Albox is set amidst a stunning landscape of arid hills with olive groves, citrus fruit orchards and almond trees, and dramatic hills and valleys. Situated in the basin of the Almanzora River, Albox is bisected by one of the Almanzora’s tributaries, a mostly dry riverbed known as the Rambla, which is crossed by three bridges. The town has around 12,500 inhabitants.
Albox owes its foundation and population to the Arabs (the town’s name means “the tower” in Arabic), with a history linked to the medieval splendor of the Kingdom of Granada from the thirteenth century. In the throes of the Christian Re-conquest of the fifteenth century, Albox was snatched from the Arabs by the troops of the Adelantado Mayor of the Kingdom of Murcia (Crown of Castile), Alonso Yáñez Fajardo, and later incorporated into his Marquesado de los Vélez. More>
THINGS TO SEE
Iglesia Parroquial de la Concepción
The church was built in the eighteenth century, with various interior chapels. Its highlights include some paintings by the artist Andrés Ibáñez, as well as the image of the patron San Francisco. One of the town’s Christmas traditions that is still honoured today is the ‘mass of joy’, a festive day of celebrations that starts at 7 o’clock in the morning and is accompanied by Christmas carols, tambourine music, cowbells and guitars. The church is located in Plaza de San Francisco.
Iglesia Parroquial de Santa María
The interior of this church, built in the sixteenth century after the Re-conquest, includes the remains of an altarpiece made by Alonso Cano, a renowned Spanish painter, architect and sculptor. The church is in Plaza Mayor.
Iglesia Parroquial y Votiva de Nuestra Señora del Carmen del Llano de los Olleres
During the terrible cholera of 1864, the residents of the Llano de los Olleres neighborhood vowed to the Blessed Virgin of Carmen that they would build a sanctuary if the epidemic ceased. When the illness began to clear, farmers worked hard to construct this religious building, and it was blessed in 1870. Here, the Catholic Action in Almería was founded by Blessed Don Antonio Lorca Muñoz, Coadjutor of Santa María de Albox. The temple was desecrated during the Religious Persecution, and rebuilt by locals in 1939. Due to its deteriorated state, it is currently undergoing restoration.
Ermita de la Santa Cruz
This chapel was built during the mid-eighteenth century as a symbol of the Christian presence that had re-conquered the territories occupied by the Mohammedans, and can be found on Calle Arrabal de Santa Bárbara.
Ermita de San Antonio
This chapel was constructed on the supposed site of an ancient Arab mosque, and still holds some of its symbolic paintings. It is located on Calle Carril.
In the main square of the Plaza Mayor there is a large fountain on an elevated platform; this vantage point provides a 360-degree view of the attractive Town Hall, church, houses with interesting wrought iron balconies, and cafés. It also overlooks the river bed and surrounding landscapes.
Monumento al Arriero
This monument is the work of the sculptor María Isabel García Oller. Measuring 5m by 2m, it is made of white marble from Macael, and represents the commercial and artisan past of Albox. Its main figure is one of the Arrerios, muleteers who transported goods from town to town. The sculpture can be seen on Plaza Nueva.
Museo de Ceramica
Antonio Alfonso Fernández and his brother Juan are potters who create traditional Almerian pottery in their workshop, “Los Puntas” , using arcilla, clay fired in traditional Arab-style ovens which date back 300 years. A museum of their work is located on Calle San Leonardo.
THINGS TO SEE OUTSIDE THE VILLAGE
Santuario de Nuestra Señora del Saliente
The Sanctuary is one of the most important religious buildings in Almeria province, commemorating a supernatural appearance of the Virgin Mary in the twelfth century. Constructed in 1716 by local priests Don Lázaro de Martos and Don Roque, it was later extended by Bishop Sanz y Torres, who added a shrine, episcopal palace, guesthouse and convent. Housed at the Sanctuary is the relic of Nuestra Señora del Saliente, a small Baroque carving, possibly by the La Roldana (Luisa Roldana) School. It is considered the best example of the Baroque style in Almeria. In 1988, the sacred image was crowned by the Apostolic Nuncio on behalf of Pope John Paul II. The Sanctuary is located 23km north of Albox on the AL-7100 mountain road towards Chirvel at km 20.
Torre Aljambra and Torre Terdiguera
This Moorish watchtower is located on a hill a few kilometers to the east of Albox, overlooking the town. Also known as Torre Vigia Arabe, it dates back to the thirteenth century, at the beginning of the Nasrid Kingdom. It has a square base tower, with three of the four walls still standing. The Torre Terdiguera is another ruined Moorish tower, located 10km north of the town.
Via Verde de Almanzor
The Almanzora railway path is 12km long and runs along what used to be the Guadix-Almedricos railway line, between El Chardero de los Canos, where the train collected minerals from Cable de Cabarga San Miguel, and across the metal bridge over the Ramil ravine. This route can be enjoyed on foot or by bike, and is also accessible for wheelchairs.
Apart from Los Puntas pottery (see above), glassware is another arts and crafts activity popular in Albox. Carpet and rug making, in which classes are offered to young people, are also traditional.
The local dishes are migas (fried breadcrumbs with a mix of vegetables and meat), choto a lo pastoral (goat stew), puchero (stew), trigo guisado (wheat stew), fritada de sangre (black pudding), gurullos (rabbit or partridge dumplings), remojón (cod and orange salad with olives and egg) and albondigas (meatballs). Among the desserts and sweets on offer, roscos de aguardiente (liquor biscuits), roscos de naranja (orange biscuits), cuajao de almendras (almond cake) and suspiros (dumplings) are the most typical.
Popular festivals in Albox include the pilgrimage of Romería de la Virgen de Saliente, Holy Week, Fiesta de la Loma and the Festivals of Rock. More>