by Saskia Mier
Gádor is a whitewashed village situated on the slopes of the Sierra de Gádor, its unique scenery of orange and lemon orchards creating an oasis in the middle of the desert. It has about 3,000 inhabitants.
The village is said to be of Arab origin, although its name dates back to the Phoenician-Iberian culture. The town of Los Millares houses a megalithic complex from the third millennium BC, and the agaric tombs and ruins in the Ramblas de Huéchar and Ciscarejo are further local vestiges of the Neolithic culture. Remains from the Roman and Byzantine times have also been found.
During the Al-Andalus period, the town had a mosque and an Aljama (similar to a Town Hall, governing communities of Moors and Jews living under Christian rule in the Iberian Peninsula). An irrigation system was also established, which integrated the use of water for agriculture and milling and in the sixteenth century, also used for blacksmiths.
Gádor was practically depopulated following the Moorish uprising during the Christian conquest. Its repopulation with old Christians took place in the years after the expulsion of 1570. During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the new population was consolidated in a new ravine, on which the town is currently settled. In the nineteenth century, the traditional agrarian economy of garden products, oil and silk was overridden by the monoculture of the Ohanes grape. Once production of the grape declined, it was replaced by that of oranges. Major mining developments of the twentieth century also transformed Gádor, particularly for sulfur exploitation. This mining activity has now been replaced by obtaining cement in the Jalvo area.
THINGS TO SEE
Iglesia de la Virgen del Rosario
The church is the result of a long construction process that began in 1673 and ended in 1763. It started as a Baroque building and ended up as one of the greatest exponents of Almeria’s Neoclassicism. It is therefore an atypical building, in which the problems and conflicts that the church experienced with the Chamber of Castile, the economic cuts, the changes of ideas, architectural language and aesthetic postulates are evident. It has a rectangular plan organized with three naves of three sections, a transept and a chancel with a polygonal head. Declared a Site of Cultural Interest in 2003. Located on Calle Iglesia.(Location)
THINGS TO SEE OUTSIDE THE VILLAGE
Castillo El Castillejo
Also known as Castillo de Ciscarejo, the castle is now an important archaeological site evidencing different phases of the town’s historical occupation. It is important to know the organization of the Andarax Valley and more so considering its proximity to the chalcolithic deposit of Los Millares. There is evidence, although scarce, of a later occupation in late Antiquity, and it was again occupied and fortified during the Middle Ages, with part of its defense system still visible. Located north of Gádor, off the AL-3411.(Location)
This archaeological site features one of the largest and most interesting funerary complexes in the southeast of the peninsula. Different types of burials are represented, with the majority being megalithic, characterized by having a central chamber with a polygonal plan, built with large stones arranged vertically, and a flat roof made from large stone slabs. Some have an access corridor that connects the chamber with the outside. The burials were used as landmarks to demarcate the territory for the Chalcolithic communities and occupied strategic places around the natural communication routes. Located north of Gádor, off the AL-3411.(Location)
Caz y Cubo del Molino de Araoz
This is the largest canal and deposit in the province of Almeria. It is 13m high from the floor of the mill and 9.5m from its base on the mountain to the top. The supporting wall of the canal is 95cm thick, and its height decreases as it approaches the water’s entrance. In the upper part of the wall there are 11 arches. The water entered the deposit from a gallery in the mountain, and was then diverted through a ditch that ran down the slope.(Location)
When visiting Gádor, some traditional dishes worth trying are migas (fried garlic breadcrumbs) empanadas (tuna pasties), pipirrana (tomato salad), pan de higo (fig bread) and conejo al ajillo (rabbit with garlic). Those with a sweet tooth should try the borrachillos (liqueur soaked buns), papaviejos (doughnuts), leche frita (fried custard), soplillos (meringues) and Easter pie.
Popular festivals in Gádor are Festival de la Virgen del Rosario, Día de San Antonio and Festival de Santa Cruz. More>