Purchena – Sierra de los Filabres – Almanzora Valley
Purchena is a beautiful town at the foot of the Sierra de los Filabres, in the mid region of Valle del Almanzora, in a landscape full of forests that climb towards the mountains, contrasting with the rest of the municipalities in the country, where the landscape is drier.
The town of white houses huddled together, tranquil and beautiful, is nestled at the foot of a hill and there is a considerable Arab legacy. Worth visiting are the Water Tower, the Alcazaba (fortress), the Municipal Museum of Islamic Archaeology and the Church of St. Ginés.
In Purchena there are lots of archaeological remains from all the cultures that we know were of great importance to its history. Luis Siret and walked around Purchena in the 1890’s, exploring these sites. From the Copper Age there are remains of a city in the Churuletes, with its walled enclosure and large necropolis. Siret excavated from the dolmens many fine vessels which are now in the National Archaeological Museum, and nearly a dozen figurines of slate, marble and limestone. The settlement extended as far as Jocaya, El Puente de la Lampara, Los Llanos de la Atalaya, etc.
Remains of hand mills have been found in the mountains of the Alcazaba, together with stone axes, bone awls, pottery, etc, from the Argar culture back in the years 2500-2000 AD. From the Roman era remains of many large towns have been found, as in Onega or Rambla de Huit.
During the Taifa era the kingdom of Almeria was prominent in the Islamic world, many famous men lived in and around Purchena, particularly great poets as Abu Abd Allah ibn Muhammad ibn Khalis, Ibn Al-Tujibi Aiyas, or the great Ibn Abu Berkr Thofail, who became a fine doctor and secretary to the Almohad Sultan Abd al-Mumin.
Queen Isabella herself had to go personally to have the city handed to the Crown by the mayor and to attest to the rights of the local populace.
Another event worth mention is that Purchena had been the chief town of the Moorish revolt, and it was during this period that many of the famous Moorish fiestas were held, according to Gines Herez, when Aben Humeya held athletic competions, with music and dance, participated in by Moors from Granada, Baza, Guadix, Almeria and Las Alpujarras, together with soldiers from as far away as Turkey.
Parish Church of San Ginés, sixteenth century.
Construction began 1550. The builder was the famous architect Juan de Orea. His style is Renaissance with influences from Moorish Granada. Declared a Historic-Artistic Monument in 1983. The façade is decorated with coats of arms. Inside there are frescoes from the seventeenth century, Mudejar style ceiling and embossed silver tabernacle. The Church is built on what was the Mosque of Purchena, one of the finest and most beautiful in Al-Andalus, in the words of the writer and traveler Ibn Battuta in his book “Through Islam.”
Begun in 888 , reached its peak in Moorish times. Today only remnants of dwellings, a cistern, a bathroom, the walls and a tower, known as Water Tower, which was renovated in 1997 and is a magnificent piece of hydraulic engineering. Its uniqueness was to have an indoor drinking water reservoir that supplied both the inhabitants of the fortress- like city and the outlying area. Today little remains, just over half the total height of the tower which once was more than 13 metres high with three floors and four gateways.
Ermita de la Virgen del Carmen. (convent)
Built on the remains of an ancient shrine of the sixteenth century.
Cerro del Castillo.
Iberian, Roman and Arabic.
From the Neolithic to the Roman ages.
A well preserved walled city, the necropolis, dolmens, numerous bell-shaped cups, figurines of slate, etc.
Fuente de San Ginés (siglo XIX)
This popular fountain was built in 1887 and restored in 1999, of two channels, located on a white marble front by Macael, under these channels there are four support columns, also in marble.
This House is a building of considerable proportions, representing the popular and elegant architecture of the eighteenth and nineteenth century in Purchena. Declared a historic-artistic site, it was begun in the early eighteenth century. Inside is a small courtyard with marble columns eight feet high and nearly three hundred years old.
Municipal Archaeological Museum. Plaza Larga, 1.
Exposed parts of the prehistoric times, Roman and Arabic al-Andalus.
The cuisine is representative of the rich cuisine of Andalusia and Almeria. Typical dishes are wheat porridge (with milk or paprika) and wheat crumbs, fried rabbit or pork.
Locals still practice the ritual slaughter, which is done before Christmas. At the same time they often eat a stew of breadcrumbs with chops and sausages and small cakes made of pork rinds for dessert. At Christmas you will find typical homemade lard cakes. For Lent cod balls or “empedrado” (rice with cod and beans).
In summer it is customary to make gazpacho and grilled salad. Also, as dessert, fruit produced in abundance by local farms. From the bakery there are outstanding “hornazos St. Marcos,” dumplings and fried donuts, served at Easter. A mention must be made of the local wines, the sweet white homemade wine, also a drink made from grape juice and brandy.
Exit Almería direction: N-340 – Murcia – Pass Almería – A-92 – Granada . Take the exit towards: Exit 453 – Viator – Pass Military Base – A-92 – Guadix – Granada. At the roundabout, take exit 4 Continue along: A-92. Take the exit towards: Exit 373/376 – Tabernas – Murcia – N-340a. Pass near Tabernas, Benitorafe and Macael . Follow signs to Olula del Rio, then follow signs to Purchena.
Distances from Purchena
Sierro 6 km
Tíjola 8.5 km
Olula del Rio 7km
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