Villa de Vícar is situated in the southern foothills of the Sierra de Gádor. Belonging to one of the richest regions in Spain, most of the municipal area is dedicated to intensive greenhouse agriculture. The population of the municipality is divided into 13 separate nuclei; La Villa de Vícar, La Gangosa-Vistasol, Puebla de Vícar, Las Cabañuelas, Congo-Canal, Llanos de Vícar, Barrio de Archilla, El Parador, La Envía, Cañada Sebastiana, La Cimilla, La Lomilla and Yegua Verde. Together, these comprise around 25,400 inhabitants.
Like the whole region, Vícar has undergone both Roman and Arab settlement throughout its history. Following the Christian Re-conquest at the end of the fifteenth century, the town was donated to the city of Almeria in 1505 by the Catholic Monarchs.
During the War of the Alpujarras (1568-1570), the rebellion was particularly virulent in Vícar. Once the battle was over, the Moors were expelled from the Kingdom of Granada and the repopulation began from 1573, with citizens coming from other parts of the peninsula. This led to a significant decrease in agricultural activity and cultivation systems. In 1712, King Felipe V granted the title of Marquis of Casablanca to Mr. Luis Maza de Mendoza y Montalvo, with a manor in Vícar. In 1782, the town obtained its independence as a municipality.
From 1972, the economy of Vícar experienced a notable boom thanks to sanded crops and greenhouses. This has pushed the population towards the coastal plain. Today, it is an important immigration centre of the Alpujarra Almeria and Granada.
THINGS TO SEE
Iglesia-Fortaleza de San Benito
This is a Mudejar-style church, as indicated by its defensive structural elements. It dates from the second half of the sixteenth century, built under the mandate of Don Antonio Corrionero de Babilafuente, Bishop of the diocese of Almería, between 1558 and 1570. The monument was declared an Asset of Cultural Interest on March 6, 1985. Its tower, which gives the construction its defensive character, suffered great damage during the Moorish rebellion in the Alpujarras in 1568, and was renovated in 1647. The church is located on Calle de la Iglesia.
The viewpoint offers magnificent panoramic views, and can be found on Calle Real.
Casa del Marqués de Casablanca
This was once a farmhouse, granted by King Felipe V to Luis Maza de Mendoza y Montalvo. Today, the property is still preserved, and can be visited on Calle Granero.
This open-air museum is based around a planted olive grove, and exhibits the machinery used for the harvest of olives and the production of olive oil. It was opened to the public in October 2008, and is regarded as a tribute to the traditional and organic production of olive oil. Entry is free and the museum is located in Parque de Andalucía.
THINGS TO SEE OUTSIDE THE VILLAGE
Yacimiento Villa Romana de Cuernotoro
The archaeological site was partially destroyed during the construction of farms. A coin minted in the year 119 AD with the head of the Roman Emperor Hadrian was found here.
Various Roman aqueducts are found in the natural area of Paraje los Perichos, such as Carcauz, Puente de los Poyos and Los 20 Ojos. A walking route guides visitors around these ancient irrigation constructions.
Vícar is an ideal spot for lovers of sport and nature, with some amazing hikes on offer.
Keen golfers visiting the area may want to take the long and beautiful route through the 18 holes at La Envia Country Club.
The varied gastronomy of the area consists of dishes like arroz a banda (rice cooked in fish stock), ajoblanco (cold almond soup), ajo colorao (potato and red pepper soup), migas (fried bread served with pork), gurullos con conejo (chickpea stew with rabbit) and sardinas en moraga (sardines), all washed down with delicious grape juice. Sweet treats include borrachillos (alcohol-soaked sponges) and papajotes (doughnuts).
The most popular festivals in Vícar are those in honor of María Madre de la Iglesia, the Virgen del Carmen and the Virgen de la Asunción. More>