HUÉRCAL DE ALMERÍA
by Saskia Mier
Huércal de Almería formed part of the municipal district of Almería until the nineteenth century, but today it is an important industrial centre in the Andarax Valley. It has about 17,418 inhabitants.
During the Islamic period, the municipality of Almería coincided with the older community in the region. Both were limited by the sea and the surrounding rivers.
The Catholic Monarchs accepted this distribution, and by a decree of December 8, 1501, they made Huércal de Almería a suburb of Almería. Located in the passage towards Almería through the Torre Cárdenas, the town was frequented by travellers, thus was born this local legend; many of these travellers claimed to see a woman combing her hair at night at the Peinada spring, which was once widely used for its healing properties.
After the conquest of the Catholic Monarchs, this area lost its population, and following the War of the Alpujarras (1568-1570) it was practically depopulated. The repopulation took place from 1571. After obtaining independence from Almería, at the beginning of the nineteenth century, the population of Huércal fluctuated. Despite this, thanks to immigration and the establishment of local industry, the population eventually increased. It has become one of the municipalities with the highest per capita income in Almería without having intensive agriculture.
THINGS TO SEE
Iglesia de Santa María
The church dates from the beginning of the sixteenth century and was erected as a parish on February 11, 1619. It brings together the fundamental characteristics of Mudejar construction, such as crushed brick, stone arches and wooden roofs. As well as housing the bells, the exterior tower is a key element of the town’s skyline. In 2009, restoration of the monument was carried out with the collaboration of official bodies, entities, companies and contributions from the inhabitants of Huércal. Located in Plaza Constitución.(Location)
This eighteenth-century Baroque palace is located near the river. It has a stone façade and grand doors bearing a shield and royal crown, framed by a stone semicircle. In the nineteenth century, this house-palace passed to the Jover family, made up of influential merchants and politicians from Almería, and later ended up as the property of the Ledesma Hernández family. Today, the building houses the municipal library. Located in Plaza Constitución.(Location)
Ermita de Nuestra Señora del Carmen
This small hermitage has very simple architectural lines, and presents a white façade with a large access door, finished in a semi-circular arch, and crowned by a simple belfry. Loacted on Camino Ermita.(Location)
Ayuntamiento (Cortijo de las Mascaranas)
This building once belonged to Hermann Fischer, son of Hermann Federico Fischer, owner of the Ficsher House or Cortijo del Gobernador in the city of Almería. Since 2010, it has been the headquarters of the Huércal de Almería Town Hall. The main building has three floors connected by a staircase that ends with a square tower. The expressive character of its façade is created by stonework pieces that represent the four elements. Located in Plaza Constitución.(Location)
Centro de Interpretación Etnográfico
The cultural centre is situated on the ground floor of Centro Cultural Cortijo Moreno, with a museography that has been carried out by Rodolfo Caparrós, focusing on three main areas; the first analyses the historical circumstances that produced the urban bourgeoisie in Almería, and its connections with agricultural and export businesses; the second deals with the extension of irrigation during the nineteenth century; and the third serves to analyse the contemporary process of the development of the urban fabric of the capital over the territory. Located on Calle Molineta.(Location)
Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, 11:00-13:00hrs
Tuesday and Thursday, 11:00-13:00hrs and 18:00-20:00hrs
Tel: 950 60 09 51 and 630 19 70 66
Email: [email protected]
Paraje Merendero Los Pinos
The Los Pinos picnic area is equipped with ready-built barbecues and stone chairs and tables in strategic areas for families and friends to get together, along with a paved area for football and basketball. The park also has a pond where various species such as ducks, geese and swans live. Located on Calle Arcilla.(Location)
THINGS TO SEE OUTSIDE THE VILLAGE
Torre de Cardenas
This is an important military structure bordering the outskirts of the city. It is a type of coastal tower building, cylindrical in shape, which was built in the sixteenth century. At present, it is in a good state of conservation, after a restoration carried out in recent years. Located on the N-340a.(Location)
The craftsmanship of Huércal consists almost exclusively of basket making and the production of lace made from bobbins by the women’s association.
Dishes to try in Huércal de Almería include migas cortijeras (fried breadcrumbs served with pork), sopa de marisco (seafood soup), pipirrana (tomato, pepper, onion and cucumber salsa), choto al ajillo (lamb cooked in garlic) and conejo al ajillo (rabbit cooked in garlic). Sweet treats include borrachillos (liqueur sponges), papaviejos (doughnuts), leche frita (fried custard), soplillos (meringues), hornazos (honey pastries) and pan de higo (fig bread).
Popular festivals in Huércal de Almería are Fiesta de San José Obrero, Fiesta del Carmen, Noche de San Juan and Noche de los Ramos. More>