When you are booking ANDALUCIA VILLAS, Almeria is an interesting place to take a holiday, You might think of the Cabo de Gata only a couple of kilometres to the east or Tabernas only a couple of kilometres north, but Almeria? In the era of the Cordoba Caliphate, Almeria was known as Al Mariyat, the “Mirror of the Sea”, and was one of the leading ports in Andalucia having a thriving export exchange for silk, cotton and brocade. Retailers visited Almeria from France, Italia, Egypt and Syria. Today the port is still in use, exporting fruit and vegetables which are grown within the acres of greenhouses that surround the town on three sides. To safeguard this important historical resource, in 955 the Moors built the biggest fortress or Alcazaba in the country. Today the Alcazaba rules the old town that clings to the rock underneath the fortress, and also the urban sprawl which has grown around ever since.

The government are attempting to put Almeria on the tourist map but tourism is really a key factor already for those in the know. You are able to explore this city without fighting through crowds of coach trippers you may discover at larger cities like Granada for example. On the negative side you will find very few decent hotels and less good restaurants but everything can change for Almeria has got the potential to become a major attraction. Aside from the Alcazabar, the other primary feature may be the museum. It was purpose built during the mid 2000s to be able to house the exhibits from the renowned Copper Age site of Los Millares. For visitors interested in history, this museum is definitely an outstanding illustration of so what can be accomplished.

In the heyday the Alcazabar fortress could house 20,000 troops and among the primary problems overcome by the Moors was providing all of them with enough water within this city that sits on the fringe of Europe’s only desert. They built aqueducts in the hillsides to the north of the town using technology learned from the Romans and, with a complicated system of subterranean water cisterns or “aljibes” along with a water wheel, piped water to the fortress for drinking and washing in the bath houses. The aljibes can be seen today within the first portion of the Alcazabar that is now a superbly organized garden but used to be a significant residential area. While you go through the restored wall in the north end of the section, you will notice the wall built in the 11th century crossing the ravine to the east that massively extended the city.

The second section is the restored palace city. Palaces in this region housed the nobles and incorporated mosques, houses, baths and it is own system of aljibes. The palace of the Almotacin sits in the northern border of the section. Today the truly amazing courtyard remains with, in the south eastern corner, the Queen’s private bath. The third and greatest section reveals another type of architecture with circular towers. This area was built after the Christian monarchs overthrew the town in 1489. Access is by a drawbridge over the moat. In the huge Towers of Homage and Gunpowder you will find excellent sights of the entire Alcazabar and beyond towards the port and city. Should you look east when travelling from here into the city, you will notice what seems to become another fortress. This is actually the cathedral; built during the 16th century it worked as both a place of worship and as a lookout spot to give warnings from the Berber pirate attacks which were prevalent in those days. The four towers in the corners of the solid square building had a cannon installed for more defence. Although this is unusual to find in a restored chapel, should you go into the building you'll discover why it was thought necessary. Within the centre from the cathedral is a superb altar with priceless artwork together with a tabernacle created by Venture Rodriguez and works of art by Alonso Canon.

When you are in your chosen ANDALUCIA VILLAS, around the cathedral is the old town with typical narrow roads and bars and restaurants stashed in quiet cul de sacs. None look very appealing initially but the local places are often where one can sample the best regional cooking. If however you walk onto Avenida de Federico Garcia, you’ll find a contemporary tree lined boulevard with coffee shops, restaurants and bars.

Author's Bio: 

Porsche is an avid traveller throughout the holiday region of Spain. She loves writing about all of those special hideaways we all would love to find so keep reading about all of her travels and things to do in this lovely country. At present she is travelling and writing for Akilar.com and telling you just why you should book your dream Spain Holiday Rentals home from the Owners Direct.