by Saskia Mier
Turrillas is situated next to the Parque Natural de Sierra Alhamilla, one of the most beautiful protected areas in Andalucía. At the entrance to Turrillas, close to the small chapel dedicated to San Antonio, is an amazing viewpoint where visitors can soak up the striking landscapes. The town has about 240 inhabitants.
The history of Turrillas is linked to that of its neighbouring municipality of Níjar; in 1445, by royal decree to favour the Regi family, it temporarily depended on the jurisdiction of Sorbas-Lubrín. During the Moorish era, it belonged to the Taha of Níjar, later passing into Christian hands in the 1488 campaign. With the expulsion of the Moors, Turrillas must have been deserted, since in the second half of the sixteenth century, the population was composed of approximately 400 Moors and no Christians. New inhabitants gradually arrived, coming mainly from Murcian lands.
The population of Turrillas increased until the beginning of the nineteenth century, at which point it had reached 1,400. This was followed by the economic and population boom associated with the expansion of the iron mining industry. However, this economic prosperity was brought to a halt by the First World War. Almeria mining did not recover after the European War, and the dent this left on the lives of the inhabitants of Turillas caused them to leave in droves in search of a better life. The Lucainena reserve was one of the most profitable in the province, where the initiative of the Biscayan shipping company, Sota y Azúcar, constituted the Compañía Minera de Sierra Alhamilla, with its own railway to the Agua Amarga jetty.
THINGS TO DO
Iglesia Parroquia de Santa María
The Parish Church dates from the sixteenth century. Its strong tower stands out, built in the middle of the sixteenth century to defend the Christians from the attacks of the Moors. In 1965, the Church was the film set for the movie ‘Death Had a Price’, in which some local women appeared as extras. Located in Plaza de España.
THINGS TO SEE OUTSIDE THE VILLAGE
Ermita de San Antonio de Padua
The Chapel of San Antonio is a unique construction. According to local legend, an agreement was reached with the neighboring municipality of Lucainena de las Torres to take the icon of the saint from the chapel of origin to Lucainena. While the residents of Turrillas carried the saint on their shoulders towards nearby Santo, the icon began to weigh them down and would not let them advance, so they decided to return it the chapel. Located north of the town, on the road entering Turrillas from the AL-3103.
Only 15km northeast of Almeria city is this largely barren and rugged 8,500ha mountain range, designated a protected natural area in 1989. Driven by deep gullies, particularly on its southern slopes, it rises to 1,387m at its highest point, the Colativí peak.
When visiting Turrillas, try local dishes such as migas de harina y pan (breadcrumbs which are then fried with pork and black pudding), arroz con conejo (rice and rabbit), olla de trigo (wheat stew), puchero (pork stew) and gurullos (pasta stew).
Popular festivals in Turrillas are Semana Santa, Fiesta de San Antonio de Padua and Fiesta en Honor al Emigrante. More>
The tourist office of Turrillas is located in the town hall. More>