Vélez-Blanco`s castle was built by Pedro Fajardo following his appointment as “Marqués de los Vélez”.

Its construction began in 1506 on the ruins of an ancient and important Islamic fortress on the hill overlooking the town, ending it in 1515. This construction began in Gothic style. However, after visiting Calahorra`s castle, the structure was changed to Renaissance style.

Its “Patio de Honor” contains a rich sculptural decoration represented by fantastic figures combined with animal and plant elements. In 1904 its owners sold it to a French collector, who in 1945 handed it over to Metropolitan Museum in New York.

Another element to note is its huge “Torre del Homenaje”, which, with its 25 meters height, became the most outstanding element  seen from the outside.

It has been declared National Monument by the Spanish Government and Culturally  Significant Property by the Andalusian Government. In recent years Andalusia`s Government bought it.

Nowadays, this monument is used for cultural activities, like exhibitions or books presentation.

It is free to visit it.

BY JUAN CARLOS CORTÉS

The most popular monument in my region is Vélez-Blanco castle.

The origins of the castle date back to the 16th century.

In the 16th century it was conquered by the Catholic Kings, and from this moment, the castle belonged to noble families. It was rebuilt and became a palace where the Marquis lived with his family.

During the second half of the twentieth century this monument  was rebuilt thanks to the help of the authorities, although this was a private property.

For a few years the castle has been used as a tourist attraction.

Finally, in 2008, the regional authorities bought this wonderful castle, and I think this could be the first step to preserve this place and to turn it into the most important tourist centre of the region.

Inside the castle we can highlight the Renaissance patio, although nowadays, this work of art belongs to the Metropolitan Museum of New York and it is exhibited right there.

BY MANUEL MOLINA

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SABINA ALBAR

North of the province of Almeria, within the Natural Park of Sierra María-Los Vélez the natural monument Sabina Albar is located on a plateau over 1,600 meters high. This is a unique specimen which is estimated to be a millennium old. It made up of dark green glass, it has lots of long branches and is supported by a thick and sinuous trunk and bare roots stand at the base. The picture has an even more longevous/everlasting aspect. This tree is retained as evidence of the forestation that took place during the Tertiary period, which gave way to a hard continental climate with swings in temperature and periods of drought. Therefore, it is considered a faithful witness to the passage of history in these parts.

BY JULIETA SUÁREZ

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Did you know …that every year on the last Sunday of April, people from Vélez-Blanco go with their families somewhere in the country to have a picnic in the afternoon? They take a basket with a bottle of red wine, broad beans and the famous “Hornazo”, what is a kind of sponge cake with a whole egg inside baked together in the oven. First, they eat the beans and the egg and then, they have the sponge cake as dessert. This is a very old tradition and people still keep it alive.

BY SANDRA SCHIMANSKY

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The town of Velez Rubio was founded by Romans because the Roman road “Via Augusta” that joined Cartago Nova (Cartagena)  with Castulo              ( Linares)  went through Vélez Rubio. Possibly, in the Roman period the town was called Ad-Morum (next to the mulberry tree). After that, during the Al-Andalus period it was called Velez Rubio or Velad-Al-Hamar  which means “Red Land”  due to the big amount of clay in the ground in the area. At the beginning, in the Muslin period, the town was located in the Ballix fortress (today the ‘Castellón’ ruins) but after the conquest of the Catholic Monarchs in the 15th century the village was located in the current Fatín neighbourhood. Finally, it’s very interesting to know that the town gave a temporary refuge to Boabdil, the last Muslim King of Granada, when he was forced to leave the Kingdom of Granada.

BY NATACHA PALLARÉS



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Video about summer trip to the Emerald Island (Ireland)

A trip to Ireland from María A. on Vimeo.

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