Bayarque is an ideal destination for nature lovers or those seeking peace and quiet. The countryside surrounding this Almerian town is especially beautiful and features large vegetable gardens in the meadows, dense woodland and the ‘Pinar de Bayarque’ pine grove. The town has around 200 inhabitants.
Before the Moorish revolts of 1568, Bayarque’s economic activity was based on silk, agricultural wet and dry farming, olive groves and vineyards. With the expulsion of the Moors, Christians repopulated the town in 1572, bringing new customs such as Cuadrillas de Ánimas; these were representations of self-sacrifices, which were preserved over time.
In the mid-nineteenth century, the mining of iron, copper and mercury created great splendor in the town. In 1868, Bayarque and Armuña de Almanzora lost their independence and were annexed to Tíjola, a practice that affected many towns during the nineteenth century. This union has been the cause of controversies and secular confrontations.
In the 1940s and 60s, the town had another small mining boom in mercury and iron, but low profitability quickly limited this exploitation. In the 70s, Bayarque suffered a strong wave of emigration, like many other towns in the region.
THINGS TO SEE
Iglesia Parroquial de la Virgen del Rosario
The church was built in the sixteenth century. Although it has been repaired several times, it has not lost its original charm, mainly owing to its beautiful location on Calle Real.
THINGS TO SEE OUTSIDE THE VILLAGE
Cueva de la Paloma
The Cave of the Pigeon is a cavernous opening at the foot of an abrupt peak, with a reddish brown esplanade formed by the accumulation of mineral debris. The legend of the treasure of the Cave of the Pigeon is shared by the neighbours of Tíjola and Bayarque; locals say that when the attack of the artillery of Don Juan of Austria took place, the Moors fled at night, carrying with them some food and their most valuable belongings, but they did not manage to take everything and hid most of their wealth in the caves in the area. It is assumed that much of this lavish treasure could still be hidden in the depths of the cave and the surrounding area. It can be found off the AL-3102.
There is a panoramic viewpoint offering wonderful views of the landscape, located off the AL-3102.
Minas de Mercurio
The mercury mine was one of the great riches of Bayarque. It was opened in the 1940s with 50 employees. A lot of rubble had to be removed in order to access the ore, which was transported in wagons to furnaces; here, it was melted at high temperatures to reach its liquid state, then moved by tubes from the oven to iron containers in which it was packaged. The mercury was transported via donkeys and oxen to Tíjola, where it would be taken by train to reach various locations to be purchased.
El Pinar de Bayarque is a striking natural space composed of native pines, in the heart of the Sierra de los Filabres. Its rich flora and fauna, including partridges, hoopoes, wild boars and mountain goats, can be observed by nature lovers along its many trails.
El Layón is another natural green area of the Sierra de los Filabres with native pines. It attracts particularly diverse fauna due to the water source that runs all year round, even in the middle of the summer. It also has a camping area.
Sendero Sierro PR-A 302
This route passes through an ancient horseshoe path.
The most typical gastronomic dishes of Bayarque are the sopa de ajo (garlic soup), potaje blanco (chickpea stew), olla de trigo (wheat stew) and arroz con conejo (rabbit rice). Sweet treats include buñuelos (profiteroles), tortos de calabaza (pumpkin cakes), papaviejos (dumplings), suspiros de navidad (Christmas dumplings), pan de higo (fig bread), roscos de vino (aniseed biscuits), roscos de naranjas (orange biscuits) and pan de aceite (olive oil bread).
The handicrafts found in the town are mainly based around straw, wood and ceramics. These are made by amateur craftsmen and are never for commercial sale.
Popular festivals in Bayarque are the Día de San Blas, Día de San Marcos, San Antonio de Padua and the Fiestas de Nuestra Señora del Rosario. More>