The region of Los Velez is located in the northernmost part of the province of Almeria. It has a total area of 1,145 km² endowed with a great environmental wealth, since there is the protected area of the Sierra Maria-Los Velez Natural Park. It offers stunning landscapes for the development of nature tourism.
This natural space limits to the north and east with the region of Murcia, to the south with the regions of the Almanzora Valley and the Levante of Almeria and to the west with the province of Granada.
It is formed by 4 municipalities: Velez-Blanco, a territory with ample artistic and cultural heritage; Velez-Rubio, which has architecture and urbanism worthy of admiration; Maria, a natural and archaeological area with great tourist attractions; and Chirivel, where there is a Roman site of great historical interest.
The historical ancestors of Los Velez date back to prehistory, as the primitive men used the rock caves of the territory to develop their communities. This is evidenced by archaeological findings of paintings made from charcoal mixed with animal fat.
This data indicates that the millenary tradition started more than 18,000 years ago. The first inhabitants found a paradise of fertile lands ideal for settling and prospering.
The archaeological wealth is appreciated in the 25 prehistoric caves (in Andalusia there are 79 sites of cave paintings of this type) found in the mountains of Los Velez. It was here where the Indalo
was found, a symbol which went on to be used by many in Almeria who believe it offers protection from misfortunes.
The painting of the Warlock was also found in this area, captured in the “Los Letreros” Cave. It is a space with historical relevance, where several representative drawings of Neolithic art and the Copper Age are exhibited. This cave became a National Historic Monument, a World Heritage Site and a Site of Cultural Interest.
Throughout history Los Velez has become a space where there are several elements of great interest regarding Almeria and all of Spain, such as:
- Archaeological sites with utensils and prehistoric paintings, recognized as a World Heritage Site.
- Various architectural constructions that are National Monuments.
- Historical sets with unique traditional characteristics.
- Elements of ethnographic heritage, including hydraulic mills, farmhouses and reservoirs.
- Dishes that make for an outstanding gastronomy.
- Sierra Maria-Los Velez Natural Park, a protected natural area.
The region of Los Velez is not only worth knowing for its archaeological wealth, but also for the magnificent views it offers of the nearby landscapes. Places such as the Sierra de Maria, the Sierra de la Muela, the Sierra Larga and Gigante and the Maimon represent natural spaces that have no comparison.
Here you can enjoy remarkable contrasts ideal for lovers of mountains and hiking, or simply for those who wish to get into nature and observe the hundreds of species of flora and fauna. It makes for a great opportunity to take impressive panoramic photographs.
Velez-Rubio is the town that serves as the entrance to Andalusia. It also constitutes as the head of the Los Velez region and opens the doors of the Sierra Maria-Los Velez Natural Park, a protected space since 1987 that consists of 22,000 hectares of land.
In this Natural Park you can enjoy a wooded landscape, with dense forests of Aleppo pine and numerous thickets of rosemary, esparto and thyme. Various species live there, such as hawks, eagles, owls, genets, squirrels and many other animals. Visitors have the opportunity to come into direct contact with nature to get out of their daily routine.
The Los Velez region is also characterized by the inhabitants preserving traditional customs and values. Although the four municipalities differ noitceably in several aspects, the sense of unity remains intact, since each of them makes up a part of the community.
This Almeria´s region highlights the beauty of its plains with mountains that rise up high. It constitutes a paradise painted white in the winter and with bright green and yellow lights found at other times of the year.
It also has numerous watercourses that cross the territory, bathing the remarkable vegetation that lights up with different shades of green, where all five senses are treated to a show at all times.
There is a lot to know about Los Velez and it easy lose yourself in its reality. Some options include trails, various recreational areas, animal life refuges, the Umbria de la Virgen Botanical Garden, the Interpretation Center of the Nature of Maria, and many other sites of heritage interest, such as the Castle-Palace in Velez-Blanco and the Church of the Incarnation in Velez-Rubio.
The region of Los Velez has the ability to make anyone fall in love with its architectural and natural beauties, all of which show a journey throughout history, from the first civilizations to the present day.