Friday, 27 January 2017

Almería Cathedral by Robert Bovington

The ‘Cathedral’ is one of the major attractions in Almería. It was designed as a place of prayer and of war, when it was built in the sixteenth century. This was because the shores of Almería were continually under attack from Turks and Berbers and so it was designed as a place of refuge as well as worship. It was built in Gothic style with a Renaissance façade.

Whilst I can appreciate the workmanship inside, particularly the carved walnut stalls, I find the interior rather austere. However, a door in the south wall leads to a sunny little oasis of peace and tranquillity in the form of a little garden brimming with flowers and shrubs. 

The east facing façade of the Cathedral has a relief of the Portocarro sun, the symbol of the city.

On the north side of the Cathedral is the Plaza de la Catedral, a large attractive square with many tall palm trees. Tourist leaflets describe the Cathedral as having stark formidable walls. Certainly, they are tall and solid and the buttresses, towers and bastions give the building the appearance of a fortress rather than a place of worship. Yet, I think the Cathedral is attractive, the sandstone coloured building set against the bright “Almerian Blue” sky with the palm trees in the foreground make for an agreeable scene. In any case, the cathedral doorways are impressive with rich Renaissance decorative features.

Almería Cathedral
 Another good thing about Almería Cathedral is that it is sometimes the venue for classical concerts especially at Easter.

Robert Bovington
English expat living in Almería province

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Sierra de Gádor – a mountain range in southern Spain

by Robert Bovington
The Sierra de Gádor mountain range is situated in the south-western corner of the province of Almería. It belongs to the Betic system, specifically the Cordillera Penibética. The maximum altitude is 2249 meters – the summit of Launilla Morrón.
Enix © Robert Bovington
To the north is the Sierra Nevada; to the south lies the Mediterranean Sea whilst the Sierras Alhamilla and Contraviesa lie respectively to the east and west.

At the foot of the Sierra de Gádor lies the region of the Poniente Almeriense (Western Almería), traditionally called the Campo de Dalias which, in my opinion, is by far the least attractive part of the diverse region of Almería. Author Gerald Brenan didn’t like it either – “…a depressing sight met my eye. For fifteen miles the road ran in a perfectly straight line across a stony desert…” was part of his description of the Campo de Dalías in his book “South to Granada”. Nowadays the stony desert is replaced by an ocean of plastic, the ubiquitous invernaderos. These greenhouses may have allowed the province of Almería to become Europe’s market garden but they sure look ugly!

Never mind! The Sierra de Gádor is a pleasant, largely unspoilt mountain range that is technically part of that delightful region of the Alpujarras. The following towns are within its boundaries:

Felix, Enix, Gádor, Alhama de Almería, Alicún, Huécija, Íllar, Instinción, Rágol, Fondón, Laujar de Andarax, Alcolea, Berja, Dalías and Vícar

In the past, the Sierra de Gádor was heavily mined, mainly for lead and silver but now water is its biggest treasure. The mines were abandoned in the early nineteenth century. Water, surprisingly, still appears to exist in sufficient quantities. In villages like Berja, Felix and Dalías there are numerous fuentes where water can be obtained – the meagre rainfall and the melted snow from the high sierra is efficiently stored and purified before being released as pure clean water.
Illar © Robert Bovington

Beninar © Robert Bovington

Beninar © Robert Bovington
more blogs by Robert Bovington…
“Photographs of Spain”
“postcards from Spain”
“you couldn’t make it up!”
“a grumpy old man in Spain”
“bits and bobs”
“Spanish Expressions”
“Spanish Art”
“Books About Spain”