Bayarque, Sierra de los Filabres Municipality – Almería
Bayarque is a town located in the foothills of La Sierra de los Filabres, with a view to the basin of El Almanzora. It has beautiful fertile lowland watered by the River Bacares that together with the mountain ranges shape an incredible landscape, where you can observe the small, quiet and cosy city centre among the surrounding hill.
Bayarque, from its modern founding like town in 1572, after the Reconquest and later Moorish uprisings, is one of the smallest local settlements that form the hundreds of towns in the province. The encyclopaedias and geographical maps do not provide us many information; only succinct information about boundaries and population at the moment: attached to Purchena’s judicial body and to the bishopric of Almería; Capitanía General de Granada. In the book «Almería»: «…(and Bayarque, Suflí and Sierro, climbing towards Filabres, between Bacares and La Loma de la Junquera, some small towns that look forward an economic space from its agriculture, so different from Almería) y Bayarque, Suflí y Sierro, going up to los Filabres, between Bacares and Loma de la Junquera.
The important subject of the communications has been mitigated in the last years, because Bayarque is not far from the road that crosses the basin of Almanzora, linking with Baza (Granada), Huércal Overa or the capital of the province (120 kilometres) through the connection with the motorway of Levante, or the modern route that covers the «Comarca del Mármol», with substantial improvements, such as, the medical care, the proximity to the network of Public Hospitals and Official Administrative Centres.
The Book of Apeos y Población de Tíjola, in 1573, points out Bayarque like neighbourhood itself together with Aldeire, although quickly it was corrected (the same year) and it was given Apeo y Repartimiento like a diverse place. It appears like a raising place of «seed of silk, 78 ounces and 197 pounds of silk, plus: 156 fanegas of irrigation, 728 of unirrigated land, 936 olive trees and 15.600 vineyards, all with a cost of 181.831 maravedis».
It was inhabited by 630 Moriscos, with meadows and mountains like pasture of the cattle. From this book of Apeos is kept a copy in the Town Hall. In the repopulations taken place from 1572 to 1752 the ancient Castilians introduce new customs, such Las Cuadrillas de Animas singing Christmas Carols and performances of rustic and primitive Eucharistic plays that were being preserving thanks to the isolated of the place. The town watered from the springs (with Christianized names) like El Aguila, El Chopo, El Palo, El Cardo, La Carraca, Fuentegrande, Los Moros and La Fuente, this last one is boundary of the towns called Serón and Bacares.
The town is divided into two nucleous: the neighbourhood of La Ermita and the one called El Pueblo separated from La Rambla which crosses it. In its urban area, with complex narrow streets that remind the Arab past, we can emphasize like singular buildings: the church, dedicated to La Virgen del Rosario, from the middle of the XIX Century although at first it was dedicated to the Virgen María; the old house, in Real street, from El Marqués de Villena to whose Domain belonged Bayarque, held by a right-hand man; another in the square, from the end of the XIX century.
Both of them preserve a magnificent facade and some spacious and interesting interiors, the coat of arms that made its façade looks beautiful disappeared. In the neighbourhood of La Ermita there was the one dedicated to San Antonio de Padua; because of its poor condition it had to be moved belongings and the image to the church; nowadays it is only kept poor remains. The local holidays are celebrated in June and October, in the two incumbent’s honour.
The town is divided into two groups: the neighbourhood of La Ermita and the so-called of the Pueblo separated by La Rambla that crosses it. In its urban area, with complicated narrow streets that remind us the Arab past, we have to emphasize these peculiar constructions: the church, dedicated to La Virgen del Rosario, from the middle of the XIX century although at first it was dedicated to La Virgen María; the old house, located in Real street, that belongs to Marquis de Villena to whose Dominion belonged Bayarque, occupied by a right-hand man; another in the square, from the end of the XIX century. Both of them have a splendid front and wide and interesting interiors, the coat of arms disappeared from them.
In the neighbourhood of La Ermita existed the one devoted to San Antonio de Padua; due to the poor condition it was necessary to move belongings and the image to the church; nowadays we can observe few remains. The local holidays take place in June and October, in honour to the two incumbents. The ancient Mudejar temple was erected before 1568, destroyed in the Moorish uprising and later it was reconstructed; the present one was order to be built by Bishop Rodrigo de Mandia y Parga, in 1665 like the ones of Suflí, Líjar, Sierro, Fines and Santacruz. With rough orography, Bayarque is surrounded by gradual hills.
It has cold and dry climate like in all the inland mountainous regions, tempered by the nearness to the valley of El Almanzora; it is watered by the River Bacares, descendant from the tops. The town has 234 inhabitants and 195 voters according to the last Electoral roll. It has an area of 26,36 km2 and the urban area is located to 816 metres above sea level. Its boundaries are: to the North, Tíjola; to the East, Sierro and Suflí; to the West, Serón, and to the South, Bacares.
It enjoyed of certain mining peak: mercury from 1943 to 1945 and from 1968 to 1972; the exploitation stopped because the little profitability of the sites in the entrance of the town, in the road to Tíjola, due to the low quality of the cinnabar; it was a family exploitation, giving employment to few people.
The ferric seam found in Cuevas Negras had more luck; it started the ardour of the discoveries of Las Menas and El Cortijuelo, flagging quickly due to the high costs of extraction and transport. Pascual Madoz mentions veins of copper mineral, from what nowadays anybody can give us any information, although we suspect that they should be located in the spot called El Chopo. In the sixties it has a strong migratory phenomenon like the rest of the towns in the region, coinciding with the closure of the near mining reserves, leaving to Barcelona. The census points out a strong fall: from 600 inhabitants to less than 300. Old farm houses were being left and nowadays they are used like refuge of shepherds or support to the farm works.
It has a small but leafy fertile lowland, with family markets, feeding on the waters of the River Bacares and many fountains spread around all its jurisdiction: from the Parras where there was set up a waterfall, generator of the electricity consumed in the region, until its disappearance, operated by Sevillana de Electricidad; the Cortijicos and the Huevo adjoining Tíjola; El Layón in the past called La Fuente, in the hill with the same name and shares its territory with Bacares; the Palo and the Chopo. An increasing interest for the olive growing, that, as well as meeting its needs, allows market small quantities of excellent oil until few years ago there was an old mill for making olive oil (almazara), operating with an archaic and manual system.
Of the intense afforestation that the old chronicles tell us we can only observe the so-called Pinar de Bayarque, made up of Aleppo Pines; the economic profitability is minimum, but with a great sentimental and symbolic value. In the past we could observe 200.000 holm oaks that made up the 25 millions of trees that covered all the Sierra de los Filabres. The local industry was limited to a sawmill and manipulation of the wood that give employment to four people, plus another regional construction company.
The future is not promising for the homeland men and women. It is a town in economic and demographic decrease, where the young go away the capital or in search of a job in the marble exploitations of Macael and in the transforming industries of Olula del Río. Many adults who lived of the retirement returned from at the end of their productive life, or other less young, vegetating with the contributions of the sporadic pays of the PER or of the forest industries of their hills and hillsides.
The most «sensitized» before the immediate future dream about an economic impulse through the country holidays. There are many natural resources: climate, orography and landscapes, gastronomy, ancient customs, popular festivals, hunting…, and above all the hospitality of the people.
Parish Church of La Virgen del Rosario, XIX century.
Potaje blanco. Sopa de ajo. Migas. Olla de trigo. Gurullos. Gachas. Patas de cordero estofadas (stewed pig’s foot). Hornazos (Easter pies).
How to get there
You have to exit Almería towards Huércal de Almería, cross this town and then continue in the 340A road. Follow towards: Almería – E-15 – N-340 – Nijar – Murcia. In the roundabout, take the salida 1 and continue in: A-92A towards: A-92 – Benahadux – Guadix. Continue in: A-92A. Alleyway of Benahadux. In the roundabout, take the salida 3 and continue in: A-92 towards: Guadix – Granada. Then take the exit towards: Salida 362 – Gérgal Este – Olula de Castro – Bacares – Las Menas – Serón – A-339. In the area round Gérgal, in the roundabout, take the salida 1 and continue in: A-1178 towards: Gérgal – A-339 – Olula de Castro – Bacares – Las Menas – Serón. Then follow the signs until you get Bayarque.
Distances from the town
Lúcar 10 km
Almería 83 km
Bacares 14 km
Macael 21 km
Cantoria 29 km
Purchena 12 km
Olula del Río 18 km
Huércal Overa 57 km
Armuña de Almanzora 6 km
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