© © Discover Los Velez

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www.losvelezrural.com

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Los Vélez, known as the “Puerto Oriental de Andalucia” has always been a stepping stone between the East and the South of the Iberian Peninsula. The area was an important nucleus of population in prehistoric times. Its mountains, forests, springs, plains and particularly it’s natural resources and biodiversity attracted inhabitants to the area more than 18,000 years ago.

The oldest signs of prehistoric life are testified by the numerous archaeological remains from Paleolithic and Neolithic times that have been excavated from the many sites in the area, including ‘Cueva Ambrosie’, ‘Cueva del Gabar’, ‘Cerro de las Canteras’ and ‘Cuevas de los Letreros’.

 

 

These earliest cultures were followed by the Iberians, Romans, Visigoths and Moors. The Romans built the Via Augusta, which crossed the area and was responsible for its economic development. Signs of Roman occupation are visible all over the area including a sculpture of Dionysus, dating from the 2nd Century A.D. which was discovered at El Villar in Chirivel, and has now become the symbol of the village. Later the area played a defensive role for the Moors, in the battle to stop the Christians penetrating the kingdom of Granada.

 

Vélez Blanco surrendered peacefully to the Catholic Monarchs in 1488. In 1506 Don Pedro Fajardo and Charcón first Marquis of Los Vélez and Governor of the Kingdom of Murcia, was given the Town of Vélez Blanco as a reward for his assistance in the suppression of the Moorish rebellions in the lands of Andalucia. He ordered the construction of the Castillo de Fajardo, better known as Vélez Blanco Castle, to be built on the site of a Moorish Fortress on Mount Mahimón. It became one of the most difficult and unassailable castles in Andalucía.

The town of Vélez Rubio was later incorporated in the Marquiss Estate along with the villages of María and Chirivel, and the four towns/villages now make up the region of Los Vélez

 

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Of the 79 examples of cave paintings found in the province of Almeria, 25 are in the region of Los Vélez. The best known cave paintings, El Brujo (the wizard) and El Indalo, named in honour of San Indalecio, who brought Catholicism to the South-Eastern part of the Peninsula, were discovered at ‘Cuevas de los Letreros’ declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Indalo, whose Iberian name “Indal Eccius”, means messenger of the Gods, has become the symbol of Almeria.

 

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El Indalo

El Brujo

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