The Bajo Andarax is a region of Almeria that has been populated by various civilisations throughout the centuries. Iberians, Romans and Muslims have been the dominant populations during its history, where the mines have contributed to their prosperity.
This region is located in the northwestern point of Almeria and consists of seven municipalities: Rioja, Gador, Viator, Pechina, Benahadux, Huercal de Almeria and Santa Fe de Mondujar. These are located along the two banks of the lower course of the Andarax river, from which the region derives its name.
The region of the Bajo Andarax enjoys a historical legacy that has its beginning in prehistory, when the ancestors settled their civilisations on the banks of the Andarax river. It is 67 kilometres long, and thrives even today, thanks to the water resources that provided for the development of the first settlements.
There are official records that show the emergence of important cultures thousands of years ago, such as the Millares that existed in the Chalcolithic era in the years 2700 and 1800 before our era, and the Argar, typical of the Bronze Age, which existed between 1900 and 1300 years before our era.
The first great transformation of the Bajo Andarax occurred a thousand years before the current era, when some villagers moved to create new rural settlements. From those movements, between 800 and 600 years before our era, the Iberian culture was established.
Using the Mediterranean Sea as a communication channel, the Greek, Roman, Carthaginian and Phoenician peoples also arrived. These, together with the Iberians, created new cities along the coast.
The Bajo Andarax area attracted the attention of the ancient civilisations thanks to its fluvial valley and the height of its hills. These two factors allowed the establishment of connected villages with a high potential for agricultural and livestock development, in addition to the fact that the height allowed building of observation points for greater control of the region.
The Iberians took advantage of this natural environment to build fortified cities that gave rise to the old Urci
; these people were key to the development of the customs and characteristics of the peoples that came later.
At the same time, the prevailing culture in the region influenced the strengthening of ties between the seven villages. The inhabitants of Benahadux, Gador, Huercal de Almeria, Pechina, Rioja, Santa Fe de Mondujar and Viator enjoyed life due to the fertile wealth of their lands.
Throughout history, the presence of abundant water has allowed the Bajo Andarax to provide a constant supply for the inhabitants, both for themselves and other nearby areas. The area of the Bajo Andarax has changed its appearance over time, because the Andarax river was originally navigable, which allowed the different populations to settle and expand throughout the territory.
Thanks to its geographical position, the Bajo Andarax became a meeting point for several roads where previous cultures of the region converged. In addition, it was an important transport link between Murcia and Granada.
The Bajo Andarax features a remarkable mosaic of landscapes with mountain ranges coloured in various hues by their minerals, while in its lower area it has extensive citrus crops, olive groves and vineyards that paint the fields in hues of green.
The Bajo Andarax was constituted on June 4, 1986 in the Commonwealth of Municipalities of Bajo Andarax, with the purpose of centralising a way of designing projects that solve the main problems of the population. Thereafter, for example, a drinking water distribution network and a buffer tank for several areas were built.
Gradually new facilities were added, such as sports and cultural schools, modern developments, recreation centres and various companies that offer great employment opportunities.
Both the authorities and citizens are currently working with the purpose of promoting the economic, social and cultural progress of the Bajo Andarax region. Each of its municipalities is endowed with a range of natural resources that are used by its inhabitants.
Its privileged location has earned popularity with the thousands of tourists who every year enjoy the diversity of its landscapes, cultural richness and historical heritage.