Almeria Is a city in Andalusia, Spain, located in the southeast of Spain on the Mediterranean Sea, and is the capital of the province of the same name. Almeria is the European city with the most hours of daylight per year, and the city boasts an exceptional climate. Its origin dates back to ancient times, although the Arabs founded it as a city in the year 955. With a population of 190,000 people, it is a peaceful and friendly city that is full of contrasts. It has 40km of coastline, which is great for tourists who enjoy the sun and the beach, or nature, especially on the virgin beach of Cabo de Gata Natural Park. It has a large commercial and passenger transportation port that is important on a national level, as well as a very busy airport. In 2005, Almería hosted the XV Mediterranean Games, adding numerous sports equipment and facilities to the city. The Fair and Festivals in Almería, held each year in August, converts the city into the ultimate tourist destination, and the Holy Week in Almeria gains more splendour with each passing year, especially since its designation as a Festival of National Tourist Interest. The city of Almería carries out an important role in the ﬁeld of meeting tourism, offering a great deal of attractions to the visitors like cultural and natural activities, or its varied cuisine, accommodation, its golf and leisure offers, and the appealing activities offered by the Nautical Centre “Bahía of Almería”, which makes Almería an interesting city to visit.
In the first century, Christian documents report that there was a town named Urci, possibly near the current site of Almería, in the Hispania of the Roman Empire. However, this is disputed, as there are several possible sites of the town. However, missionary Saint Indaletius is said to have evangelized Urci and become its first bishop, and is officially the patron saint of Almería.
Later, the city was refounded by Calipha Abd-ar-Rahman III of Córdoba in 955 AD. It was to be a principal harbour in his extensive domain to strengthen his Mediterranean defences.
Abd al-Rahman III founded the Alcazaba (the Citadel), which gave this city its name: al-Mariyyah (المريّة, "the Watchtower"). In the 10th and 11th centuries, it formed part of the Caliphate of Córdoba, and grew wealthy on trade and the textile industry, especially silk. Almería quickly became the largest and richest port in Moorish Spain and the headquarters of the Umayyad fleet. Its streets thronged with merchants from Egypt, Syria, France and Italy, who came to buy silk, glass, marble and glazed ceramics in Al-Andalus. It suffered many sieges and fell under Christian domination in 1489. In 1522, Almería was devastated by an earthquake and rebuilding and recovery did not really get underway until the 19th century. During the Spanish Civil War, the city was shelled by the German navy, and fell to Franco in 1939. It has since rebuilt its economy around vegetable production, with 100,000 acres of greenhouses, supplying much of Europe.
Its Moorish castle, the Alcazaba of Almería, is the second largest among the Muslim fortresses of Andalusia, after the Alhambra.
In this period, the port city of Almería reached its historical peak. After the fragmentation of the Caliphate of Córdoba in 1031, Almería continued to be ruled by powerful local Muslim Taifa emirs like Jairan, the first independent Emir of Almería and Cartagena, and Almotacin, the poet emir. Both Jairan and Almotacin were fearless warriors, but also sophisticated patrons of the arts. A silk industry, based upon plantings of mulberry trees in the hot, dry landscape of the province, supported Almería in the 11th century and made its strategic harbour an even more valuable asset.
Contested by the emirs of Granada and Valencia, Almería experienced many sieges, including one especially fierce siege when Christians, called to the Second Crusade by Pope Eugene III, were also encouraged to counter the Muslim forces on a more familiar coast. On that occasion Alfonso VII, starting on 11 July 1147, at the head of mixed armies of Catalans, Genoese, Pisans and Franks, led a crusade against the rich city, and Almería was captured on 17 October 1147.Within a decade, however, Almería had passed to the control of the Muslim Almohad emirs, and not until the late 15th century did it became again a Christian city when it accepted the sovereignty the Catholic Monarchs, Fernando and Isabel, on December 26, 1489.
The 16th century was for Almería a century of natural and human catastrophes; for there were at least four earthquakes, of which the one in 1522 was especially violent, devastating the city. The people who had remained Muslim were expelled from Almería after the War of Las Alpujarras in 1568 and scattered across Spain. Landings and attacks by Berber pirates were also frequent in the 16th century, and continued until the early 18th century. At that time, huge iron mines were discovered and French and British companies set up business in the area, bringing renewed prosperity and returning Almería to a position of relative importance within Spain.
The ancient walls of Jayrán
During the Spanish Civil War the city was shelled by the German Navy, with news reaching the London and Parisian press about the "criminal bombardment of Almería by German planes". Almería surrendered in 1939, being the last Andalusian main city to fall to Francoist forces.
In the second half of the 20th century, Almería witnessed spectacular economic growth due to tourism and intensive agriculture, with crops grown year-round in massive invernaderos – plastic-covered "greenhouses" – for intensive vegetable production.
After Franco's death and popular approval of the new Spanish Constitution, the people of southern Spain were called on to approve an autonomous status for Andalusia region in a referendum. The referendum were approved with 118,186 votes for and 11,092 votes against in Almería province, which represented 42% of all registered voters.