Almeria Province - Albánchez

ALBÁNCHEZ

Albánchez is known for its vast production of citrus fruits and pears. The main economic activity of the town, however, comes from the marble taken from the local quarries. It has around 750 inhabitants.

HISTORY

Albánchez was one of several towns conquered during an expedition made by the troops of Murcia in 1436. After the conquest of the Kingdom of Granada by the Catholic Monarchs, the town of Albánchez, along with Benitagla, Albox and Arboleas, was granted to Pedro Manrique de Lara Duke de Nájera. Three years later, the Duke sold them to Don Juan Chacón and, after his death in 1503, they passed to his second wife, Mrs. Inés Manrique. Finally, the four villas and Oria were bought by Don Pedro Fajardo, the first Marquis of the Vélez, and remained under his jurisdiction.

The Book of Apeo and Population says that, in the sixteenth century, the town was formed of 50 families and its main activity was agriculture. After the expulsion of the Moors in 1570, it was repopulated in 1572. From an ecclesiastical perspective, Albánchez remained an annex of Oria until December 1603.

THINGS TO SEE

Iglesia Parroquial
The church replaced the original parish that was destroyed by the Moors during the Rebellion. Its construction began in 1638 and was completed in 1642. The current dimensions were achieved during the expansion works carried out in the first decades of the eighteenth century, concluded in 1720. Subsequently, in 1732, the sacristy was attached. It is considered one of the most important Baroque complexes built in the Bishopric of Almeria during this period. The main altar, of Doric order, is presided over by a large oil canvas of the Virgen de la Encarnación, dated 1804. Under the altar, there are three marble tombstones dated 1729 and 1730. The exterior has been transformed after a reconstruction in the twentieth century, during which the original Baroque facing was completely removed. The bell tower is crowned by a weather vane, which is supported by the walls of the clock. The church is located on Avenida de Andalucía.

Cruz del Calvario
This cross is a sign of the new settlers of the sixteenth century. Measuring 2m high and made of white Macael marble, it was completed in 1693 by Martín Sáez, Baltasar Cortés, Antonio Rodríguez Bervel and Felipe García. Subsequently, a wooden cross was added to each side of the monument, which has become a procession stop during Holy Week. It can be found in the upper part of the town, at the old exit leading to Almeria.

Ermita de San Roque
The chapel was probably built in the fifteenth century, although it has undergone numerous restorations. The exterior is simple, with the door opening beneath a semicircular arch, crowned with a luneto, and the interior features little decoration on its white walls. The church is located in the lower part of the town; since the early town would have been concentrated around the building, this topography justifies the legend that Albánchez remained unaffected by an epidemic of plague throughout the region.

Fuente Los Caños
Since the beginning of the eighteenth century, when the primitive fountain was built, the residents of Albánchez have used its waters to supply their houses, water their animals and wash clothes. Stripped by several floods, it was restored in 1880. In 1950, the current laundry area was built, which was restored at the end of the twentieth century. The site is located on Carretera Cuesta de los Caños.

THINGS TO SEE OUTSIDE THE VILLAGE

Castillo
The construction of the castle was commissioned by Al-Saliyá in the eleventh century. The structure consists of several enclosures and served as a lookout for the valley. It has since deteriorated substantially, leaving only some remains, which can be found east of Albánchez.

Acueducto Romano
The Roman aqueduct in Albánchez is known as the Arches of La Rambla del Pozo, and is an exceptional hydraulic construction. The first written record of the aqueduct dates from the seventeenth century and refers to its use for irrigation, a purpose it continued to serve until the early twentieth century. It consists of five arches located 20m from the Rambla River. The aqueduct has been preserved almost in its entirety, and is located a few kilometers from Albánchez, off the AL-6104.

GASTRONOMY

The town offers a variety of delicious local dishes including gazpacho (cold tomato soup), arroz con conejo (rice with rabbit), cocido de morcilla (black pudding stew), conejo al ajillo (rabbit cooked in garlic), tortilla de ajos (garlic tortilla), patatas bocabajo (special potatoes), patatas con ajo (potatoes with garlic) and carne en salsa (stew).

FESTIVALS

Popular festivals celebrated in Albánchez include San Antón, San Roque, Moros y Cristianos and San Roque Chico. More>

NEARBY PLACES

The neighbouring villages to Albánchez are Cantoria, Líjar and Cóbdar.

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