Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Dalías (Alpujarra Almeriense)

Dalías is a town in the province of Almería. It consists of two main areas - Dali and Celín. Sitting as it does in the foothills of the Sierra de Gádor, Dalías is often considered part of the Alpujarra Almeriense. Certainly its northern boundaries are extremely picturesque – the mountains loom over the town and the Celín area is extremely rural and the Celín Recreation Area is a pleasant place for a picnic.

picnic site at Celín

South of the town is a different matter. The Campo de Dalías is, in my view, the ugliest area in the whole of the province of Almería with its ocean of plastic, the ubiquitous invernaderos. 30,000 hectares of agricultural greenhouses have, since the 80's, sprung up in the south western region of Almería. Maybe they are an improvement on the original Campo de Dalías because author Gerald Brenan wasn’t too enamoured with the area either. In his book ‘South from Granada’ he wrote “…a depressing sight met my eye. For fifteen miles the road ran in a perfectly straight line across a stony desert……it is a delta of stone and rubble pushed eight miles into the sea by the erosion of the Sierra de Gádor…”.

But back to Dalías – it has a number of attractive buildings – none more so than its main church, Iglesia Parroquial de Santa María de Ambrox. It is large – surprisingly so considering the size of the town and is extremely appealing both within and without. It has had a troubled history. It has been destroyed and severely damaged on a number of occasions since it was first erected in the 16th century. It was first occasion was during the Morisco rebellion in the Alpujarras in 1568. An earthquake caused its complete destruction in 1804 and as recently as 1993 a fire caused extensive damage. Today, it is a delightful building and is situated in an attractive plaza close to the town hall. 

Iglesia Parroquial de Santa María de Ambrox

A short walk away, is the Casino de Dalías which was built in the early twentieth century but which resembles a nineteenth-century style town house. It has an ornate façade and is the hub of the social and cultural life of the town with dances and concerts.

One of the great assets of towns located in the Sierra de Gádor is water. There are many fuentes in the Dalías area and the town council have installed signs to accompany a tourist trail that incorporates twenty of these watering places. The trail is called ‘La Ruta de las Fuentes de Dalías’. It starts at the Fuente de Peregrino and finishes at the Arroyo de Celín, a delightful recreation area for walking and for picnics (if you don’t mind ducks trying to share your food).

Fuente del Doctor Vicente Granados
Saint José María Rubio y Peralta
(picture in Iglesia Parroquial de
Santa María de Ambrox)

Of the famous people of Dalías, I will mention two:
José María Rubio (1864-1929) was the first and only saint born in the province of Almería.
Juan Callejón Villegas, a 19th century diplomat, the great great grandfather of actress Helena Bonham Carter.

Robert Bovington
Roquetas de Mar Nov 2011

Ayuntamiento de Dalías

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