November 8, 2011

Almería, Spain. November, 2010

During the Moorish rule of Spain, important cities were established, one of which was the port city of Almería. Acknowledged as a medina in the year 995 during the rule of Caliph Abd ar-Rahman III of Córdova, the city became the focus of some major construction. A defensive hilltop citadel, of course, but also a town within the walls, distinguished by houses, public squares, a mosque, baths and an inventive system of waterways, including some pretty remarkable engineering that brought water all the way to the top of the fortress called the Alcazaba (from the Arabic al-qasbah, meaning citadel.) Almería’s Alcazaba is the largest such fortification in Spain. Foolishly thinking from the guidebooks that this would just be a bleached-out series of crumbling stone walls, we almost missed one of the most beautiful sites of our trip. Cascading ponds and lush gardens, walkways of beautifully placed stones, silent grandeur...all reminded us of the Moorish architectural splendors of the Alhambra in nearby Granada. Almería has survived earthquakes, religious and political upheavals, economic turmoil and, more recently, tourists like us. Go there.

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