El Ejido is one of the most popular tourist destinations along the Almerian coast for beaches and sunshine, with an interesting artistic and cultural heritage for visitors to enjoy. The area also offers a rich natural setting in the Reserve of Punta Entinas-Sabinar, a complex of dunes, beaches and lagoons which is home to various, mainly aquatic, birds. One of the best ways to admire and take in the beauty here is to go hiking via the two signalled paths. The town itself has around 84, 700 inhabitants.
Remains from the Copper Age have been found on the archaeological site of Ciavieja, and it was here that the Romans founded the city of Murgi, which is considered the origin of the current town. There was an uninterrupted prehistoric sequence of populations here between the Copper Age (associated with the Millares Culture) and the Bronze Age (Argaric Culture). It later supported a community of Punic merchants until it was conquered by the Romans.
From the fourth century, the population of the centre of the town began to disperse, and around the seventh century, Murgi was abandoned until its urban nucleus disappeared. During the Medieval era, it was a livestock area, hence the proliferation of reservoirs that can still be seen in the landscape, some of which are almost monumental. After the Alpujarras War, the surrounding lands were practically depopulated.
In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, cereal cultivation in the area was expanded, traps were constructed to develop the fishing activity along the coast, and salt was obtained from the salt flats. In the mid-twentieth century, intensive and irrigated agriculture began to be developed in the area.
THINGS TO SEE
The Roman mausoleum is considered one of the best examples of Roman funerary architecture in the province, as well as a testimony to the socio-religious practices of classical culture. The building would have belonged to the necropolis of the ancient Roman city of Murgi, and was probably built between the third and fourth centuries. It is located on Calle Carretera Pampanico.
The Local History Museum was the initiative of the City Council, and was founded in 1996 with the main objective of communicating the history of the municipality from its first known occupation until the end of the Roman period. It consists of explanatory panels detailing a basic approach to archaeology as a science and the conservation of the remains. There is also a permanent exhibition about the history of the town until the end of the Old World. The museum is on Calle Bayarcal.
THINGS TO SEE OUTSIDE THE VILLAGE
Castillo de Guardias Viejas
The castle is a remarkable example of the military architecture of the eighteenth century. It was constructed to defend the coast from attacking pirates. The central courtyard offers access into the interior rooms, all covered by half-barrel vaults on masonry walls of angled ashlars. The fortress is accessed via a drawbridge over an open pit in front of the main gate. Today, the Castle can be visited after having been rehabilitated by the Town Hall. It houses a permanent exhibition of military uniforms and weapons from the time of its use, as well as models of coastal fortifications, and is located on Calle del Muro, Guardias Viejas.
15th June - 31st August
Tuesday - Friday, 10:00-21:00hrs
Weekends and Holidays, 10:00-21:00hrs
Price: Free Entrance
Tel: 950 54 10 06
Torre Fortificada de Balerma
This eighteenth-century tower was part of a complex system commissioned by Carlos III for the defence of the coast of the Kingdom of Granada. In 1803, a masonry staircase and drawbridge were added for access. There is evidence that in 1849, its architecture was so deteriorated that guards inhabited nearby huts instead. The ground floor housed the equipment which served the tower’s function of protecting the coastal area between the Torre Cerrillos al Este to the East and the Castillo de Guardias Viejas to the West. Located on Calle de Mero, Balerma.
Yacimiento Arqueológico de Ciavieja
The archaeological site of Ciavieja measures more than 5000m² and is formed of strata of housing materials more than five thousand years old. The Roman mosaic that is currently exhibited in the Museum of Local History (Didactic Room) was discovered on this site, which is now classified as a Site of Cultural Interest and can be found east of El Ejido.
Taking all areas of El Ejido into account, the most attractive for tourists is Almerimar, where you will find the best accommodation, restaurants, bars and nightclubs, as well as the port, golf courses and most well-equipped beaches of San Miguel Poniente and San Miguel Levante.
Those who prefer to take advantage of more solitary and quiet beaches should visit the Playa de Cerrillos, located inside the Nature Reserve of Punta Entinas-Sabinar, and in order to get a picture-postcard of the Castillo de Guardas Viejas, the best place to do so from is the Playa de Peña del Moro.
Although the village is better known for its agricultural activities, the American-style 27-hole Almerimar Golf Course is well worth a visit for enthusiasts.
Those who are searching for handicrafts in El Ejido will not find much, although there is some straw work to be seen. Ceramic works are also celebrated and promoted throughout the town.
Gastronomically, El Ejido provides a wide variety of both national and international delicacies. However, if you want to try the most traditional and customary dishes, you should have the migas (fried bread), fritadas (fried pork, beef or venison), caracoles (snails), cream de calabacin (cream of courgettes) and other recipes made with delicious, locally grown vegetables. Among the desserts are gachas with milk and chocolate, pan de higo (fig bread) and leche frita (fried custard).
La Costa, El Ejido – One Michelin Star
Dating from the 1960s, this restaurant specializes in fabulous fresh fish caught locally and vegetables grown in the surrounding area. Chef Jose Alvarez cooks up such delights as millefeuille of El Ejido courgette, liver, boletus and mi-cui, and carpaccio of red prawns from Almeria with olives and extra virgin oil.
Calle Bulevar de El Ejido, 48, El Ejido
Tel: 950 48 17 77
Those who wish to experience the most important traditional festivities and celebrations of this town should attend the Fiestas de San Marcos, the Feria and Fiestas in honour of San Isidro and the Theatre Festival. More>