Whether you are on a two-week vacation or just getting away for the weekend, Almería, Spain is a wonderful place to visit. Dominating this sun-drenched Ansdalusian city is the Alcazaba Fortress. This massive defensive work was built by the Moorish Caliph Abd ar-Rahman I in the tenth century, and was the largest fortification the Moors built in Spain. After the Reconquest, King Carlos III added the bell tower. From the Alcazaba, visitors have a gorgeous view of the treelined streets, landscaped squares and white, flat-roofed houses of old Almería. The Fortress is also a museum with a collection of priceless art.
Below the Alcazaba is the stately Cathedral of Almería. This Roman Catholic church is built on a site that was originally occupied by a mosque. The present Cathedral dates back to 1524. With its thick walls, four towers and small windows, it looks almost as formidable as the Alcazaba. There is a reason that this house of worship resembles a castle. In the sixteenth century Almería was raided by pirates from North Africa called the Barbary Corsairs. Flush against the Alcazaba is the Barrio de la Chanca (Cave Quarter). In this enclave, originally made for Gypsies and fishermen, some families live in caves that have modern interiors. In Almería’s Templo San Juan, visitors can see traces of what was once the district’s most important mosque. Twenty-five miles east of Almería lie the quaint village of San Jose and the Cabo de Gata Nature Reserve, Andalusia’s largest coastal park.
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