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Villages in Almeria

Castro de Filabres

Villages in Almeria

Castro de Filabres – Sierra de los Filabres Village

Castro de Filabres is located in the southern side if La Sierra de Filabres, in a mountain landscape of mountainous and semiarid slopes where you can observe many almond trees.

The town, built over a river bed, makes up a very interesting group with the environment and in its appearance preserves the characteristics of its Moorish origin; but the most characteristic are the constructions in slate.

The most famous history of Castro starts at the beginning of the VIII century with the establishment in the hillsides a Group of North African Berbers called yarawá, who arrived Almería escaping from the Arabs.

These Berbers, very Romanized and Christians, were under the orders of a queen called al-Kahima. The name of Castro comes from the Latin place name that refers to a camp and all the historic information point out that these Romanized North African Berbers founded it and the queen al-Kahima put there her camp. It is curious the history of our mountain range of Filabres like shelter of persecuted religious minorities.

At the beginning of the VIII century here the Romanized Berbers found refuge when they escaped from the Arabs. From that century they lived in peace until the XII century some communities of Mozarabs, many of whom went with the king from Aragón called Alfonso el Batallador to reforest the valley of El Ebro.

In the last third of the X century a Group of jarichíes (non Christian people) took refuge in Velefique, Muslim sect persecuted in Córdoba  by the strict maliquíes, who had made with the Muslim clergy of the caliphate thanks to the protection that the omeyas (the second of the four Islamic caliphates established after the death of Muhammad) from Córdoba gave them. There cannot be the slightest doubt that to Castro arrived the influence of the great holy man Hispano-Moslem Sidi Abu Ishaq Ibrahim ibn al-Hayy, born in the nearby town of Velefique and to what the historiography confers it the construction of the fortress and 20 mosques in the other towns from the mountain range.

Later, once the Catholic Monarchs told the Muslims of the Kingdom of Granada that they were baptized or emigrate, the Muslim neighbourhoods of Los Filabres rose up in arms and resisted the Castilian armies until his dead. During 70 years devout Muslims took refuge here, who hide and preserved their faith, and when the Morisco from La Alpujarra, El Andarax and El Almanzora rebelled and came back the religious Muslim practices, from the towns of La Sierra came down the alfaquíes (jurists) in order to indoctrinate them in the faith that had forgotten.

The people from Castro de Filabres defend their land with towers, citadels and castles, from what we can observe the ruins in some towns or at least there are documentary references. Castro also had an Arab fortress but nowadays we can only see the ruins. Most of the medieval place names disappeared during the XVI Century when the new settlers arrived to Castro and nowadays the ones that stayed respond to the modern place names collected by the census of Ensenada, drawn up by the neighbourhoods around the middle of the XVIII century.

In Castro we can find the place names of different areas of the municipal district, like mill of El Aljibe and payments of El Olivo Grande, La Balsa, Las Animas, El Barranco La Balsa, Caserones, Cuesta and Ejido, Heras, Zaurdillas, Pradillo, Loma de Altazar, Hoyas, Carrascal, Barranco de los Cocones, Cortijillo, Frailes, Castaños and Moraleda.

Only Mezar is medieval. After the conquest of the lands of Los Vélez, Vera, Filabres, Baza and Almería by the Catholic Monarchs in 1489, these ones kept for them some towns of the Kingdom of Granada in order to manage directly, what were called free, to distinguish them from the ones of domain, that were towns given with some powers and restrictions to the nobles who helped them with their people, possessions and vassals during the war of Granada.

The towns of Los Filabres were given in dominion to several people of the nobility linked to the monarchs. The Catholic Monarchs ceded Castro de Filabres, Olula de Castro and Uleila del Campo to the Duke of El Infantado in 1490.

Later on, Castro passed to Enrique Enríquez’s heirs, then his domain or “Estado de Tahal” was made up of 14 places, but there are only survive eight and the other six were depopulated in 1570. According to the Census of Ensenada, the Lord obtained as income 2.046 reals (old Spanish coin worth a quarter of a peseta).

Castro de Filabres paid the Church, according to the Censo de Ensenada from 1752, more or less 1.514 reals by the tithe. By way of an anecdote, in the middle of the XVIII century, the priest of Castro lived in Velefique, from where he run his parish church, and that he received 222 reals a year.

Among 1502 and 1568 the town of the Estado de Tahal is totally Moslem, with half a dozen of old Christians. When among 1568 and 1570 Moriscos from La Alpujarra rebelled, in the region of Los Filabres joined to the arms more than 800 men, who were defeated by Juan de Austria. From the 3.000 Moriscos who lived in the Estado de Tahal when the war started, more than half of them died, some in the combat and most of them of hunger and diseases. A fourth part of them were sold like slaves and the other one escaped to Murcia or took out from Albacete to Cuenca.

From Castro and Olula de Castro left more or less 100 Moriscos. When the Moriscos were taken out from the towns of the mountain range of Los Filabres, the panorama of loneliness and desolation was impressive. It was promoted the repopulation and this was very slow. Castro was repopulated with ten inhabitants, and at the end of the XVI century there were only eight.

From the rebellion of the Moriscos, Castro and many towns in Los Filabres did not manage to achieve the level of population that had had. The gradual movement of population in Castro de Filabres is reflected in the different census, where there were recorded the inhabitants that lived in the town.

In 1752 in Castro lived 176 inhabitants; in the middle of the XIX century, more or less 257; at the beginning of the XX century, 426 inhabitants, that is the larger level of population in Castro in the last centuries, to go down from the forties, and above all in the seventies, with the emigration, that took like destination the capital of the province, Cataluña, France and Germany.

Monuments
Parish Church of Santa María del Rosario, XVII century.

Town Planning
Small urban area without mark of modern construction.
Olive-oil mill of Lugar Viejo.

Ferruginous fountain (Fuente ferruginosa)

Gastronomy

Embutidos. Sopa de ajo almeriense. Pimentón o caldo colorao (a kind of fish casserole). Olla de trigo. Gazpachuelo a lo pobre. Cocido en morcilla. Gurullos (a country dish that consists of soaked crumbs, drained and fried in lard and with garlic, chorizo and pork fat). Escabechado. Choto al ajillo.

Sweets: Roscos. Bollos de nata. Hojaldres. Empanadillas.

How to get there

You have to exit Almería. Then take the Road of Granada. Cross Huércal de Almería and follow straight on.  Take the road N-340 towards: Huércal de Almería – Almería – E-15 – N-340 – Nijar – Murcia. In the roundabout, take the salida 1 and continue in: A-92A towards: A-92 – Benahadux – Guadix. Alleyway of Benahadux. In the roundabout, take the salida 3 and continue in: A-92 towards: Guadix – Granada. Take the exit towards: Salida 373/376 – Tabernas – Murcia – N-340a. In the roundabout, take the salida 2 and continue in: N-340A. You are going to pass near Tabernas, in the roundabout take the salida 3 and continue in: A-349. Then turn left: AL-405. Alleyway of Pago Aguilar and follow the signs until you get Castro de Filabres.

Distances

To Almería 48 km
To Tabernas 18 km
To Gérgal 24 km
To Olula Castro 8 km
To Las Aneas 28 km
To Doña María Ocaña 42 km
To Escúllar 56 km
To Ohanes 66 km
To Gádor 35 km
To Uleila del Campo 41 km


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