IberiaNature A guide to the natural history of Spain
By Nick Lloyd - Home - Contact

Some notes on Almeria

  • Almeria is 8,775 km2.
  • There is divergence of opinion as to the original meaning of its name. Some sources talk of al-Mirayah meaning the 'the mirror', others of Al-Merayameaning 'the watchtower'. Whatever the case (probably the latter) it comes form Arabic.
  • Population in 2003 was 604,903 (Almeria capital: 176,338)
  • Europe's only desert is in Almeria.

Just inland in the villages above Almeria, there were cave dwellers: caves had been cut or enlarged in the rubbly biscuit-coloured hills and house fronts fixed to the cave entrances. The slopes were devoid of trees. It was a land of little rain, and so few people, of such dust and emptiness, that it could have been the far west of the United States - Arizona or New Mexico. When I remarked on this to a Spaniard in Almeria he told me that it had been the location for many of Sergio Leone's so-called spaghetti westerns.

Almost in sight of the overbuilt coast, this country was lovely in its grandeur and in its sunlight and emptiness, its white huts and grazing goats, its houses of stacked stone, some with grape arbors and others hung with garlands of drying red peppers, shielded by stands of pine or clusters of broom; olive pickers riding in the backs of trucks, their faces masked against the dusk, and elderly shepherds in blue suits in postures so intense they seemed to be preaching to their flocks. Beyond a sun-baked ravine there were thirty black goats in a field and a mass of swallows diving into a small bush...

Paul Theroux from "The Pillars of Hercules" in which he traveled all the way up the Spanish coast on his trip around the Mediterranean.

Chullo in the Sierra Nevada, the highest mountain in Almeria at 2609m

"The sunny south of Spain offers more to the national economy than simply tourism. Over the past 50 years, the small coastal plain (campo), some 30 kilometers southwest of the city of Almería, has been intensively developed for agriculture. An estimated 20,000 hecatres of extra-early market produce is grown in greenhouses in the Campo de Dalías, and it accounts for over $1.5 billion in economic activity. The area has a dry, mild, Mediterranean climate and is further sheltered on the north by the Sierra de Gador mountains. With just slightly more than 200 millimeters of annual precipitation to support crop growth, the area also relies on groundwater fed by small stream aquifers from the mountains to the north."

Text and image from Nasa observatory here

Almeria. External links: almerianatural.com