by Saskia Mier
Abla offers its visitors interesting tours around the town and the chance to purchase some traditional crafts, such as rugs and esparto grass products. It has about 1,250 inhabitants.
The town’s name is thought to come from Abula, dating to the Roman times. Madoz called it a white town because of Alba’s metathesis and Ptolemy cites it as an important Bastetani nucleus.
Like the whole surrounding area, Abla was involved in the Moorish conflicts of the second half of the sixteenth century and suffered a major depopulation due to the expulsion of the Moors during the Moorish Rebellions.
Until the nineteenth century, this enclave was still dominated by a castle and the ruins of towers and aqueducts were preserved. These were clear indications of the origins of the town as a defensive point controlling the roads and water access. The town of Abla did not achieve independence from Abrucena until the beginning of the nineteenth century.
THINGS TO SEE
Iglesia de la Anunciación
The original church was built by the master Francisco Lorenço, whose works concluded in this first stage around 1559. That same year, the area of worship was reduced to a rectangular nave with a main chapel separated by a central arch and the body. In 1568, during the Moorish rebellion, it was desecrated by the Moorish rebels, who destroyed altars, altarpieces and the parish archive. In the seventeenth century, new works took place and the temple was extended to include side chapels paid for by notable local families. In the nineteenth century, these chapels lost some of their unique character, and with the new remodeling of the temple by drilling the walls that separated them, they were connected to each other, offering a new pseudo-image of a church with three naves. The current main façade was added later in the eighteenth century. The church is also known as Iglesia Parroquial de la Anunciación or Iglesia Parroquial de Abla. Located on Calle Real Alta.
The typology of these archaeological remains indicates that they are undoubtedly those of a second-century Roman funerary tower, erected to bury an important figure. Taking into account its architecture, the Roman Mausoleum has a square plan measuring 4.80x4.80m, seated on a rectangular platform that serves as its base with an approximate height of 6.60m. Its roof is formed by an edge vault, which gives an idea of the advanced architecture in this Roman municipality. The roof would presumably have been topped by a stone pyramid. The most remarkable thing is its interior, where the funerary crypt is located, which is formed by a rectangular grave measuring 80cm deep covered by a barrel vault, formed by courses of stone on which the floor of the building once extended. In this way, the mausoleum consisted of two independent and isolated parts: the Funerary Crypt or lower part that housed the body of the deceased and the Ritual Chamber or upper floor for worship, which was accessed by staff through a stairway to perform the rituals. Its lighting and ventilation were ensured by two open oculi on the east and west walls that still exist today. Located on Carretera Almeria.
Ermita de las Maravillas
The seventeenth-century chapel has a box floor plan with a gabled roof, now concreted. The interior has a half-barrel vault with transverse arches and lunettes. Next to its main façade, there is a stone cross called the San Juan cross, dating from the sixteenth century, which sits on the arch of the drinking water cross pipe, which empties into a pillar. It is one of the few hermitages in the area which preserves its primitive architecture and a curious adjoining cave. Located in Plaza Cruz de San Juan.
Ermita de San Antón
This chapel was documented in the seventeenth century, although the small iron cross of the same name is mentioned in documents dating as far back as the sixteenth century. Its exterior image offers a rectangular-shaped main façade, topped with a belfry that supports a small bell, which constitutes a plane formally independent of the roof. Apart from its architectural design, the importance of the building lies in its being the cradle of ancient popular traditions integrated into the folklore of Abla. Located in Plaza San Antón.
Ermita de San Roque
This chapel is built on the site of a former hermitage which was destroyed in 1998 due to some urban expansion works carried out on the street. Located on Calle Carrichete.
THINGS TO SEE OUTSIDE THE VILLAGE
El Molino de las Juntas
Since 2003, the mill has been declared a site of Andalusian Historical Heritage. Situated in the hydraulic complex of the Fuentes del Margen, and next to the Abrucena River, this hydraulic flour mill preserves only the aqueduct, which has a structure supported by seven semicircular arches, built with slate, that stretches more than 5m and reaches 5m in height in its highest part. In turn, the cube is a pyramidal external structure and a circular well 7m deep. Located south east of the town.
The 11.3Km route allows walkers to experience various landscapes around Abla. Its main attraction is the views of the north face of the Sierra Nevada.
When visting Abla, try local dishes such as gachas (oatmeal), pipirrana (cod stew), arroz con conejo (rice with rabbit), pimentón con pescado (pepper and fish stew), guisado de trigo con hinojos (wheat and fennel stew), guisadillo de habillas (bean stew), meneos de perdiz (partridge) and pan dormío (aniseed bread). Sweet treats include borrachillos (liqueur buns), pestiños (honey soaked pastries), torta de yogur (yogurt cake) and roscos de vino (aniseed biscuits).
Popular festivals in Abla are Semana Santa, Fiestas Patronales, San Isidro, San Juan and Fiestas de Verano. More>
The tourist office in Abla is located in calle Basillas. More>