With a landscape consisting of steep ravines, the bulk of the population of Adra is concentrated in the coastal strip. If you want to know more about the old Abdera, we recommend that you make the following visits:
The Church of the Immaculate Conception is one of the oldest historical monuments in the city of Adra.
Its construction dates from the year 1501, making it one of the first of seven holy temples erected in the Alpujarra
before 1530. It belonged to the Grenadian diocese until 1957.
Over the centuries, the church has undergone a series of modifications.
The first expansion of the church dates from 1599, when net fishing and cane sugar cultivation became popular in the area. The second modification was carried out after a Berber attack in 1620. In the18th century the church was demolished and the three current towers were built, and in the 19th century, the chamber of the Immaculate Conception was built by the new owner of the holy temple.
The Saint Sebastian Hermitage sits on Monte de Cristo in honour of the saint who was regarded as a protector against the plague.
There is evidence of its rebuilding in 1680 after the epidemic abated a year earlier.
In addition, in the lower level that houses the religious building, there are salting basins from the Roman era that were discovered in January 2018.
The main part of the chapel was expanded in the eighteenth century, during the ship building period, and the work preserved numerous Roman tombstones, both authentic and false, along with engraved prints of the city walls. These were attributed in 1794 to the Apostle Santiago, along with those that were inscribed with Latin texts.
Church of Our Lady of the Anguishes
The Church of Our Lady of the Anguishes is one of the oldest holy temples in the municipality of Adra, which dates from the 16th century.
It was rebuilt in the 18th century and consisted of a nave and two side chapels.
The church is located in Adra´s neighbourhood of La Alqueria, and it was originally built as a Muslim mosque, although it was converted to Christianity and dedicated to Saint Mary in the 18th century.
The reconstruction at that time was to restore the fire damage caused by Moorish attacks in 1570, and in 1738 it was then dedicated to Our Lady of the Anguishes.
In the Barranco de Almerin, this hermitage is the central location for the traditional festival in honour of Saint Isidore the Farmer. The hermitage dates from the 18th century.
It consists of a gable roof with Arabic tiles, topped by a small belfry constructed with simple and austere lines, powerful buttresses, a wooden entrance door, and narrow eaves (instead of the broad stone slabs that are more frequently seen in upper Alpujarra). The building is all whitewashed and surrounded by slate slabs, instead of the old and more traditional stone paving.
The wall is one of the most precious sites in Adra, and was declared as an Asset of Cultural Interest (BIC) in the monument category by the Council of Andalusia. The fortification was ordered to be built by Queen Juana in 1505 and took several decades to build. The remainder of the restoration work was carried out in 2008 by the regional government for the enjoyment of residents and tourists.
Originally, the fortress was irregularly hexagonal and had a perimeter of 475 metres.
Its function was to defend the coast after the conquest of the Kingdom of Granada by the Catholic Monarchs. It then became the object of numerous attacks by Berber and Turkish pirates during the 16th and 17th centuries. The urban expansion of the town means that in the middle of the 19th century, most of the wall was demolished.
The Watchtower of Guainos was part of the coastal defensive system built to protect the area from Berber pirates against the Catholic Monarchs in the 16th century.
Of cylindrical shape and 12 metres high, the tower is brick built.
Inside there is a first section of about 6 metres across and a main section with a vaulted chamber of 3 metres in diameter.
Access is through a door-window that leads to a staircase, then on to its interior, while on the outside it is surrounded at the base with a buttress through which you enter the historical structure.
Adra has several air raid shelters from the Spanish Civil War (1936-39). The main one is located under the Old Square
. It was used as a defensive strategy for protection of the civilians of the municipality after the aerial bombings that took place on 8 February 1937. This was just one day before the fall of Malaga.
Adra was under the mandate of the Republican Popular Front during the armed conflict, and its local leaders instigated the building of these shelters after the bombing.
These were built under the Old Square
in a gallery excavated in the slate rock and were constructed in the form of a U shape, with two entrances. For the first few metres, the tunnel was lower and more narrow, to minimise the risk of shock waves and shrapnel reaching the refugees in an explosion.
The population stopped going to them because of poor hygiene and overcrowding fears.
St. Andres lead smelting factory
The Saint Andres lead smelting factory in Adra was built in 1822 by Casa Rein & Cia: a pioneer industrial complex covering 4 hectares.
This was the point of shipment of lead to the European market and was the nucleus of large scale industrial activity since the exploitation of metal deposits in the Sierra de Gador
began in the 1920s.
In the following years, English coal burning furnaces were installed (1824).
In 1837 Manuel Agustin Heredia, a metallurgical entrepreneur, acquired the complex due to a fall in the price of lead. He introduced the most advanced technology to the operation and expanded production with bullets, lead, aluminium and the subsequent processing of silver.
At present, the Perdigones Tower, the Fabriquilla del Vinagre, part of the smoke condensation chamber and the Smoke Tower are preserved.
The sugar factory in Adra is one of the most precious industrial remains of the city and its construction dates back to 1909.
This was when the Azucarera de Adra, a cooperative formed by owners and farmers of the area, was created after the closure of the San Nicolas sugar factory at a time when sugar production was an essential element in the economy of the area.
The factory was in operation until 1973, when it was closed due to a shortage of sugar cane in the area and a lack of beet supplies. Thirteen years later in 1986, the roof of the central nave collapsed and part of the main façade fell in.
In 2003, the Municipal Corporation approved a restoration of the factory and the Alcoholera building to set up a business centre, together with the "Jose Oliva IV" Workshop School.
Puerta del Mar Square is named after the main entrance to the walled fortress
of Adra, which dates back to the mid-16th century.
Its purpose was for defence of the coastline after the capture of the Kingdom of Granada by the Catholic Monarchs.
At the end of the 17th century, various chapels were built therein to enable access from the street to attend mass.
The definitive configuration of the public space was finalised in the year 1884 after the purchase of several lots that have a boundary at the Natalio Rivas Carrera in its southern part. The square has been adopted by the City Council since 1937.
The Old Square is the result of combining two adjoining squares in 1865.
Their boundaries are separated by the Puerta de Tierra of the old walled fortress
of Adra, the town squares and Casas Consistoriales.
In its environs are the remains of the walled enclosure known as the Tower of Olvera, or the Tower of the Candle.
The square was a political, religious and military centre, which is evidenced by its buildings and architecture. The Town Hall was located there until 1937, as were the castle and the hermitage of Santa Lucia.
In 1930 it was officially named Plaza del Maestro Angel Ortiz de Villajos Cano, in honour of this pioneer composer from Charleston in Spain. He was born in Adra, and is renowned for being involved in the revival of Andalusian music.
The "Montecristo Hill" archaeological site
The Montecristo Hill is a hill located west of the town of Adra. Here there is a great legacy of previous civilisations, as remains of the Phoenician Abdera have also been found there: this foundation dates from the second half of the 13th century B.C. It was mentioned by several historians of antiquity, and has been declared an Asset of Cultural Interest by the Council of Andalusia.
At an elevation of 40 metres above sea level, several archaeological discoveries have been made at the site since the 18th century.
Later, in the 1970s, house structures of Punic origin dated from the 4th century B.C. were found there. Also, many other artefacts from the Roman period were uncovered during an exploration in 1970 that was directed by the archaeologist Fernandez Miranda. Another discovery made in 1986, guided by Angel Suarez, found tools and structures of Punic origin.
The Adra Museum is housed in a building dating back to the 19th century: an old manor house that belonged to the Trell family.
It consists of three floors on which visitors can explore the history of ancient Abdera. On the second floor, you can immerse yourself in the Phoenician and Roman periods by examining interesting archaeological pieces from the Montecristo Hill
. On the first floor, you can take a stroll through the wetlands of the Albufera
On the ground floor, the museum houses temporary exhibitions, a room with traditional and avant-garde Spanish and Almerian art works, traditionalist and orientalist paintings, a copy of Velazquez by Miguel Pineda, and a representation of the historical avant-garde era with works by Pablo Picasso, Rafael Alberti, Antonio Saura and Federico Castellon.
The Mill of the Place Museum houses the ethnographic section of the Adra Museum
, as well as the Cereal Cycle and several trades after being refurbished by the “Jose Oliva V” Workshop School.
The mill originally worked to grind wheat in abundance, and before its closure in the 1970s, it worked with electric power to grind corn. Its initial location was at the foot of the Montecristo Hill
and belonged to Mª Teresa Gnecco Costa in 1752.
Known as the Mill of the Villa, Montecristo or The Place, it suffered the effects of a flood in 1762, and in the 19th century, it was destroyed by another flood. For this reason, the ruler of Motril and his wife: Agustin Moreno and Manuela del Trell, built the current mill to protect it from floods and its construction began in 1814.
However, it could not be used until 1817 since Moreno's brother, Pedro Angel de Trell, filed a lawsuit against his brother alleging that the ditch and the arch through which the waters passed were erected on his property. This was later resolved through a friendly agreement.
Fisheries Interpretation Centre
The Fisheries Interpretation Centre of Adra features displays in its various rooms that record the seafaring tradition of Adra.
The exhibition shows pieces from its origins, passing through its Phoenician past that features net fishing boats, as well as the Greek and Roman eras of fishing. There is also representation of the traditional canning industry with the first productions of garum sauce that is based on macerated fish offal.
Other rooms show the evolution of traditional rowing and sailing fishing boats from the Phoenician period, and the current “traiña” artisanal fishing, as well as the commercial endeavours that support Abdera, with fishing activity being the main economic activity: mainly the salting factories. These industries were extended during the Byzantine, Visigoth, and Arab periods, and through to modern times.
In addition, there is a space reserved for the patroness saint of the sailors of Adra: the Virgin of the Sea, and also the patroness saint of all sailors: the Virgin of Carmen, installed by the Fishermen's Association in 1959.
The Albufera of Adra is a protected natural reserve located in a semi-desert environment. It is full of greenhouses, and is composed of two lagoons: the Albufera Honda and the Albufera Nueva, located between the mouth of the Adra River and the Llanos de Dalias.
This wetland is a resting place for birds that migrate between Europe and Africa, due to the presence of its permanent waters and the mildness of its winters. The area provides shelter for important aquatic bird life such as anatidae, where northern European and Asian species make their nests.
Species to be found here include the coot and the brown jalopy, which in spring are welcomed by the vegetation of the area which is composed of reed beds.