Almeria City - Almeria Port Interpretation Centre

Centro de Interpretacion Puerta de Almeria - Almeria Port Interpretation Centre

This centre in Almeria portholds two important archaeological remains: a salted fish factory, the only Roman remains preserved in the city; and one of the gates from the Islamic wall which enclosed the city.

In 1984, ata building site between Calle de la Reina and the ParqueNicolásSalmerón, diggers uncovered structures and ceramic material dating from medieval and even older times: six Roman poolsfrom a fishsalting factory (similar to Antiquarium in Seville),dating from the 1st to 4th C AD;and part of the Islamic wall of the Caliphate with one of its gates, from the 10th century.

The original building project was modified to preserve and include the remains. At first these were going to be displayed outdoors, but then the Interpretation Centre was built, opening in 2006.

You can see a film about the archaeological project, which explains how important fish salting was to the local economy, even though Almeria wasn't an important port in Roman times. The famous, highly-prized garum, a strong-tasting fish paste made from guts (also produced in Baelo Claudia, Cadiz), was another product of the factory. Fish was left to cure in salt for 20 days.

In terms of the Islamic remains, Almeriawas first established as Almariyya-Bayyana,the port of Bayyana (link to Puerta Purchena), modern-day Pechina, which traded in agricultural produce, silk and slaves.

After an attack in 955AD, defensive walls were built around the city by the caliph Abn Al-Rahmann III, who also built theAlcazaba.At this point, Almeria was one of the most important port cities in Al-Andalus. These walls were destroyed by Alfonso VII when he captured Almeria, helped by Genoese and Pisan allies.

The section of wall here is from the southern side, facing the sea, and dates from the mid-10th century. It was flanked by square towers and measured 6m tall; possibly the gate of the atarazanas, or shipyards, due to its proximity to the Mediterranean.

Most of the city wall was destroyed in the 19th century, when many cities in Andalucia, such as Seville, went through similar modernizing changes which saw their fortified defensive walls knocked down.

Calle Parque Nicolas Salmeron 27 (cornerwith Calle Reyes).

Opening hours: Thursday and Saturday 10.00-14.00, with a guided tour on Saturday at 12.00.