The most beautiful Plazas (Squares) of Almería
(By May López-Fuentes)
A square is not simply a crossing point, but the cities’ little hearts because of all the activity that we can find there. They are the center of the cities, the places where the feelings pump, the meeting points for friends, witnesses of the first dates, the breaking-ups, the memories…Those are the places where the true stories are built, your own story. They are usually one of the most beautiful places and compulsory visited in many destinies over the world and, in our world, many remarkable squares have forged, and forge, the life of the people in Almeria.
- “Plaza Vieja” or “Plaza de la Constitución” (‘Old Square’), as it is usually called. The ancient Muslim bazaar is, nowadays, the main square in Almeria and it is the one where the City Hall is set; in addition, we can find in its center the Monument for the Martyrs of Freedom or “Los Coloraos”, informally called “El Pingurucho”. It is an emblematic obelisk, built in memory of the 24 liberal people that arrived to the Almeria Coast with red dress coats (origin of their name) to claim the freedom and the constitution against the despotic system of Ferdinand VII, being executed on August 24, 1824. The square is closed and gated and, in the north side of the square façade, “Convento de las Claras” is set, rebuilt after the fire during the Spanish Civil War.
- Plaza de los burros (‘Donkeys’ Square’): Because of the union of both squares, its remodeling had as a result one of the most visited areas of Almeria and its name is due to the former use as a stop for carriages. Now, completely pedestrian, you can walk, enjoy the terraces of the bars and pubs that surround it, enter in the Teatro Cervantes, visit the beautiful School of Arts we have or go out of the refuges of the Civil War.
- Puerta de Purchena (‘Purchena Gate’): In this place the entrance to the city was set during the Muslim ages. Now, remodeled since 2005 and with a bronze sculpture of Nicolas Salmeron walking, the promenade of Almeria and the boulevard of Garcia Lorca are joined there. Very near we find the entrance to the refuges of the Civil War just mentioned or we see the façade of the building where butterflies fly (also recently remodeled). It is said that the one who drinks water from the fountain set there, “El cañillo”, will marry a man/woman from Almeria. What do you think about that?
- Plaza de la Catedral (‘Cathedral Square’). This square conjoins the contrast between old and new and this makes it one of the most diaphanous and beautiful squares of the city. Remodeled many times, the current one is paved with Macael’s marble and surrounded by palms and box-shaped benches, becoming one of the coolest ones in summertime. The front is dominated by the Cathedral and at the foot of the tower there is an imagen of the bishop Diejo Ventaja Milan, martyred in August of 1936, during the burning of churches and convents in Almeria during the Civil War. The Episcopal Palace, the Priestly House “San Juan de Avila”, and the Hotel Catedral have their facades in this square.
- Plaza de las Velas y Plaza Circular: As a good coast-city, it is compulsory for its inhabitants, to conjoin the city and the sea. This square gets it by means of the Boulevard Federico Garcia Lorca. The “Fuente de los Pueblos de la Provincia” is set on it. The “Plaza Circular” closes the Promenade of Almeria at the South.
- Plaza de los Peces (‘Fish Square’): Set in the Nicolas Salmeron Park, is the “Southern Door” to enter in the historical center of the city. Its name is due to the fountain designed by the architect from Almeria, Guillermo Langle Rubio, designer and restorer of XX century emblematic local monuments: the Basilica of the Virgen del Mar, the anti-aircraft Refuges of the Civil War, the School of Arts, “La Salle” school, and the old Bus Station.
- Plaza Flores (‘Flowers Square’): Previously, the most characteristic feature of this square was that the Hotel Torreluz was set on it. However, some years ago, the sculpture of the Beatle John Lennon was sat there in memory of his stay in the city. Who has not taken a photograph with him yet?
- Plaza de San Pedro (Saint Peter’s Square): The current square was built as it is nowadays in 1848, because previously both the Church and the monastery of San Francisco, ordered by the Catholic King and Queen in the place of the old mosques and Muslim houses, were heavily damaged by the earthquakes in 1790. It has had many names. Firstly, it was called “Plaza de Sartorius”, but later, in 1862, it was called “Plaza de Isabel II”, and, finally, in 1868, “Plaza de la Libertad”. At the end of the XX century, it was remodeled again to build an underground parking, staying as it is nowadays and finally known (by now) as “Plaza de San Pedro”.
- Plaza del Educador. The “Plaza Juan Cassinello”, name of the architect of the Banesto Building, is more known as “Plaza del Educador”. It is set in the Promenade of Almeria and in front of the Correos building. An statue of 1969 pays tribute to the figure of the teacher, represented by a professor teaching his pupils.
- Parque Nicolás Salmerón: Our park, the one that, for many years, has been the meeting point for the young people on weekends nights. Set between the seaport and the city, it is divided in two parks, the old and the new one. The “Parque Viejo”, as it is commonly known, is next to the seaport. The environment is full of centenary trees, fountains and ponds, together with urban furniture and rows of palm trees. On the other hand, El Parque Nuevo is a redesigned zone decorated with ponds and fountains. It starts from the roundabout of the Fishes and finishes in the Avenue of “La Reina Regente” with a statue called “Puerta del Mar”. It is made of carbon Steel, it has formal and chromatic inspiration in the coral shoals from the Almeria’s depths, a work by the Spanish artist Juanjo Novella.
- Parque de las Almadravillas (The Almadravillas Park): This park is in the mouth of the Boulevard. It surrounds the “Cable Inglés” and the Monument to the Victims of the Holocaust from Almeria, formed by 170 columns made of concrete, one for eac victim of the Second World War. It is worthy to go for a walk there and take some photograph at the dusk.
- Plaza de toros de Almería (Almeria bull ring, arena).