The province of Almería lies adjacent to the eastern
end of Granada province
on the southern Spanish coast,
where her capital city of the same name lies on the Mediterranean Sea.
Almería, like her sister cities along the coast, has a long history of being inhabited
by different civilizations. Evidence has been found and authenticated of prehistoric
(Paleolithic and Neolithic) life. During the Age of Metal, the town Los Millares
first came into notice whose culture was based on copper metallurgy that extended
further into the Iberian Peninsula.
Between 1700 and 1400 B.C. (the Bronze Age), the culture of El Argar (characterized by the metallurgy of silver, gold and bronze) was at its epitome.
In later times, evidence has given testimony to the Phoenician, Greek and Carthaginian presences. With the arrival of the conquering Romans came new commerce which included salt factories, fishing and aromatic herbs production.
This era ended with the occupation of Visigoths and Byzantines but it is the eight centuries of Islamic occupation that have left their greatest influence. The 8th Century was marked by the development of agriculture, architecture and an important trading port between the Orient and Africa. Although the Italians and the Catholic Kings left their imprint on this area, it is the Moorish influence that still prevails.
Almería today is a major port city along the Mediterranean coast and has its own international airport. It has numerous smaller recreational harbors as well that invite sailing and other marine sports. It is a major tourist center with much to offer the traveler..from natural parks to cultural events, including the sites where early American western movies were filmed. The agricultural business is of major importance here; this is evidenced by the numerous plastic-covered greenhouses that dot the nearby hills. It has been said that this is the "fruit basket of Europe," as much of what is sold elsewhere is derived from this land.
Gastronomically speaking, the cuisine of the area is of excellent quality, natural, varied and derived from both the sea and the land. "El tapeo" or going bar-hopping while having tapas is very popular with a tremendous number of places to try. Soup dishes are at the top of the list when trying the local fare: sopa de Almería (seafood based), sopa de ajo (garlic based), caldo colorao (a heavy fish-based soup) to name a few.
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