The exceptional nature of Almeria makes it a paradise for tourism, as well as for scientific research. Learning the secrets of heaven, sea, and land from professional scientists is the best way to understand and enjoy the nature that surrounds us.
Calar Alto Astronomical Observatory
Calar Alto Astronomical Observatory is the largest observatory on the European continent, with professional telescopes that have an aperture of up to 3.5 meters. It is jointly operated by the Institute of Astrophysics of Andalusia (Spain) and the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg (Germany), and produces cutting-edge science internationally.
The observatory is located in a privileged place, in which the night sky is protected by law, as it offers exceptional conditions for scientific study.
One can take advantage of these particular conditions by embarking on a special guided tour of the universe. By observing the night sky, one gets to know the scientific work that is carried out in the observatory, so that one can achieve a better understanding of the universe around us. The visit consists of a didactic talk about the observatory and the scientific use of telescopes and light in astronomy, followed by a visit to the building housing one of the telescopes.
Macael Marble Quarries and Marble Interpretation Centre
Macael is inexorably linked to the word “marble”. Its quarries, very close to the urban area, have been exploited since the Roman occupation. However, it was in the Muslim era when there was a greater continuity in extraction.
Currently, Macael is the largest producer of marble in Spain, as well as the second-largest producer in the world. Its quarries occupy an area of 6,192 hectares, with estimated reserves of 40 million cubic meters.
Marble Interpretation Centre
The Marble Interpretation Centre fulfils a triple function as a visitor reception centre, a tourist information point, and an interpretive space that enables a contextualization of the Macael marble culture.
Inside, the marble culture is interpreted starting with its traditions and history, the methods and utensils that were used for its extraction and transformation, the evolution in the transport of the material, the physical characteristics of the marble blocks, the modern extraction process, and the methods used in the transformation subsector today: the elaboration factories, the stone mill and craft workshops, and the presence of Macael marble in famous constructions throughout history and around the world. The experience ends with a look into the future, with innovation in the stone industry and artificial stone.
Guided Tours (Marble Interpretation Centre + Quarries)
In the guided tours organized from the Marble Interpretation Centre, several quarries are visited, explaining "in situ" the extraction process, both ancient and modern. The tours also offer the opportunity to experiment, i.e., practicing the ancient communication system in the quarries by using "caracolas", the process of "zoblar" the marble with the use of “pinchotes” and “almaina” and approaching a spectacular marble bench.
Almeria Solar Platform
The Almeria Solar Platform is the largest European Centre for Research and Technological Development of Applications of Concentrated Solar Energy. In its over-30-year history, the Almeria Solar Platform has explored the use of solar energy for applications such as electricity generation, hydrogen production, water treatment, desalination, bioclimatic architecture, and the study of materials.
A visit to the Almeria Solar Platform is essential for anyone interested in renewable energy and its applications. The activity includes a guided tour of the testing facilities, the projection of an explanatory video, and interactive demonstrations.
The Almeria Solar Platform has magnificent facilities:
CESA PLANT 1, inaugurated in May 1983, demonstrates the viability of central receiver solar thermal plants in the production of electricity.
CAPSOL INSTALLATION: Installation of solar thermal concentrators for testing under real operating conditions of small high-precision parabolic trough collectors.
FRESNEL PLANT: Pilot plant for the demonstration of Fresnel linear concentrator technology.
DISS EXPERIMENTAL PLANT: The first facility in the world where the process of the two-phase water/steam flow has been studied under real insolation conditions.
SOLAR FURNACE FACILITIES, where concentrations greater than 10,000 soles are reached, with the highest energy levels achievable in a solar concentration system.
TESTING INSTALLATION OF PARABOLIC DISCS WITH STIRLING ENGINES.
HTF TEST LOOP OF AGING OF MATERIALS.
UNIT OF ENVIRONMENTAL APPLICATIONS OF SOLAR ENERGY ORIENTED TO DESALINATION PROCESSES.
SOLAR WATER TREATMENT UNIT, To explore the chemical possibilities of solar radiation, and especially its potential for the detoxification and disinfection of water.
LECE LABORATORY AND ALFRISOL BUILDING: Energy efficiency unit in buildings.