Retamar is one of the coastal suburban towns of the city of Almería. With easy access to the airport and ample holiday apartments, it provides visitors from Spain and further afield with an ideal base from which to explore the Almerian cost. The town has around 7,000 inhabitants.
The neighbourhood of Retamar has existed for just over 30 years. Until October 2004, Retamar, like neighboring Costacabana, was a private urbanization with properties unfinished by developers. Its operation was regulated by a Conservation Entity that went bankrupt more than 10 years ago, leaving the neighborhood without maintenance and with serious deficiencies. From this point, various associations began to pressure the Town Hall to correct these problems, however, there was no budget for its maintenance. Despite this, residents still had to pay municipal taxes.
In October 2004, Retamar was acknowledged as a neighborhood of Almería and slowly began to benefit from facilities such as a sewerage system and improved water, electricity and telephone lines. In 2005, the Town Hall developed the “Retamar Mejora” Project, whose objectives included the renovation of connections and the creation of green areas. The project has already achieved a great deal for neighbours of Retamar, such as a doctor’s office, year-round bus services, garbage collection and street lighting, although many more changes are still due to take place including better neighborhood maintenance, the expansion of the school, building a social center, traffic regulation, animal control, a local police post, the limiting of landfill odors and a review of the location of the gas pipeline.
THINGS TO SEE
Ermita de Torregarcía
The chapel, also known as Ermita Virgen del Mar, is dedicated to the Virgin of the Sea, and was built in 1953 thanks to the Mayor at the time, Emilio Pérez Manzuco, and his older brother, Miguel Viciana González. The chapel has an unusual aesthetic reminiscent of African influences, probably inspired by the Indaliano Movement. It is decorated with a mosaic by Luis Cañadas Fernández. The unique chapel is located on the Camino Ermita de Torregarcía.
The construction of the watchtower was ordered after the incorporation of Almería into the Crown of Castile in 1489, with the purpose of coastal surveillance. In 1502, the lookout Andrés de Jaén discovered an image of the Virgin Mary stranded on the beach, Gothic in style and carved in a single piece of walnut. The so-called “Virgin of the Sea” came to be considered the patron of Almería at the end of the seventeenth century, although the patronage was not officially approved until 1806, by Pius VII. The tower can be found on the Camino Ermita de Torregarcía.
Factoría de Salazón de Torregarcía
These Roman archaeological remains were pre-catalogued as a site in 1984. The walls of the Roman factory, which were buried under the dunes of the bay, were first to be discovered, and after six years of work, a salting factory was recovered. The factory covered an area of about half a hectare, along with a Roman dwelling of just over one hundred and thirty square meters. The factory was used to salt fish from the first to the fourth centuries and part of the fifth. One very popular product at the time was garum, which was a sauce with a very intense flavour composed of fish marinated in salt. The best and most expensive was obtained from mackerel. Likewise, it is believed that from the mollusks known as “cañadillas”, a purple colour was obtained that served as a dye for the robes and suits of Emperors and Kings. The site is located on the Camino Ermita de Torregarcía.
Torregarcía and Retamar beaches are both quite spectacular, but Retamar is also a great starting point to explore other nearby beaches by car, including Playa Mónsul and Playa de los Genoveses. All provide wonderful photo opportunities.
For keen hikers, the area offers some interesting routes, such as Sendero Costacabana-El Toyo, Sendero El Pocico-Las Marinas and Sendero Las Almoladeras. The Duna Amoladeras National Park borders the town, and the Rambla Morales Nature Reserve is just a short journey south, halfway down Torregarcía beach.
Visitors to Retamar can enjoy dishes such as caldo colorao (red pepper soup), gurullos (pasta based stew), caracoles en salsa (snails), carne con tomate (stewed meat), cazuela de pescado (fish stew) and berza (pork and chickpea stew). Sweets include tortas de aceite (olive oil torts), roscos de anis (aniseed biscuits) and leche frita (fried custard).
Popular festivals in Retamar include Cabalgata Reyes Magos, Virgen del Carmen and Día de San Juan. More>