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richard davies

The desert of Tabernas and Sierra Alhamilla make up the incredible moon-like landscape that has inspired dreams and unleashed the imaginations of film makers the world over for the backdrop for their movies. Over the years the Tabernas desert has played host to over 600 productions!

The Tabernas Desert is situated between the Sierra de los Filabres to the north and the Sierra de Alhamilla to the south-southeast, isolating it from the humid winds of the Mediterranean Sea, in an area with little rainfall known as Levante. The desert receives about 14 cm of rain a year. Together, the high temperatures felt all year long (average temperature of 20°C) and one of the longest levels of sun exposure possible (3000 hours) produce the dry climate that gives rise to this true desert.

This environment is ideal for solar research which the Almería Solar Platform takes full advantage. The installation is run by CIEMAT, the largest centre in the world researching and developing concentrated solar radiation technologies.

Almeria Solar Platform takes full advantage of the relentless sunshine
tabernas panoramic.jpg
The town of Tabernas lies on the edge of the desert and is home to nearly 4,000 people
Tabernas is Europes only desert. As seen from Sierra Alhamilla the N-340 motorway skirts around the edge

The little rainfall that occurs is usually torrential, so that the ground, consisting of marls and sandstone with little vegetation, is unable to retain moisture. Instead, the rain causes erosion, forming the characteristic landscape of badlands. Arroyos formed by torrential rain harbor the scarce vegetation and fauna such as Swifts, Hedgehogs, Jackdaws, Pin-tailed Sandgrouses, Blue Rock Thrushes, Stone Curlews, Trumpeter Finches, and Crested Larks.

The Desert of Tabernas, because of its similarities with the North American deserts like the Far West of the American West, northern Africa, the Arabian deserts, and its lunar landscape, served from 1950s and is still used today for the shooting of many films and westerns. The spaghetti westerns were shot at the three main studios, Fort Bravo - Texas Hollywood, Mini Hollywood, and Western Leone.

El castillo de Tabernas

Ancient ruins of Tabernas castle

The Castle of Tabernas dates back to Roman and Muslim times,the town used to be an important passageway between the provinces of Almeria and Murcia. It was the head of the territorial boundaries by the Arabs. The Catholic Monarchs integrated it into their domains in 1489 through a deal, so it suffered no damage. However In the seventeenth century the monarchs began to lose influence, and the War of Independence began and many of the structures were destroyed.

The floor of the castle of Tabernas adapts to road irregularities. Among his most characteristic defensive elements are its six towers, of which today are still some remains. Three of them were solid and the remaining three were not. The building's interior was divided into two parts by a thick wall, in whose center was a circular tower. One of the parts of the castle served as place of residence and the other was used for military aspects. It also had some underground rooms that served for storing grain and other uses. These are still there, but are covered with large grills to prevent people slipping inside.

The view from the castle is the reward after a good walk
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