subsidies have been limited or non-existent. In this sense, the horticultural sector receives the least European aids from the Common Agricultural Policy: 1.9% of total income. This figure is much lower than that received by other sectors such as olive groves (33%) or cereals (53%).
The production of this area is based on a fair competition with a just remuneration of employees, with similar salaries than the ones in the same sector in Europe: 8% higher than Italy and 11% than Belgium. This avoids the social dumping exerted by non-EU countries, like Morocco, with salaries up to 90% lower than those of Almeria.
From a social point of view, Almeria and Granada are an example of familiar agriculture, with small farms and little concentration of land. This social nature generates high equity in the level of income and welfare, that is, social cohesion is produced, and inequality is reduced. Concretely, Almeria is made up of 12.500 farms with an extension of 2,5 hectares and a 30% of familiar labour. It is also important the high education levels of the farmers, who shows an innovative and receptive character when it comes to continuing learning: 81,2% have some type of official academic training.
At the same time, a commercial system based on social economy enterprises has been developed, e.g. as cooperative societies. These companies represent the 62% of production and sales. They assure the access to the market in optimal conditions, because they increase its position inside the agri-food supply chain, facilitate financing, technical advice, and incorporation of technology. Moreover, local ties increase environmental sustainability.
By land, Almería can be reached by the A-7 Mediterranean Highway, which connects the Mediterranean area with the Spanish A-92 that unites it with the rest of Andalusia. Almería railway station is served by Renfe Operadora with direct rail services to Granada, and Madrid Atocha using a branch off the Alcázar de San Juan–Cádiz railway; the Linares Baeza–Almería railway. In the future, high-speed rail AVE services will link Almería to Madrid via Murcia. The central railway station has been closed for several months and it is not known exactly when it will re-open. Passengers currently start their journey by being bussed a few kilometres to Huercal de Almeria station.
By sea, the port of Almería has connections to Melilla, Algeria, Morocco, and tourist cruises in the Mediterranean. It also has a marina with moorings for pleasure boats. Currently the port of Almería is being expanded with new docks and transformed into a container port to take large-scale international shipping and thereby increase its freight traffic. It normally connects with the following destinations:
- Acciona: Ghazaouet (Algeria), Oran (Algeria), Nador (Morocco) and Melilla.
- Comarit: Nador.
- Comanav: Nador.
By air, Almería is served by Almería Airport, the fourth largest in Andalusia. The winter timetable includes flights to Madrid, Barcelona, Melilla, London, and Seville, with international connections to Manchester, Birmingham, Brussels, Dublin and Swiss, German and other EU airports being added during the summer.
Due to its arid landscape, numerous Spaghetti Westerns were filmed in Almería and some of the sets are still remain as a tourist attraction. 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. The Cabo de Gata-Níjar Natural Park runs through the municipal areas of Níjar, Almerimar and Carboneras. Its villages, previously dedicated to fishing, have become tourism spots. The beaches of Cabo de Gata-Níjar Natural Park are also an attraction.
With a yearly precipitation of just 200 mm (7.9 in) and with only 26 days of precipitation and an annual temperature of 19.1 °C (66.4 °F), Almería has a hot semi-arid climate (BSh) bordering on a hot desert climate (BWh) according to the Köppen climate classification, and it's the closest city in Europe to a hot desert climate, reaching it closely in the south-eastern outskirts of the city until the Cabo de Gata-Níjar Natural Park located east of the city. It is one of the driest zones on both shores of the Mediterranean coast.
The BWh climate is present in the city of Almería, in nearby areas of Almería province (such as the Cabo de Gata-Níjar Natural Park, the Andarax/Almanzora river valleys), the only region in Europe to have this climate (this excludes the Canary Islands, which are also part of Spain and are geographically on the continent of Africa, which have a hot desert climate on most of the islands, specifically on the islands of Fuerteventura and Lanzarote in the Province of Las Palmas). With an average annual temperature above 19.1 °C (66.4 °F), it also qualifies as the 2nd warmest city in continental Europe, after Seville, also in Andalusia, Spain. This arid climatic region spreads along the coastline around Almería to Torrevieja, in the northeast. The nearby Faro del Cabo in the Cabo de Gata-Níjar Natural Park, has the lowest annual precipitation on the European continent (156mm).
|Climate chart (explanation)|
Almeria also experiences the warmest winters of any city on the European continent with a population over 100,000, having hot and dry summers, with precipitation rare between June and August (July and August have in average 0.3 rainy days). Almería enjoys about 3,000 hours of sunshine with over 320 sunny days per year on average (6 hours of sunshine in January and 12 in July) so it is one of the sunniest cities in Europe.
Almería is unique, for a city in Continental Europe, for not having any registered temperature under the freezing mark in its recorded weather history. The coldest temperature recorded was 0.1 °C (32.2 °F) at the airport in January 2005. Before that, the previous record was 0.2 °C (32.4 °F) on 9 February 1935.
During the winter, daily maximum temperatures tend to stay around 17–18 °C (63–64 °F). At night, the minimum temperature is usually around 8–10 °C (47–50 °F). This makes Almería the city with the second warmest winters in Europe, just after Cádiz. The city only receives 26 days of rainfall annually; so while no month could be described as truly wet, there are strong differences in terms of rainfall, with coastal parts of the city (such as the Cabo de Gata-Níjar Natural Park) receiving a rainfall amount of 156 mm (6.1 in) per year, which is also noted as the driest location in Europe, while inland areas (such as the Tabernas Desert) receive a rainfall amount of 200 mm (7.9 in) per year, since the average altitude is 600 m (2,000 ft), and it has an average temperature of 17.9 °C (64.2 °F), so it would be classified as a cold desert climate (BWk) bordering a cold semi-arid climate (BSk) according to the Köppen climate classification.
Inland areas of the Almería province are believed to have reached temperatures close to 50 °C (122 °F) in summer (disputed). Perhaps, temperatures above 40 °C (104 °F) are very rare in the city of Almería.
During the warmest months - July and August, the sky is clear and sunny and no rainfall occurs. The typical daily temperatures are around 30 °C (86 °F) during the day while the minimum temperatures stay around 22 °C (72 °F) during July and August. As is the case for most of coastal Iberia, heatwaves in Almería are much less common than in the interior because of its coastal location; The hottest temperature recorded was 41.6 °C (106.9 °F) in July 2019.
|Record high °C (°F)||24.4
|Mean maximum °C (°F)||18.8
|Average high °C (°F)||16.9
|Daily mean °C (°F)||12.6
|Average low °C (°F)||8.3
|Mean minimum °C (°F)||5.9
|Record low °C (°F)||0.1
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||24
|Average precipitation days (≥ 1 mm)||2.9||2.9||2.6||2.6||1.9||0.6||0.3||0.3||1.5||2.8||3.6||3.3||25.4|
|Average relative humidity (%)||67||67||65||62||63||61||60||63||65||68||67||67||65|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||194||191||232||261||297||325||342||315||256||218||183||178||2,994|
|Source: Agencia Estatal de Meteorología|
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 8 by 1.8 by 1.7 metres (26.2 ft × 5.9 ft × 5.6 ft), may be the largest geode ever found. The entrance of the cave was blocked by five tons of rocks, and was 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 site is currently open for tourists under guided tours.
The festive events that occur in the municipality are listed below:
- Holy Week
- Cruces de mayo
- Saint Joan's Eve
- José Tomás "Tomatito" (born 1958), Flamenco guitar player.
- Lita Baron (1923-2015), actress, singer and dancer. Was born in Almería.
- David Bisbal (born 1979), Grammy Award winner.
- Nieves Navarro (born 1938), actress.
- Manuel Lao Hernández, founder of Cirsa, Spain's largest casino operator
- Rosa García-Malea López (born 1981), first female fighter pilot in the Spanish Air Force
- Juan Martínez Oliver (born 1964), road bicycle racer.
- Eduardo del Pino Vicente, journalist and writer.
- Chus Lampreave (1930-2016), actress who died in Almería.
- Jimena Quirós (1899 - 1983), Spanish scientist considered the first female oceanographer in the country and the first female staff scientist of the Spanish Institute for Oceanography (IEO) 
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- Molina López, Eduardo (1990). "Almería en la etapa Nasri (siglos XIII al XV). Estado de la cuestión, balance y perspectivas" (PDF). Almería entre culturas: (siglos XIII-XVI). 1. pp. 15–68. ISBN 84-86862-43-4.
- Rogers, Clifford J. (2010). The Oxford Encyclopedia of Medieval Warfare and Military Technology: Vol. 1. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0195334036.
- Sánchez Sedano, María del Pilar (1985). "Inventario de arquitectura musulmana en la provincia de Almería" (PDF). Boletín del Instituto de Estudios Almerienses. Letras (5): 163–188. ISSN 0211-7541.
- Viguera Molins, María Jesús (2014). "Los reinos de taifas y el reino aftasí" (PDF). In Zozaya Stabel-Hansen, Juan; Kurtz Schaefer, Guillermo S. (eds.). Estudios sobre el reino aftasí. Badajoz: Consejería de Educación y Cultura. Junta de Extremadura. ISBN 978-84-9852-429-1.
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