Rioja – Almeria – Andalusia
Rioja is located in one of the Andarax river valleys about 13 kilometers from the capital. Its population is scattered around the municipality in areas such as The Plaza, La Ermita, Mortero, La Chincha, La Fuente, Toril and Marraque.
The geographical situation of the municipality and its historical situation in the Andarax River Valley, a geographically defensible mound between the main river and Sierra Alhamilla, has encouraged the settlement of diverse peoples and civilizations from the third millennium BC.
Here, on the left bank of the river Andarax, along the road from Pechina to Rioja, stands the fort on the mound, which is enclosed by defensive ramparts, where the population had crucibles for melting metals. At this same site could be found many fragments of Roman pottery.
Their situation has favoured the settlement of towns throughout history, from prehistoric times to Roman times.
The area was at its peak during the period of Al-Andalus, but began to decline with the Christian conquest of 1489, Rioja then coming under the jurisdiction of Almería.
With the Moorish rebellion in 1568 and their subsequent expulsion from the Kingdom of Granada in 1570, Rioja was practically deserted as more than ninety percent of the population had been Moorish. On April 17, 1570, Don Juan de Austria, commanded by Philip II to quell the rebellion, came to live in Rioja. Repopulation began, and in subsequent years Christians came to depend on Gádor until Rioja’s independence in 1635.
Around Madoz, in the nineteenth century some farms in the mountains began to breed cattle, although the practice was limited. Also in the second half of the nineteenth century the economy came to be lead by the cultivation of Ohanes grapes, after the crisis of 1910. In the forties, after the war, to the seventies the area suffered serious emigration.
Today, economic activity is focused on agriculture; the proximity to the capital makes possible the implementation of industries in construction, together with associated “spin off”industry. Also in the area you can find the Alfaro baths, which have sulphurous water containing calcium, good for the treatment of dermatitis and respiratory catarrh.
Parish Church of the Virgen del Rosario, seventeenth century.
Virgen del Carmen Chapel
The Cerro del Fuerte.
Walled settlement that had crucibles for melting metals from prehistoric times.
Remains of Roman pottery.
Sausages. Alpujarreña fried meats. Choto cabañil with garlic. Stew of turnips with pork liver. Tabirnas colors (potato stew with red peppers, onions and garlic).
Sweets: Roscos Semana Santa (usually eaten at Easter). Soplillos, with egg and almond. Honey muffins. Donuts.
Exit Almería towards Almeria Huércal, pass and continue on highway 340. Follow direction: Almería – E-15 – N-340 – Nijar – Murcia. At the roundabout, take exit 1 Continue: A-92A in the direction: A-92 – Benahadux – Guadix. Continue along: A-92A, follow signs to Benahadux. Pass Benahadux, Rioja is 3km further.
Distances from Rioja
Gádor 6 km
Níjar 38 km
Galan 14 km
Almería 14 km
Alhabia 18 km
Pechina 4.5 km
Santa Fe de Mondújar 14 km