Almeria Province - Láujar de Andarax

Local Vegetation
Local Vegetation

Facing the arid Sierra de Gádor in the Sierra Nevada foothills, Láujar de Andarax occupies a hillside position at 920m, backed by rocky peaks and dense pine forest, with stunning views over the fertile river plain (plain) of the Río Andarax.

It´s famous for being the residence of Boabdil, the last Nasrid ruler of the Moorish kingdom of Al-Andalus, who sought refuge in Láujar in 1492 after he was expelled from Granada following the city´s capture by the Catholic Monarchs. He was promised the control of a Moorish Alpujarras, but the Christians feared another Muslim uprising and a year later sent Boabdil to Africa.

Boabdil wasn´t the only Muslim to shelter in Láujar. His departure from Láujar provoked a series of rebellions by Muslims based in the Alpujarras, such as the one led by Aben Humeya, a Muslim convert who was once the Christian Fernando de Válor. He was the leader of the Morisco rebellion in the Alpujarras, also sheltered here years later.

Although the Moorish citadel that once covered over 3km² of Láujar´s territory is now no more than a heap of stones, the village still bears a few traces of the struggle between the Christians and the Muslims. In the vicinity of the village is a dried-up river bed, the Rambla de los Mártires, which refers to the Christians (the mártires or martyrs) who were murdered in Láujar.

Today, Láujar is the largest village in the protected natural park hinterland of the Sierra Nevada National Park that falls in Almeria province. It makes a good base for exploring the area and the mountains of the national park itself, 15km to the north of the village. Just outside Láujar on the C332 road to Alcora is a park visitors´ centre, 950 513 548, with details of walks around the village. The best spot to enjoy the superb views across the Andarax valley and the Sierra de Gádor is from the Mirador de la Vega.

Láujar has a pleasant main square, the Plaza Mayor, presided over by the Ayuntamiento (Village Hall) housed in an elegant 18th-century building. Next to the Ayuntamiento is a fine fountain, the Fuente de los Cuatro Caños, dating from the late 18th century and one of several dotted around the village. Also worth seeing is the 18th-century Iglesia de la Encarnación, built over the site of a mosque, with a Mudéjar tower, ornate Baroque altarpiece and a sculpture attributed to Alonso Cano. Look out for the beautiful Baroque houses lining the cobbled streets. Try some of Láujar´s locally produced wine in one of the village bars or visit the bodega Valle de Láujar.

Just over a kilometre from the village is a beautiful shady picnic spot, El Nacimiento, at the source of the Andarax river. There is a bar, picnic benches and barbecue pits set in a woodland of poplars, willows, ash trees and pines, with some excellent short walks leading off from the river, as well as the Sendero Monterrey signposted footpath up the mountainside to the pine forests and campsite of Monterrey. Alternatively, you can take a road up to the mountains above the village, where there are some magnificent views and walks through the forest.

Láujar has a reasonable choice of hotels, with a three-star Villa Turística, on the edge of the village at the Cortijo de la Villa, 950 513 027, and the two-star Hotel Almirez, on the Berja road, 950 513 514. The village´s campsite is Camping La Molineta, at Paraje del Batán.