Rodalquilar is a small village of about 200 inhabitants just off the Cabo de Gata coast road, AL-4200 between San José and Las Negras. It is a few kilometres inland, and it is not historic hill village but rather a mid-twentieth century mining village.
It looks uninteresting from the road and is generally passed by tourists and travellers. This is a mistake.
A memorial in the village poetically describes Rodalquilar:
"Rodalquilar is a village of mining origin located in a closed valley and surrounded by mountains rich in gold. In 1930 the extraction of gold began. In the early days the population reached a thousand. In the 1960's the village was abandoned, being a silent witness to the past.
"Rodaquilar is known for its semi ruined mines, its romantic church, colonial style housing, school, guard house, stores, and a more than interesting botanic garden of autoctonas species, it is a mix of an oasis village and an example of lonely industrial architecture and emerging beauty. "
THINGS TO SEE
El Albardinal Botanic Gardens
The El Albardinal Botanic Gardens feature the natural flora and agriculture from semi-arid areas of Eastern Andalucia. You can observe all the different ways that plants have evolved to adapt to the dryness. The gardens include unique species of the Southern Iberian and North African endemism, as well as other plants that have be imported. More>
El Cornical filoturistico centre
Without needing to understand its name, purpose this visitors centre offers a nice entrance to the botanical gardens. The building used to be a Cuartel de Guardia Civil, (Civil Guard Barracks) was constructed by the mining company in 1935 as a guard house. More>
Rodalquilar Gold Mines
Dominating the village on a nearby hill are the ruins of the 'Denver' process plant of the gold mines in hills above the village of Rodalquilar. These installations were abandoned in the 1960's. All the ironwork was removed for scrap, however the concrete structure of the processing plant remains. Drive along Calle Bocamina and on unmade road through the Denver plant and over the hill to come across the ruined Mining village of San Diego and other mine workings. More>
Rodalquilar Visitors Centre
Visitors centre and exhibition centre for the Cabo de Gata Natural Park oposite the church on Paraje Playazo
January to June: Closed
July to September, Wed to Sun: 09.00 to 15.00 hrs
October to December, Wed to Sun 10.00 to 15.00 hrs
The Rodalquilar parish church was called 'Saint Peter' because it was constructed by the Anglo mining company and services were Anglican. After the closing of the mine, the church was renamed 'San Pedro'. It does have a slightly different style from others with its large square bell tower. Inside there is a main nave and two small side naves. There are interesting wall painting and a small golden alter-piece. There is a monthly mass and is often open on summer evenings.
Address: Paraje Playazo
La Casa de los Volcanes
A reformed building and exhibition centre relating to the mines. Well worth the visit if you are lucky enough to find it open. As well as numerous info boards with historical pictures of the mines in operation you can see a relief model of the mines. The building is also used for meeting and lectures, exhibitions.
Thursday, Friday, Saturday 10.00 to 14.00
Aula de Naturaleza El Bujo
Near the village rebuilding has been carried out and mine buildings have been turned into office for the Cabo de Gata Natural park. Having reformed may structures such as Aula de Naturaleza (Nature study classroom) a research centre and reception centre the regional government lacks funds to keep installations open.
Anfiteatro de Rodalquilar
An open space for occasional events, created in 2005, in the remains of one of the old mine separation tanks.
The village does have a number of cafes and artists galleries. out of the summer season these are mainly closed and unusually for Andalucia visitor may have trouble to find a cafe open.
There are no hotels in the village itself , a few are located just outside; Hotel de Naturaleza Rodalquilar, Rodalquilar Hotel, El Jardin de los Sueños. A number of the old miner's cottages are reformed and rented as Casa Rurales.
Many films have been filed here both in the village, the mines, and on the coast.
For a few Dollars More,1965 - Spaghetti western by Sergio Leone with Clint Eastwood.
Indiana Jones and the last Crusade, 1986 - Monsul Beach scene, San Diego Mines, Rodalquilar was tunnel where plane crashed though.
The Reckoning, 2003
Duck you Sucker, 1971 - Spaghetti western by Sergio Leone. Scenes on road above Denver plant.
Solarbabies, 1986 -A cult post-apocalyptic sci-fi thriller whose cast included Alexei Sayle. Scenes filmed in the Denver plant, skating in the evaporation tanks.
One of Hollywood 10, 2000 (Punto de Mira) - Spanish English biography directed by Karl Francis. Scenes in Rodalquilar village and by various mines.
AlmeriaCine have produced a nine minute YT video of clips of most of the films shot in Rodalquilar. View here