Oria is home to numerous archaeological remains, the vestiges of its turbulent past, which accompany a varied landscape of green areas and rock forms at the edge of the Sierra de las Estancias. From here, there are unrivalled, spectacular views of the province of Almería. The town has around 2,250 inhabitants.
Archaeological remains have been found in the well-known area of El Picacho. From the time of Al-Andalus, there were various mosques between Oria and Cerro Real. These mosques were centres of devotion at the time. The historian José Ángel Tapia writes “the hills of Oria were sacred places since the Neolithic period and in them sanctuaries belonging to the Iberians, Romans, Visigoths, Christians and Mozarabic in the high Middle Ages”.
The Moorish rebellion in the Alpujarras (1568-1570) dominated the Almanzora Basin. The Maleh formed a party of 150 men who, under the command of Sebastián Elquagaci, had the order to revolt nearby towns. In Albox, this game plan would have particular significance, causing the deaths of 40 Christians and the imprisonment of 13 women. Sebastián Elquagaci was arrested and taken to Cuenca to be judged by the Inquisition. He was condemned with the confiscation of his property and six years in the galleys, and he had to wear a sign around his neck, stating his crime. With the termination of the battle by Don Juan de Austria in 1570, the remaining Moors were expelled from the Kingdom of Granada and Oria was repopulated with Christian families.
THINGS TO SEE
Basílica de Nuestra Señora de las Mercedes
The Basilica is similar in style to the Velezian temple, although smaller in size and with simpler decoration. It is a late example of Baroque style, completed in the second half of the eighteenth century. The entrance is decorated with small reliefs that fill the lattices, contrasting with the sobriety of the pilasters, entablature and pediments. The interior is decorated with plant motif plasterwork, rockery, flowers, mirrors and moldings. The entrance of the main chapel is decorated with a mural painting, which, framing the Virgin’s dressing room, imitates a large architectural altarpiece, made by a painter from Vera known as Pedro Cervantes, in 1960. Located on Calle de España.
Castillo de Oria
The substantial remains of the perimeter of the Castle of Oria are composed of large brick walls, with abundant ceramic fragments, and are 1.70 meters thick. The only access to the Castle would have been through its north entrance, of which several parts of the tower are still visible. Inside the Castle, there are walls of houses and in the north wall of the enclosure are the deteriorated remains of a panel painted in red and white. Located on Calle Ciezar.
THINGS TO SEE OUTSIDE THE VILLAGE
Ermita de San Gregorio
Oria is thought to be the site of the first parish chapel in the surrounding area. This has been linked to the Ermita de San Gregorio Ostiense since the recovery of the Almanzora by Don Juan de Austria. Located on Carretera AL-8100.
In this nearby hamlet, visitors will find natural water springs. Their water comes from the neighbouring mountains, most importantly from Polaca and La Roca de Oria.
Museum of Music by Roy Fox
This nonprofit museum tells the story of flamenco and dance through visual storytelling and information panels. The museum can be found in El Margen, a small village northwest of Oria.
The natural environment surrounding Oria is very varied and rich in vegetation, and contains hunting reserves where you can hunt small game or climb up to the top of an antique castle that was once the refuge of the Muslim population.
Accommodation is hard to find in Oria, as the town is located in a remote area in the mountains of inland Almería. The nearby municipalities of Albox and Olula del Río do provide places to stay not too far from the town.
Gastronomically, certain products stand out, such as the local olive oil, which is the star product of this town, along with almonds and cereals. Try local dishes such as fritá (tomato and pepper salsa), remojón (tomato and cod salad), calabaza con patatas (pumpkin with potatoes), migas (fried bread), olla de trigo (wheat stew) and pelotas (meatball stew). Sweet treats include mantecados de almendra (almond lard cakes), roscos de vino (aniseed biscuits) and the local favourite, bizcotela.
Popular festivals in Oria are Día de San Antón, Día de San Marcos, San Blas and Semana Santa. More>