ULEILA DEL CAMPO
by Saskia Mier
Uleila del Campo is famous for the delicious cheese that is produced locally by the Quesos Monteagud factory. The Museo del Esparto and Museo de La Tejera offer valuable insights into the town’s agricultural history. It has about 830 inhabitants.
The proximity of Uleila del Campo to the Tabernas desert means that many of its sites have been used as film sets. Some think that the town’s name comes from an Arab from Granada, a spy for the Catholic Monarchs; others think that it comes from Leila, also an Arabic name, which could mean a country maiden.
At the beginning of the Al-Andalus period, Berbers from the Sahara occupied these lands until the Christian conquest took place in 1488. The Catholic Monarchs gave it, along with other towns, to the Duke of Infantado. After the Moorish rebellions (1568-1570), the Moors were forced to leave the Kingdom of Granada. The repopulation was carried out in 1586 with 10 families, but the recovery of the population was a gradual process throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. In the middle of the eighteenth century, it already had 525 inhabitants. In the same century, Uleila del Campo belonged to the Lordship of the Marqués de Aguilafuente.
The nineteenth century was characterized by the town obtaining legal-administrative independence in 1836, after the abolition of the manors. As in many other municipalities in Almería, Uleila experienced a persistent decline in population throughout the twentieth century, reaching its lowest point in the 1960s. Today, it is slowly recovering and its population is mainly dedicated to the cultivation of almonds and olives. However, the most profitable sector is livestock for the production of cheeses.
THINGS TO SEE
Centro de Interpretación del Trabajo Tradicional
The Interpretation Center of Traditional Work is dedicated to preserving and disseminating information about the most typical local trades. Most of the exhibition centres around works derived from the Mediterranean triad (cereal, vine and olive tree), but almond agriculture also features. The cultivation and treatment of esparto grass, and the rich craftsmanship that surrounds its uses, are also key topics explored in the exhibits. Located in Plaza de la Constitución.
Iglesia de Santa María
The construction of the neo-Romanesque church was commissioned by the Count of Aguilar. The bell tower did not appear in the original design due to limited budget, and was added centuries later when the Church was completely renovated. It has undergone several renovations in recent years in an effort to alleviate the deterioration. The most recent and substantial was in 2012, when the roofs were restored, the entire floor remodeled and the whole interior and façade redecorated. Stained glass windows were also added. Located in Plaza de la Constitución.
THINGS TO SEE OUTSIDE THE VILLAGE
Ermita de la Virgen de la Cabeza
The chapel offers the best viewpoint in the region, and has become a key destination for pilgrims and hikers alike. Located on the summit of Monteagud, a reference point throughout the region for geographical and religious orientation. Located north of Uleila del Campo, off the A-1100.
Yacimiento Arqueológico Cueva de la Mora
The main archeological site is from the Neolithic era, although the valley was inhabited until the beginning of the twentieth century. It has an easy defense with a single entrance that opens to the valley with a natural spring a few meters away. The main archaeological complex is made up of a cave with a living space of about 5m² (currently semi-ruined). This natural shelter has a petroglyph and cave paintings on the walls.
Mirador de la Umbría
The viewpoint is situated in the highest part of the town; from it, you can see a landscape of great beauty, especially when the almond trees are in bloom.
When visiting Uleila del Campo, try local dishes such as caldo de pimentón (tomato stew), pimientos y tomates secos fritos (dried tomato and peppers), puchero de calabaza e hinojo (pumpkin and fennel stew), gazpacho (cold tomato soup), fritada de conejo (fried rabbit) and caldo de pescado (fish soup). Sweet treats include tortas de chicharrones y manteca (pork scratching and lard cakes), pan de aceite (olive oil cake), suspiros (meringues) and mantecados (almond lard cakes).
Popular festivals in Uleila del Campo are Fiesta Patronal en Honor al Cristo de las Penas, Fiesta del Emigrante, Cruz de Mayo and Semana Santa. More>
The tourist office of Uleila del Campo is located in the town hall. More>