Vélez-Rubio, Los Vélez Region
Velez-Rubio is capital of the region of Vélez and is located to the north of the province, on the border with the province of Murcia. In its municipal area you can go from the bottom of the dry riverbed to the plains and hills and from there to the cliffs and high altitudes. It is included in the Sierra de María-Los Vélez Natural Park, characterized by its continental Mediterranean climate, its rugged mountains and dolomitic limestone materials, for their forests of pines and oaks, and the rich archaeological of its sites and caves.
The town, situated on a hill surrounded by meadows, it is a collection of various styles and origins, according to the historical moment of the population. The most representative is for the XVIII and XIX centuries, coinciding with times of economic boom: the Church of Ntra. Sra. de la Encarnación, Historic-Artistic Monument, the Church of Ntra. Sra. del Carmen; and a number of buildings that are part of the domestic architecture: mansions, houses of large landowners and modern housings. This produces a set of enormous architectural interest.
The first compilation of some data about prehistory is offered by Rubio de la Serna in 1900, in his book “Monografía de la Villa de Vélez-Rubio y su comarca.” In it he notes the findings of some stone axes, usually diorite and some flint arrowheads. These notes are collected and amplified by Palanques Ayén in his “Historia de Vélez-Rubio” written in 1909. At that time Rubio de la Serna wrote about the stone axes, “The opinion is well known, a kind of superstition, which gives those stones atmospheric or meteoric origin, believing fallen exhalations during a storm; and hence called them sparks or stones of lightning, flash of lightning and thunder.” Fortunately, since then, archaeology has evolved and nowadays allows us to draw the study of our ancient history in a more rational way.
Since we cannot spend enough time on it too much, we have to point out some of the most interesting aspects of recent research. In the municipal area there are known archaeological sites that permit us to affirm that for more than thirty thousand years these lands were occupied by man, exploiting its resources, practicing hunting and gathering. There are not many evidence that Upper Palaeolithic, however, it is well represented in the nearby Cueva de Ambrosio (Vélez Blanco).
But they have been found sites from the Neolithic period, in the moments that already is practiced an economy of production and the population was sedentary. The excavation of Cerro de Los López, carried out in 1986, allowed to know how were the cabins of those moments, made with stone plinths and walls with wooden poles, reeds and strings, covered with clay and with a central hearth. Ceramics, lithic industry and fauna remains allow us to ensure that agriculture was practiced and mastered the domestication of animals, but was still hunting.
The great megalithic tomb shows us also about the collective burial of their dead, in a ritual full of symbolism that still escape us important aspects. Towards the half of the third millennium (2500 BC), there is an increase of population, judging by the sites documented in the Copper Age, when man begins to dominate the first metallurgic works. Some sites such as Cerro Redondo, are located around the breaches of malachite in El Cerro de las Minas. Others, such as Venta Picolo, excavated on the occasion of the execution of the highway, have provided important information about the organization of the villages in this age. There are many evidences of the occupation in the Bronze Age, found ourselves with population emptiness in the Iberian stage.
Romanization is well documented, both through the sources, with the passage of the Vía Augusta, contained in the Itinerarui Antonino, from what have appeared milestones on La Rambla de Chirivel and in the foothills of the Sierra de las Estancias, as for the proofs of sparsely populated documented in the archaeological explorations and in the excavation of the nearby site of El Villar (Chirivel).
There are many late Roman burials located in the municipality. Incidental to the current town in Las Peñicas, was discovered in 1986, an ashlar and a fragment of decorated shaft belonging to a Visigothic church whose location should not be far away. However, the more tangible physical evidences of the passage of history are the great buildings, forts and towers, for the Muslim period. Dominating the valley, the fortress of Velad Al-Hamar (El Castellón), key centre of the population until the end of the XV century. Watching the border lands, la Atalaya del Charche and La Fuente Alegre, basic components of the system of vigilance of the Nasrid border. Like we noted before, at the end of the XV century, with the fall of the Moorish kingdom and the reoccupation of the territory, the settlement of El Castellón is left and is developed the first urban plot of the present town of Vélez Rubio. Thus begins the story of an urban area that heads for the declaration of a Historical Site.
Parish Church of La Encarnación, XVIII century. Baroque and neoclassical styles. Inside, we can observe the main altar, made by Francisco Antonio Testa.
Convent de San Francisco, XVII century. Nowadays it used as a school.
Convent de la Concepción and Iglesia del Carmen, XVI and XVII centuries.
Church of La Inmaculada, the XVII century. Baroque style.
Church of San José, XVIII century.
Ayuntamiento, the XVIII century. Baroque facade.
Alcazaba. On the hill of Castellón, it is only retained part of the wall and a well of the lower part.
Watchtowers. Pimentón, XIII century, Charche and Fuente Alegre.
Plazas and Ermita de la Salud.
Carrera del Carmen.
With many examples of local architecture. In it we can observe the Antiguo Hospital de San José from the XVIII century.
Casa de la Tercia, XVII century.
Museo Comarcal Miguel Guirao. Dedicated to the archaeology, history, ethnography and nature of different periods.
Migas. Puchero. Egg soup. Gurullos (flour pastry, water and oil to form a crumbly balls or grains). Remojón. Pelotas. Choto a la pastoril. Trigo guisado. Fritada. Hornazo. Sweets: Roscos de aguardiente. Orange cakes. Almendrados. Suspiros.
How to get there
You have to exit Almería, then take the road to Granada and cross Huércal de Almería. Go straight on and take the national road N-340 towards: Huércal de Almería – Almería – E-15 – N-340 – Nijar – Murcia. At the roundabout, take the salida 1 and continue along: A-92A towards: A-92 – Benahadux – Guadix. Alleyway of Benahadux. At the roundabout, take the salida 3 and continue along: A-92 towards: Guadix – Granada. Take the exit towards: Salida 376 – N-340a – Tabernas – Sorbas. At the roundabout, take the salida 2 and continue: N-340A towards: Sorbas – Tabernas. Pass near Tabernas. At the roundabout, take the salida 3 and continue along: A-349. Pass near Tahal. Around Olula del Río, turn right: A-334. Cross Albox. Take ALP-301 and you get Vélez-Rubio.
Distances from Vélez-Rubio
Almería 140 km
María 15 km
Chirivel 19 km
Tabernas 110 km
Vélez Blanco 6 km
Olula del Río 61 km
Baños de la Fuensanta 19 km
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