Huércal – Overa
Huércal – Overa
Huércal – Overa is located in the northeast of the province, on the border with the province of Murcia, in a landscape that is looking more to the east, made up of fertile lands in the gardens of the water courses, where the water comes, and arid and semi-arid hills elsewhere.
Its privileged position has allowed the city, since ancient times, to be an important commercial centre and nowadays it remains a passing place between the east and south. This fact is reflected in its urban structure, which retains unique buildings and monuments, as the Parish Church of La Asunción, El Pósito, El Ayuntamiento (Old Courthouse), the Arab Tower and the Palace of the Four Towers.
Huércal – Overa borders on Murcia. For Menéndez Pidal the origin of this name is due to the repopulation of two different population centres at the end of the XVI century.
We know of the presence of Phoenicians and Greeks, in search of minerals, Carthaginians and Romans. At the top of Cabezo de la Jara is located the Cave of Scipio (Cueva de Escipión), a Roman general that is believed he was here with his army. He died trapped in a tower after being defeated by the Carthaginian general Asdrúbal. The Roman emperor Augustus included Huércal-Overa, Purchena and Vélez Rubio in the Roman province of Tarragona.
The origin of Huércal-Overa can be placed in the period of Al-Andalus. From this period in Huércal we can find the Arab castle and the castle of Santa Bárbara de Overa. These would constitute, together with other fortresses, a safe defence in this area of the Kingdom of Granada.
With the Christian conquest it was annexed and donated to the city of Lorca by the services given in 1488. Its population was greatly diminished, especially the one from Overa who declined to renounce their faith. After the War of the Alpujarras (1568-1570) and the expulsion of the Moors began repopulation between 1572 and 1573, being Overa annexed to Huércal. In 1668 it got the complete independence of Lorca under the name we know nowadays and by means of purchase document to the Treasury.
In the War of Independence we have to mention some heroic events that are told for the residents of this town. In its streets were carried out fierce battles, even had to be conquered house to house on some occasions.
The XIX century is characterized by the increased of the population. In 1805 it had 2.186 inhabitants, in 1834 it had 3.315 and in 1887 with 15. 631 inhabitants in the towns and countryside. Parallel to this demographic increase we observed a growth and enlargement of the urban area.
The XX century this town will be affected by the several international conflicts and especially the Civil War, there is still in the surrounding area some trenches. It also will suffer the long war and emigration. From the 70’s it will open with new hopes a land for which they have visited many illustrious passengers as Gerald Brenan, Virginia Wolf and Juan Goytisolo.
Huércal – Overa Monuments
Parish Church of La Asunción, XVIII century. Baroque style from Murcia. It has a magnificent altarpiece and the sculptures of Salzillo and Bellver.
Church of Santa María de Nieva, XVIII century.
Nasrid tower of Huércal, XIII and XV centuries. Very transformed, it is kept in good condition.
Castle of Santa Bárbara.
Tower of La Ballabona, from XIV to XV century.
Hermitage of Overa.
Granary of wheat (Pósito de trigo), XVIII century.
Town Hall, XIX century.
Bullring, from 1901.
Cerro del Arenal site of Piedras de Rayo.
Huércal – Overa Gastronomy
In the cold winter days when the rain makes its appearance, it is custom to cook flour or bread crumbs, accompanied by pepper soup, fried peppers and dried tomatoes, fish and chops, all with a good local wine. The stews are also eaten, cooked in its different forms: corn, squash and fennel, which prepare the body for a hard day’s work. On hot summer days are refreshing the gazpachos (cold Andalusian soups) and salads in season. It is also characteristic the fries of rabbit with chicken and the porridges with fish stock, making the most of the splendid season of the vegetables.
All the year round you can taste the sausages like blood sausage, chorizo, longaniza (long pork sausage), blanquillo (whitefish) …. and pork products that are made before Christmas, in the famous slaughtering season that bring together relatives and friends who are on holidays and work in a difficult tradition for loosing it.
At Christmas it is made the typical confectionery in these dates, the round plain cakes of pork and lard, bread oil, the suspiros and buns. With the arrival of spring and coinciding with Easter, the dressings are adjusted to the ban on meat and plant products that outcrop in the valley.
How to get there
From Almería: Take the Mediterranean motorway (E-15 or N-340) towards Murcia. Pass by the southern entrance to Huércal-Overa. Exit in the link 553 (Sta. María de Nieva and Vélez Rubio) which leads us directly to the centre of the municipality.
From Murcia: Take the Mediterranean motorway (E-15 or N-340) towards Almería. Pass by the northern entrance to Huércal-Overa. Exit in the link 553 (St. María de Nieva and Vélez Rubio) which leads us directly to the centre of the municipality.
From Granada: a) Through the Valle del Almanzora Take the A-92 to Puerto Lumbreras. Deviate in Baza by taking the A-334 towards Huércal Overa. Joining the Mediterranean motorway (E-15 or N-340) towards Murcia. Pass by the southern entrance to Huércal-Overa. Leaving the link 553 (St. María de Nieva and Vélez Rubio) which leads us directly to the centre of the municipality.
b) Using high-speed roads, Take the A-92 to Puerto Lumbreras. Joining the Mediterranean motorway (E-15 or N-340) towards Almería. Passing by the northern entrance to Huércal-Overa Leaving the link 553 (St. María de Nieva and Vélez Rubio) which leads us directly to the centre of the municipality.
Níjar 77 km
Albox 28 km
Cantoria 37 km
Zurgena 17 km
Arboleas 21 km
Almería 106 km
Albánchez 46 km
Olula del Río 42 km
Cuevas del Almanzora 19 km