Níjar is not just a village. It is also an entire region which will take you a while to travel. But we assure you that it will be very well spent time!
The landscape you will find is arid like few others in Europe. Part of it belongs to the Natural Maritime-Terrestrial Park of Cabo de Gata-Níjar, with many kilometres of coastline, giant cliffs and seabed that is a real treasure. A blue sea that contrasts sharply with the brown colour of the hills and mountains, where the white of the beautiful houses of Níjar looks at ease.
It could be said that no historical period hasn’t left its mark here. In the necropolis of Barranquete, tombs more than four thousand years old await you, and there are also a few souvenirs of the Rome that dominated the Mediterranean from one end to the other.
But of course, what is most present here is the memory of Arab splendour. The cisterns and other hydraulic works that abound in Níjar owe much to that culture and its tendency to make watermarks with water. Something very useful in a dry place like this one.
We propose visiting around here the famous Cortijo del Fraile, which in 1928 served as the scene of a crime of passion: Francisca ran away in the morning of her wedding day with her cousin Francisco on the back of a mule. Not a good idea to choose such a slow saddle, because they got caught, they shot him … and they strangled her. But she pretended to be dead before being entirely suffocated, and so she survived. It was that story that inspired Federico García Lorca, the famous Spanish writer, in his play Bodas de Sangre (Blood Wedding), which was also taken to the cinema. And speaking of the seventh art, you should know that decades later, many of Sergio Leone’s legendary spaghetti-western came also from this place so it cannot be said that Níjar is short of real and fictitious legends.
There is no shortage of stories for the castles on the coast either. It could be French Ships or Berber pirates, by these waters always arrived dangers and quite aggressive people. So they kept building fortresses, some of them over old Muslim constructions, to dissuade those who were looking for easy looting. The castles of San Ramón, San Pedro and San Felipe are still there, with their intimidating look, so no one forgets what it was like not so many centuries ago. You should also see the Tower of Los Alumbres and the Church of Santa María de la Anunciación, which is as much a temple as it is a defensive bastion.
Do not forget to climb the watchtower, the only remaining part of the Moorish castle that defended the town of Níjar. Maybe you will discover from there some clue to the treasure that, according to legend, one of the caves of Cabo de Gata is hiding. And if you find it, you know … Let us know, just so to talk about some commission!