Zurgena is divided in two by the Almanzora River. On one side is La Alfoquía or Barrio de la Estación, and on the other, on a hill, sits the old town. The town is also home to the Cueva del Llano de las Eras, an archaeological site where remains from the Argaric era have been discovered. The town has around 3,000 inhabitants.
Zurgena has historically been the gateway to the Almanzora Valley. The first populations go back to the Neolithic period, with up to two towns from this historical period located near the boulevard. The land is of volcanic origin, sharing this characteristic with much of the rest of Andalusia. The resultant fertile land and the presence of water made Zurgena an ideal place for Neolithic man.
Centuries later, Zurgena became a Roman settlement; the Ruta Verte was a Roman road that connected Granada and Murcia. The route passed through the current La Alfoquía neighborhood. Currently, you can see the old Roman road behind the remains of a gas station.
With the arrival of the railway to the Almanzora Valley in 1885, the town changed considerably. The Zurgena train station (located in the La Alfoquía neighborhood) was, for about a century, the most important in the region and one of the most important in the province. Thanks to a recent restoration, railway facilities such as warehouses, now empty and out of service, where all the surrounding goods were deposited, have been preserved. Similarly, locomotive and wagon workshops existed in the vicinity of the station. The main economic activity here is agriculture, although the economy was formerly dominated by the production of raw materials like iron, copper, silver and marble.
THINGS TO SEE
Antigua Estación de Ferrocarril de Zurgena
The Zurgena Railway Station was opened on March 28, 1885 and closed on January 1, 1985. There were three types of trains passing through this station; ‘el frutero’, ‘el correo’ and ‘el mineral’. El Frutero was a freight train carrying a third-class wagon with wooden seats, leaving the station every morning and returning at dusk. El Correo was the train which delivered the mail, with two couriers circulating daily; Alicante-Granada in the morning and Granada-Alicante in the afternoon. El Mineral, also called “Yankis” because it was manufactured in the USA, was the train that transported iron ore from the Serón and Los Canos loading docks to the Hornillo in Águilas. From the existing mines in the municipality of Lubrín, iron ore arrived at the Zurgena Station by truck. They dumped the merchandise on the ground, at the foot of the train and a large number of people were in charge of loading it onto the wagons. The workers had, as their only work tools, esparto grass and rakes. The sentry box, which served as a shelter for the points operator is still preserved today. Located on Avenida Quinto Centenario. Those interested in Railways, Mines and industrial history should visit the detailed website The Great Southern of Spain Railway and the Zurgena Railway museum.
Iglesia Parroquial San Ramón Nonato
In 1525, Zurgena acquired the privileges of owning its own Church, and thus being able to form a parish, without having to belong to the town of Huércal-Overa as it had until then. The construction of the old part of the Church was carried out over the site of a former Mosque. The work was completed in 1560, although it has subsequently undergone reforms. Due to the dates which bookmark its construction, we can say that it was created in the Neo-Mudejar style. Located in Plaza de la Iglesia.
Torre del Reloj
The Zurgena clock tower has two bodies of height, the first being square, 4.85m on each side and slightly more than 4m high, presenting two steps or recesses at different levels. A second body is mounted on top measuring 4.50m, with octagonal corners. The total height of the clock tower is about 7m and it is covered by an Arabic tile roof, topped by a weather vane with the electrified bells of the clock. Located on Calle Aire.
Ermita del Calvario
The Chapel was built between 1874 and 1878. It was constructed on this site because the Saint known as the “Virgencica” is said to have appeared to a shepherd on the Calvario hill. The door features a plaque which thanks everyone who contributed to the restoration of the building in the 1990s. The nave is naturally illuminated by two large windows, located at the height of the altar. Located on Calle Calvario.
THINGS TO SEE OUTSIDE THE VILLAGE
Parque Los Llanos del Peral
Los Llanos del Peral park is a unique and charming place, surrounded by nature. It has well-kept facilities which provide a restful site from which to enjoy the semi-desert setting of this part of the Almanzora Valley. Located north of Zurgena, On Camino a Taberno.
Olivo de las Lomas
The olive tree known as El Olivo de las Lomas stands out for its spectacular shape as its 4.5m wide base is twisted like a screw, leaning to the east at a height of 1.2m. All of its branches of abundant foliage grow in this direction, which gives it a flag-like bearing. Located north east of Zurgena.
Zurgena does not have much in the way of accommodation. It does have a local guest house (shown below), which provides delightful accommodation at a cheap rate. Not far from Zurrgena are the villages of Arboleas and Albox, which also provide accommodation options.
Located in Zurgena itself, rooms at this guest house offer rustic-style furniture and some of them have wooden beamed ceilings. All rooms include a TV, telephone and a private bathroom. There is also a library and two outdoor terraces.
Despite there not being much in the way of handicrafts in the town of Zurgena, there are some locals who dedicate their lives to embroidery, making products including regional skirts.
The varied gastronomy in Zurgena offers some delicious cold meats, as well as dishes like sopa de calabaza y garbanzos (pumpkin and chickpea soup), potaje de trigo (wheat stew), potaje de tortas de bacalao (cod stew), caldo de pescado (fish soup), gurullos de conejo (pasta stew with raabit), perdiz en guiso (stewed partridge) and choto al ajillo (stwed goat). Among the desserts are alfajores de almendras (almond pastries), empanadillas rellenas (filled pastries) and cuajao de almendras (almond cake).
Popular festivals in Zurgena are San Ramón Nonato, Fiestas de Nuestra Señora María Auxiliadora, Virgen del Carmen and San Juan. More>