Turre’s name comes from the Latin turris, meaning ‘tower’, and since the Ibero-Roman occupation of the town, it has acted as a settlement for numerous Mediterranean civilizations, inclucing the culture of Los Millares and the Argaric. Steeped in this history, it encapulsates the socio-cultural history of Almeria. Today, it has around 3,300 inhabitants.
The earliest archaeological remains unearthed in Turre date from the Paleolithic and Neolithic areas, and were found in the Gátar area of the Sierra Cabrera. Several vestiges of the period of the Lower Roman Empire have also been discovered. In the twelfth century, the area underwent a major depopulation through various causes, which was remedied with the distribution of land to Muslim settlers that arrived from other areas of Andalusia.
In 1493, the region lived in a state of latent war; fortifications and watchtowers were constructed to alert communities to potential intrusions of Christian troops in the area; one of these towers was built in Turre. In 1596, by royal decree of Felipe II, part of the territory of Mojácar was separated from the city to form a new municipality that would become today’s Turre. The rest of the current town was incorporated in 1837 after being dismembered from the city of Vera.
In 1838, the area became the nerve centre of world mining and metallurgy, thanks to the accidental discovery of a vein of silver galena in Barranco de Jaroso. Important metallurgical infrastructures were also created for the mining and smelting of lead in the area. At the beginning of the twentieth century, there was a substantial drop in the European-North American lead market. Combined with the insufficient size of mines in Almeria and the technical difficulty of draining them, lead and silver mining in the area experienced a deep crisis.
The mining operations contributed to the “definitive” deforestation of the Sierras de Almagro, Cabrera and Bédar. The unprecedented increase in the human population of the region, attracted by mining and related industries, put significant pressure on the environment. Cultivation areas were multiplied, forest lands were destroyed and new uses of the forest were developed, such as the mass collection of esparto, in high demand at the time from the paper industry. At the beginning of the Second Republic, all mines were closed, ruining the town economically.
After the Civil War, the fist of the new government fell relentlessly on the region, which had been a site of riots and massacres during the postwar period and mid-1950s. Combined with the mining crisis and the decline of traditional agriculture, this produced an increase in emigration, which extended until 1970. Algeria was a popular destination for emigrants, along with Argentina and other American countries. In the 1950s and 1960s, many emigrated to Barcelona, France, Germany and Switzerland.
THINGS TO SEE
Ermita de San Francisco de Asís
The exact date of the chapel’s construction is unknown, however, it probably dates to the seventeenth century. It is made of stone, lime and plaster masonry forming strong walls, and is located on Calle la Ermita.
Iglesia Parroquial de la Purísima Concepción
The church was built in the first half of the sixteenth century, when the Mudejar expelled from Mojácar settled in Turre. On May 9, 1859, after several years on the brink of ruin, the Mudejar coffered ceiling of the early church collapsed. The construction of a new temple was immediately commissioned. The exterior of the church is eclectic in style, while the interior matches a style that is very widespread throughout the Spanish Levante. Located on Calle Rosales.
THINGS TO SEE OUTSIDE THE VILLAGE
Ermita de la Purísima Concepción de La Carrasca
Construction of this chapel began in 1889 in order to replace the former Iglesia de Cabrera. It was the initiative of the inhabitants of La Carrasca, who donated part of their wages in order to supplement the collection that funded the project. Located south of Turre.
Ruinas de la Iglesia Parroquial de los Pueblos Moriscos de Cabrera y Teresa
The villages of Cabrera and Teresa existed before Turre’s foundation as a town, as indicated by agaric remains discovered in these areas. Various water sources and the strategic location of these villages near the mountains mean that medieval settlements from the eight century AD are also highly likely. The ruins in Teresa are of great archaeological value, and include an aqueduct, a mill and a church built in 1505. Cabrera has become a residential area that, thanks to the neo-Arab style of its buildings, fits harmoniously into the landscape. Here, visitors can see remains of the mosque and a watchtower from the eleventh century.
Turre itself does not offer much accommodation for visitors, however, there are some beautiful bed and breakfasts (shown below) and a few luxurious self-catering options available in the surrounding countryside. The nearby town of Mojácar has an abundance of hotels and accommodation, and is located just a short drive away.
This Bed and Breakfast features rustic-style rooms and is located close to the Cortijo Grande Golf Club. It offers a garden, a terrace and an outdoor seasonal pool that fills naturally from the nearby River Aguas. Yoga and meditation classes can be organised.
Set in the countryside, 10 minutes’ drive from Mojácar and the coast, this guesthouse features an outdoor pool, a restaurant and air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi. It offers free bikes and is located just outside the town of Turre.
The Cortijo Grande Golf Resort is the course in Turre. It offers unspoiled views of the less developed stretches of the Almerian countryside, and is therefore a perfect option for golfers seeking a relaxed game.
The typical gastronomic menus in Turre consist of dishes such as migas (fried bread with meat), albondigas (meatballs), gurullos con conejo (gurullo pasta with rabbit), caldo pimentón (fish stew), olla de trigo (wheat stew), caracoles (snails), ajo colorao (garlic soup) and papas al ajo cabañil (garlic potato salad). The desserts also don’t disappoint; those with a sweet tooth should try the tortas de chicharrones (pork scratching torts).
Handicrafts in the town are usually made out of straw or brass, but various types of lace decoration are also widely produced.
Festivals that are popular in Turre are the Fiestas en Honor a San Francisco de Asís, Carreras de Cinta, Semana Santa and Romería de San Isidro. More>