It's not well known that John Lennon wrote Strawberry Fields Forever in Almeria. He lived in the city in autumn 1966, filming the part of Private Gripweed in Richard Lester's black comedy How I Won the War in the nearby desert at Tabernas. Lennon first stayed in an apartment near El Zapillo, one of the city`s beaches, then he moved to the more spacious 19th-century mansion, Santa Isabel, on Camino de Romero (known locally as Cortijo Romero), with his then-wife Cynthia.
Cynthia Lennon revisited the city in 2006, and the house, where David Lean and Sam Spiegel (director and producer of Lawrence of Arabia) and other movie moguls also stayed. In Cynthia Lennon's autobiography, A Twist of Lennon, she described the house as being haunted. Sadly Cynthia died in 2015.
"It'll take days just to explore this place," John said as they moved in. Ringo wrote in his autobiography: "You expect all kinds of heroes with swords to come swinging round the corner on a chandelier! What a great place for parties. I was convinced beyond all doubt the villa housed many beautiful spirits."
Adolfo Iglesias, local journalist and Beatles fan, who works for the newspaper La Voz de Almeria, became interested in the villa after reading an old interview in which Lennon mentioned the lovely villa called ‘Santa Isabel' where he had stayed in Almeria. Eventually he found the villa, derelict and with a different name, Cortijo Romero.
With help from the city council, the house has been refurbished, and is now a Cinema Museum called 'Casa del Cine', with displays on the area's golden age of film-making - the 1960s and 70s - and an area dedicated to the Beatle.
Casa del Cine is a villa that houses The Museum of Cinema. Part of the house is a recreation of when Lennon was there; other actors who stayed at the house include Clint Eastwood and Brigitte Bardot.
- Fact 1 - In the 1880s, two Belgian engineers discovered the largest Copper Age settlement in Europe, just outside Almeria
- Fact 2 - Almeria is rich in minerals, which brought new wealth and revived the city´s fortunes in the 19th and early 20th centuries
- Fact 3 - John Lennon sojourned in Almeria - and wrote one of his most heartfelt, personal songs here
- Fact 4 - In Arab times, Almeria was the richest and most important port in Andalucia
- Fact 5 - La Chanca is the Sacromonte of Almeria, but without the cheesy flamenco tablaos