Líjar is stepped in history, from its old town, which is completely untouched by modern architecture, to the ancient petroglyphs that have been discovered in the area, including the Stone of Herradura. The town is made up of many small urbanizations, such as the residential area of Huertecita Alta, which collectively house around 390 inhabitants.
A number of prehistoric petroglyphs have been discovered throughout the municipal area, among which the Piedra de la Herradura (“Stone of the Horseshoe”) is a highlight. Although it is difficult to trace the subsequent occupation of the area by the Phoenicians, Carthaginians and Romans, it is known that they settled in this region in search of minerals. During the Al-Andalus period, this mining activity disappeared in favour of agriculture. From this point, Almeria also developed an important linen and silk industry. Madoz says that in the middle of the twentieth century, Líjar had 25 looms for the manufacture of linen and hemp fabrics.
King Alfonso XII made a visit to France in 1883, where he was booed and insulted by French citizens. After this, Líjar decided to declare war on France on October 14, 1883, a hundred years later the Peace Treaty was signed between the authorities of Líjar and the representatives of France.
Today, agricultural activity in the town is only for self-consumption, however, the exploitation of the marble quarries remains a key economic engine of the region; Líjar now has twelve marble farms.
THINGS TO SEE
Atalaya de Líjar
Atalaya de Líjar is the main tower of the town. It is a quadrangular structure made from locally sourced yellow slate. It is 7m high and has a total surface area of 36m². To the west vertex of the Atalaya is a cylindrical tower of 11m, which stands out over the rest of the fortress. Located on Calle de la Tercia.
Barrio del Castillo
This neighbourhood has a very old Arabic heritage, which determines its architectural style; it is full of narrow streets, alleys and revolts, lined with single-story whitewashed houses and corrals. The quarter is best accessed via Calle de Las Moreras.
The Castle is a twenty-first century construction, built in order to boost activity in the municipality and encourage rural tourism. There is no reliable record of the existence of a previous Castle on this site, but details such as the street name, Calle del Castillo (Castle Street), heavily imply that such a structure would have presided nearby. Featuring a tourist office and exhibition hall inside it, the rural tourism it encourages is a booming sector in Almeria, which generates employment for the most disadvantaged groups. Located on Calle La Torrecilla.
Iglesia de Santa María
The church was built between 1530 and 1550. Its primitive construction was formed of three equal ships, with two arc yarns and sidewalls of stone and lime. A flood at the end of the nineteenth century forced its reconstruction. It was rebuilt with a wooden roof and two towers, including a bell tower, and the San Blas chapel. Located in Plaza de la Paz.
THINGS TO SEE OUTSIDE THE TOWN
Ermita de la Virgen de Fátima
Don José Martínez García came to the town of Líjar as a teacher, taking office in the Huertecicas district in 1955, thanks to a campaign for literacy that took place across several municipalities. During that year, Don José motivated the residents of the Huertecicas to make a collection and buy the icon of the Virgin of Fatima. The chapel was then constructed to house the figure. Located off the AL-5100.
Sendero del Poyo PR-A 257
This route begins at the bridge over the Tahalí River, at the exit of the town. It is a circular route, measuring 11.7km in total.
The stand-out dishes in Líjar are migas de harina y pan (fried breadcrumbs, often served with vegetables or pork), arroz de conejo (rice with rabbit), puchero (white bean or chickpea stew), fritada de calabaza (fried pumpkin), revoltillo de tomate (tomato and egg omelette), potaje de albóndigas (meatball stew), arroz con habichuelas y bacalao (rice with beans and cod) and arroz con patatas y pimientos (rice with potatoes and peppers). Sweet treats include roscos fritos (fried aniseed doughnuts coated in sugar), bizcocho de la abuela (olive oil sponge cake), talbina (bread pudding), pan de higo (fig bread), boladillos de calabaza (pumpkin puddings) and arroz con leche (rice pudding).
Popular festivals in Líjar are the Fiestas de San Antón, Día de Andalucía, Romería de la Virgen de Fátima and Fiestas Patronales de San Blas. More>