Roquetas de Mar, a Mediterranean city
The municipality of Roquetas de Mar in Almería is situated on the coast, on the western side of the Gulf of Almería. It is 18 kilometres away from the capital, although one of its tourist centres, Aguadulce, is just 10 kilometres away. Whit a surface area of 60 square kilometres; it is 7metres above sea level and has a population of 53,357 inhabitants around the middle of 2002. it is delimited to the North by the foothills of the Sierra of Gador and to the South by the Mediterranean Sea.
The foundation of the municipality of Roquetas de Mar breaks with clichés and can be considered as an important part of the historical future of the Region due to its geographical situation, dominating the coast, which will have an influence on the events of the Alpujarra as a receiver of numerous cultures.
Historical Outline of Roquetas de Mar
There have been Prehistoric, Iberian and Roman settlements along the coastline of Roquetas de Mar, highlighting, on the banks of “La Algaida”, an important town called “Turaniana” which was characterised because it took advantage of the sea resources, fish and salted fish.
During the 13th century, when the Kingdom of Nazari de Granada was created by Muhammad I, the area of Roquetas de Mar was an integral part of it, belonging to the “taha” of Felix. With the Christian conquest in the 16th century and the depopulation of the coastal areas, the defensive system was intensified, giving rise to a denser group of cylindrical crenelated towers. The tower of “Los Cerillos” is the only defensive testimony that is preserved, together with the watchtower, which was converted into the “Castle of Santa Ana” to guarantee the defence and salt trade, which was one of the sources of wealth of the city chests. Currently the castle has been restored by the Workshop School of Roquetas de Mar.
Its economy must be assessed as a paradigm of economic development through the use of its endogenous recourses, becoming one of the wealthiest municipalities in the region.
Its main activities are Intensive agriculture, an activity which is carried out in greenhouses under plastic, with a cutting-edge technological level in the Sector, and Sun and Beach tourism with a consolidated offer that wagers on the quality of it services. This interest is reflected in the management and development of a Tourism Excellence Plan, which has transformed the municipality into one of the most modern tourist destinations and a promising future. Parallel to this, the fishing activity provides excellent catches of a great variety of fish, which delight all and sundry.
Sun and Nature
Over the last few decades this economic metamorphosis has been accompanied by an unstoppable tourist development of the coast. This is due to its incomparable climate and its extensive beaches, and as a result, modern tourist housing estates equipped with the best services and hotels have been consolidated.
A privileged coast which also possesses, as a natural resource, the “Punta Entinas Sabinar Nature Spot” on the south-western side of the municipality. Here there are 1960 Hectares, which run parallel to the coast with an average width of 1000m.
Its privileged geographical situation, together with the diversity of environments and the exceptional climatic conditions, provide a high production of food. This factor favours the existence of considerable fauna,, with around 200 species of catalogued birds and specific flora of Savins and Lentiscus, which secure the dunes that extend from Punta Entinas to Punta Savinar, forming one of the best examples of dune ecosystems of the Iberian Peninsula.
Leisure and free time
Its nature, its landscape, its two marinas, its golf course, its many sports facilities, its surroundings…make Roquetas de Mar a “cult of leisure”.
The sea offers an excellent scenario to practise nautical sports. Dive into it and you will enjoy the sea breeze and the gentle lulling of the waves.
One of the most important religious celebrations is that held in honor of the Virgen del Carmen and Saint Ann, on 25 and 26 july, with a marvellous maritime procession with all the vessels of the area decorated all along the coast.
The day ends with games, open-air dances and great castle of fireworks. On 7 October the Patron Saint´s festivity is celebrated, in honor of the Virgen del Rosario with an open-air dance, a motor vehicle Gymkhana and prizes. Another of the tourist areas of the coast, Aguadulce, celebrates its Patron Saint´s festivity, in honour of the Virgen del Carmen, on 16 July with a peculiar sea-land procession, also with Open-Air Dances and ludic acts.
The night of San Juan (St. John) is celebrated on 23 June, alone the wole coast with bonfires that splash the crowded beaches with light and colour.
Easter in Roquetas de Mar has become one of the most important festivities in the Province. The brotherhood of the Virgen de los Dolores stands out due to the artistic quality of its images. On 29 December the traditional festivity of the “Moragas” is celebrated on our beaches, when both our people and visitors get together to enjoy typical grilled fish and meat.