La Alpujarra Almeriense

Canjáyar

Canjáyar

Yesterday we went to explore the eastern Alpujarra. We know the main part of this lovely area very well from our years spent living in the province of Granada. The eastern part of the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, La Alpujarra Almeriense, which extends into the Province of Almeria, is much less visited and new to us.

A little square in Alhama de Almeria

A little square in Alhama de Almeria

The first town we stopped at was Alhama de Almeria. The town has a pleasant feel about it and seems relatively prosperous. We just had time to walk along the main street and explore a few squares. A lot of the architecture here is modern but there are some interesting corners and the countryside around seemed fertile.

Canjáyar

Canjáyar

Leaving Alhama de Almeria, we dropped down to the green valley of the Rio Andarax and passed several pretty little villages overlooking the valley floor and fincas with fruit and olive trees. We stopped next at the town of Canjáyar which is built on a ridge overlooking farmland. Here again, fruit and olive trees are in abundance and there are many vineyards although some of these seem neglected.

The communal laundry in Canjáyar

The communal laundry in Canjáyar

Strolling around the town we were surprised how quiet is was. At the communal laundry sinks, a solitary women had just finished her washing.

Square in Canjáyar

Square in Canjáyar

Unlike Alhama, most of the town centre has retained its original buildings and traditional architecture. There are some interesting squares to explore.

Street in Canjáyar

Street in Canjáyar

Many streets were devoid of people. Just the odd cat to speak to. There were only few shops open and most of the bars were closed. We wondered where we could get a drink and tapas, so we asked a couple of old men who directed us to the Hogar de Pensionistas which was run by two friendly women. We asked why the town was so quiet. They explained that there was no work and the people here had no money to go out and eat and drink. We asked about the juicy, Almerian table grapes that were once popular in Britain and must have come from around here. Margaret’s father used to sell them in his greengrocer’s shop in Falmouth in the 1960s and they were extremely popular. The older woman said that she remembered them but most of the vineyards are now abandoned and they are no longer commercially produced. Property is very cheap in Canjayar. Reasonable houses and small farms can be bought for little more than 50,000 euros.

Cermic plaques depicting the traditions and history of Canjáyar

Cermic plaques depicting the traditions and history of Canjáyar

On the walls of civic buildings and public spaces ceramic tiles illustrate the history of the town. Here are a couple showing the once prosperous fruit industry and its associate craft of making wooden barrels. The grapes were packed into the barrels for export.

Old buildings in Terque

Old buildings in Terque

Returning from Canjáyar, we crossed to the other side of the valley and stopped at the little village of Terque to have a look around. Around the centre were a few small squares with fine old buildings but some were in a bad state of repair.

Cave dwellings in Terque

Cave dwellings in Terque

In the hillside above, clusters of cave dwellings were embedded into the mountains and it appeared some of them had been recently renovated. The hillside next to it, though, was covered with a huge apartment complex which was totally out of keeping. Two giant cranes stood by and there was no sign of work or occupation. Obviously another mad project from the property boom years and now paralysed through lack of money and buyers.

Patio in Canjáyar

Patio in Canjáyar

This was only a brief visit to the Alpujarra Almeriense but we will definitely explore the area further.

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About Margaret Merry

I grew up in Falmouth, Cornwall, England where, after leaving Falmouth High School, I spent a year at Falmouth School of Art. Then followed three years at Hornsey College of Art in London where I obtained a Diploma in Art and Design. I then spent a post-graduate year at the West of England College of Art in Bristol where I gained an Art Teacher?s Diploma and a Certificate in Education of the University of Bristol. I lived and worked in Truro for over 30 years and became one of Cornwall's most popular artists. My paintings have been exhibited in New York, Tokyo, Paris and London and have been bought by collectors from all over the world. I have published 4 books which became local bestsellers - 'The Natural History of a Westcountry City', 'Margaret Merry's Cornish Garden Sketchbook', 'Sea & Sail' and 'Tidal Reaches'. In 2002 I moved to Spain and now live pn a small farmer the town of Alhabia in the Alpujarra Almeriense in the Province of Almeria. I now get my inspiration from the dramatic scenery of Andalucia and its old cities, towns and villages which I usually capture in watercolour. I also enjoy portraiture and figurative art, particularly nudes and dancers. For these paintings I use artists' soft pastels. I have written and illustrated 3 children's books - The Wise Old Boar, The Lonely Digger and The Adventure of Princess The Pony - which have been published in the USA.
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2 Responses to La Alpujarra Almeriense

  1. Jose Antonio says:

    In this post, you are referred to Alhama de Almería, and after, the city is named as Alhama de Granada, this last name one doesn’t exist at all.
    Thanks for your excellent work, I enjoyed it so much.

    • Thanks for poining this out Jose. It must have been a slip as there also is an Alhama de Granada which we visited some years ago. I think if you do a search on the blog you will find the post regarding this

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