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Villages in Almeria

María

Villages in Almeria

María – Los Vélez Region

Maria is the northernmost town in the province, in the region of Vélez, in agricultural uplands of the mountains bordering the north of the province of Granada on one side and the west of Murcia on the other. Part of this district is included in the Parque Natural de la Sierra de María-Los Vélez, which has a typical Mediterranean climate, with rugged mountains of limestone and dolomite and forests of pine and oak, and is rich in archaeological sites and caves.

The town, nestled on a plateau at the foot of the mountains, looks more like the villages of Granada and Murcia than the rest of the province, and has a notable parish church which itself has a most notable frontage.

Maria originates from a small farmstead of Arab herders and loggers who settled in the Cerricos. The first settlements of the Neolithic era were in a belt stretching from Micena to the plains of Topares. During the Roman period there was a strengthening of the agricultural sector, boosted by the opening of the routes of communication with the Roman roads.

But it was to be in the period of Al-Andalus when the real development of the town was to begin, together with the development of organised and irrigated agriculture. However, as the town was in a border zone between the kingdoms of Murcia and Granada, there was continued looting during the XIV and XV centuries.

With the Christian conquest in 1488, the Catholic Monarchs give this county the Conde de Lerin and later to the Marquis of Vélez. The town was granted independence as a municipality in 1634, which gave Maria an economic boom and made it an important town in the area.

There was a glass manufacturing industry in Maria, but the manufacturing process was archaic, and poor marketing contributed to the decline and eventual closure of the furnaces, by 1800 the industry had ceased completely.

The nineteenth and twentieth centuries showed a gradual decline in the population of the town, but the creation of the María-Los Vélez Natural Park has generated increased investment and visitor numbers, and there are now high hopes for the future of the area and the town.

Maria Monuments

Shrine of Our Lady the Virgen de la Cabeza, sixteenth century.

Parish Church of Our Lady of the Incarnation, sixteenth century.
Mudejar style. (One of the outer doors has a shield and a sundial. )

Watchtower. (in Balsain.)

Archaeological Sites

The Pasic. (Iberian settlement)

The Alfahuir.
Roman coins have been found dating back to the Roman emperors Arcadius and Nero.
Haza Cave.
Neolithic cave paintings.

Arab cisterns.
In Zalay.

Town planning

Pilar de la Plaza.

Casa de la Tercia, eighteenth century.

Meson del Marques, eighteenth century.

Water mill.

Gastronomy

Sausages. Migas. Colorao garlic. Cabañil garlic. Olla Gitana. Local stews.

Pepper and tomato cake.  Remojón Pingote. Gurullos with hare.

Sweets: Cakes, chips.  Porridge cakes. Butter cakes. Crespillos.

Directions

Exit Almería. Take Carretera de Granada. Cross Huércal of Almeria. Go straight on. Take the national road N-340 direction: Huércal de Almería – Almería – E-15 – N-340 – Nijar – Murcia. At the roundabout, take exit 1 Continue: A-92A in the direction: A-92 – Benahadux – Guadix. Pass Benahadux. At the roundabout, take exit 3 Continue along: A-92 heading towards Guadix – Granada. Take the exit towards: Exit 373/376 – Tabernas – Murcia – N-340a. At the roundabout, take exit 2 Continue: N-340A. Pass near Tabernas. At the roundabout, take exit 4 Continue along: A-349. Pass near Tahal: A-334. Turn left: A-399. Pass Chirivel Partaloa. In Chirivel, take Avenida de Andalucía. Take A-92N. Take the exit towards: Exit 404 – Velez Rubio – Vélez Blanco – Maria – service road – Parque Natural Santa Maria-Los Vélez – A-317. Cross Velez Rubio. Take A-317 and arrive at Maria.

Distances

Orce 30 km
Almeria 154 km
Huéscar 45 km
Fuensanta 31km
Vélez Rubio 15 km
A 33 km Chirivel 33 km
Puerto Lumbreras 42 km


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