Vélez-Blanco, get to know this Almeria town

Velez-Blanco

The town of Velez-Blanco It is located north of the province of Almería, bordering with Murcia and in the region called, precisely, The Velez. Its municipal area is included in the Sierra María Natural Park, with its limestone mountains in which rock caves abound.

In fact, the area was inhabited since Superior paleolithic, although it took shape with the Iberians, the Romans and, above all, with the Muslims. These gave the town its arabic layout and built his citadel and its walls, making it almost impregnable. After the Castilian conquest, the town was repopulated and, already in the 19th century, it was provided with new crops and small manufacturing industries. Samples of all this have remained in Vélez-Blanco. Below, we show you the main attractions of the Andalusian town.

Cuevas de los Letreros and other cavities with archaeological value

Cave of the Signs

Detail of the shelter of the Letreros cave

The first thing we must mention to you regarding Vélez-Blanco is its group of caves with great archaeological importance. They house remains dating from the Upper Paleolithic and Neolithic. Many of these coats, like that of Las Tejeras, that of Las Colmenas or that of Gabar They are listed as a world heritage site.

However, there are two groups of caves that are most important. We talk to you, first of all, about natural monument of Ambrosio cave, a site dated to the Middle Solutrean period (about eighteen thousand years ago). Its inhabitants left us cave paintings, among which the figure of a horse in red ocher stands out.

Secondly, we refer to the Los Letreros cave, which is also classified as a world heritage site. Among his numerous paintings, which, like the previous ones, are part of the Rock Art Ensemble of the Mediterranean Arch, animal figures stand out. But, above all, you must look at the image of the Name it, which has become a symbol of Almería. It represents a man holding a rainbow in his hands.

Sierra María-Los Vélez Natural Park

Sierra Maria

View of the Sierra María-Los Vélez Natural Park

As we told you, the municipality of Vélez-Blanco is included in the Sierra María-Los Vélez Natural Park. It is made up of impressive masses of limestone that reach over two thousand meters and, sometimes, fall into vertical pits. You can see them in mountains like those of Las Muelas, El Maimón or El Gabar.

But it also has spectacular forests of Aleppo pine and oak combined with esparto, thyme and rosemary thickets. Mammal species such as the genet or marten, reptiles such as the Moorish tortoise or birds such as the falcon or the majestic golden eagle have found their habitat in these.

We don't need to tell you that you have wonderful hiking and cycling routes Around the area. For example, the one that takes you to the peak of the Backpack Prop, which passes through the impressive Alfahuara forest and also very close to the aforementioned Cueva de los Letreros. However, if you want to know more about these routes, you can go to the Vélez-Blanco visitor center.

Historic center of Vélez-Blanco

Avenida de la Corredera in Vélez

Corredera Avenue in Vélez-Blanco

After telling you about the natural and archaeological heritage of the town of Almería, we are now going to focus on its urban center. Due to the rugged terrain, it forms a homogeneous complex that has been developing between the 13th and 19th centuries. Therefore, it constitutes an amalgamation of medieval, Mudejar, Renaissance and Baroque buildings of great beauty.

A good example of this is The Alporchón, an old building where the irrigators of the area have met since time immemorial to share the waters. Furthermore, it is currently a interpretation Center about its use. But, above all, the best examples of the monumental heritage of Vélez-Blanco are those that we show you below.

Monumental enclave of the Vélez-Blanco castle

Velez Castle

Fajardo Castle

Also know as castle of the Fajardo, was built on the remains of the Muslim citadel that we mentioned previously. It owes this name to the person who commissioned its construction, who was Pedro Fajardo y Chacón, lord of the town when he was named Marquis of the Vélez by the Catholic kings.

The current fortification is a gem of the spanish renaissance Built at the beginning of the 16th century. It is made up of two buildings joined by a drawbridge that opens the way to the second one. The latter is the Fajardo palace itself and was configured around a courtyard of honor created with Macael marble.

However, you will be able to see the keep and other parts of the castle, but not this courtyard. At the beginning of the 20th century, it was sold to a French antique dealer and, after many vicissitudes, it is now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. On the other hand, the second building or military zone is a quadrangular castle more austere and equipped with areas for artillery.

Convent of San Luis

Convent of San Luis

Convent of San Luis in Vélez-Blanco

It is one of the main religious monuments of Vélez-Blanco. It was built at the beginning of the 17th century by order of Don Luis Fajardo, heir of the first Marquis of Vélez. It housed up to thirty-six friars, some of them highly regarded for their knowledge of philosophy, Latin and Greek.

Externally, it stands out its Gothic façade and its small Mudejar tower. As for the interior, you should look at its magnificent polychrome altarpiece, the work of James Vespolius, although only the second body is preserved. It also no longer has images that were attributed to Salzillo, nor with its magnificent 18th century organ. But, in any case, it is worth your visit.

The churches of Santiago and Magdalena

Church of Santiago

Aerial view of the church of Santiago Apóstol

La church of Santiago Apóstol It is the parish church of Vélez-Blanco and was built in the 16th century by the hand of Lope Sánchez Desturizaga, senior master for works of Carlos V. It is part of the Levantine Mudejar Gothic style and is distributed in a single nave with side chapels that are sheltered in the buttresses.

The wooden coffered ceiling also stands out, which responds to the aforementioned Mudejar tradition. In addition, the pilasters support semicircular transverse arches, as well as another transverse arch that separates the ceiling of the nave from that which covers the choir. Likewise, they had a major altarpiece, the work of John of Orea which was removed at the end of the 18th century to create the dressing room of the Virgin.

But his most precious work is the Santo Cristo de la Yedra, whose existence dates back to the 16th century, although the image that is venerated today is from the 20th. During the first fortnight of August, the festivities are celebrated in his honor with the washing of his sides with wine as the main ceremony. The call takes place Triduum Friday.

Moreover, the church of Santa Maria Magdalena It was built on an old mosque and also responds to the Mudejar style. Based on a tombstone that was found there, its construction is estimated before the 16th century. You will find it on the castle hill, although only its tower and some walls remain.

Caravaca pipes and other sources of Vélez-Blanco

Caravaca pipes

Fountain of the Caños de Caravaca

La fountain of the Caños de Caravaca It is located on San Fernando Street in the Andalusian town. It was built in the 18th century and has a unique decoration of brightly colored tiles. They make up passages of Quijote, as well as the Vélez-Blanco shield.

But it is not the only fountain that we recommend you see in the town. On Corredera Avenue you have that of the Caños de la Novia and near the spring of Canastera Ravine. It also has that of the Cinco Caños, built in the 16th century by order of the aforementioned Don Pedro Fajardo, first Marquis of the Vélez. It was recently restored and this allowed us to discover a nearby water tower from the same era or even earlier.

The Vélez-Blanco Town Hall, the Casa de los Arcos and other buildings

Velez City Council

Vélez-Blanco City Council

La House of the Arches It is currently a hotel, but was originally built as a residence for the wealthy. Torrente Villena family. It responds, therefore, to the canons of bourgeois architecture of the 18th and 19th centuries. For example, it has party walls or wrought iron on the balconies, but, above all, the typical patio and terrace of this area of ​​Andalusia.

For its part, the building of the Town hall It was built on the old prison in the 19th century. The architects of it were the provincial architect, Enrique Lopez Rull, and the constructor Juan Martínez Navarro and it was inaugurated in 1888. Likewise, next to the Padre Tapia square, you will find the Sliding House, which is a magnificent example of baroque architecture in the area and is also notable for its marquesal coat of arms.

Vélez-Blanco Renaissance and Baroque Music Festival

The Alporchón

El Alporchón Water Interpretation Center

Finally, we will tell you about the music festival that is held annually in Vélez-Blanco. It is already more than two decades old and takes place in the month of July. For their concerts, some of the town's main monuments are chosen as venues.

But they also organize conferences, round tables, interpretation courses and other events. All this with the participation of teachers and the best musicians. In this time, the event has become one of the references in Spain of Renaissance and Baroque music. If you visit the town in July, you can enjoy it.

In conclusion, we have shown you all the best things you can see and do in Velez-Blanco. However, since you are in Almería, we advise you to also visit other of the most beautiful towns in the province as Níjar o abrucena, without forgetting, logically, the beautiful capital. Come and discover this beautiful area of Spain.


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