To know the past

The Sierra de los Filabres is a nature-watching paradise and especially for the bird-life. It is the largest mountain range in Almería Province and forms the southern limit of the Almanzora Valley. Its highest points are the 2,168 m high Calar Alto, “La Tetica” (2,086 m) and the Calar Gallinero (2,049 m).

Doorway

Doorway to a house

Yesterday Jesus Contreras of Oz nature & Wildlife and myself (Cabo de Gata Photography) visited Sierra de los Filabres looking for abandoned villages of ethnological interest and found something very spectacular that exceeded our expectations. We found an abandoned village about 500 years old built entirely from slate & wood. You can imagine that these buildings over time would have suffered some deterioration but considering the age of this village, the level of deterioration was relatively small. The norm with abandoned houses and to some extent villages like the “Ghost towns” of Rodalquilar, is that the graffiti artists move in and rightly or wrongly make their mark, souvenir hunters and people looking for building materials come and help themselves to slates, tiles, etc., until a village that has only been abandoned a relatively short time looks like it has been neglected for a 100 years.

Possibly the main thoroughfare

Possibly the main thoroughfare?

One of the "larger" houses

One of the “larger” houses

Basket made from esparto grass

Basket made from esparto grass

Not so in the case of the village we discovered in Sierra de los Filabres, possibly due to its extremely remote location – the roads and tracks to the village have long since been eroded and overgrown. Some of the buildings themselves were in remarkable condition for the age and I would never have thought they were more than 200 years old.

Many of the buildings contained artifacts of days gone by that were still perfectly intact, albeit a little dusty. What is interesting about some of the things we found, like for example this basket, is that today they are still made in the same way as this one would have been made. Surely a testimonial for these traditions? There are many villages in the province of Almería where you can buy baskets very similar to this and they will last for a very long time!

 Another view of the main thoroughfare?

Another view of the main thoroughfare?

Sunlight filtering through roof

Sunlight filtering through roof

Obviously we went into a few of the houses and again we were both surprised at the relatively good condition of the interiors for their age. Some of the houses still contained furniture which was also in remarkable condition! Possibly some of the buildings were still being used to shelter livestock?? There was certainly evidence of goats and straw placed in some of the buildings though it’s feasible it could have been wild goats and the straw had been there for quite some time.

Many of the houses had stairways that were perfectly intact and sturdy. The upstairs of this particular house only had about two roof slates missing but a fair few of the floor slates had fallen through over the years. Notice the beams and the condition they are in, not one of them was rotten!

Most of the houses although abandoned, had almost perfect roofs as you can see in this photograph. As previously mentioned, the level of deterioration was minimal considering the village most likely dated back to Moorish times.

Intact roof

Intact roof

Jesus and I spent a fair bit of time exploring this place, I personally could have spent all day here but the time came to move on.

From here we took lunch in a nearby town and slowly made our way back towards Almería via one of the high points of the Sierra de los Filabres. Some amazing views but unfortunately, a photograph does not do it justice, you have to be there!

The view

The view

Of course a day out is not a day out unless I take a few abstract shots and oh how I had plenty of opportunities! Here are some of those that I like the most.

Crazy hair-pin bends

Crazy hair-pin bends

Through the oblong window!

Through the oblong window!

Of course this WAS deliberate :-)

Of course this WAS deliberate!

And finally…

Photo by Jesus Contreras

Photo by Jesus Contreras

Please see also the Facebook page of Oz Nature & Wildlife and the website of Cabo de Gata Photography.

3 responses to “To know the past

  1. What an atmospheric place. I especially like the shot of sunlight filtering through the roof. I wonder what sort of wildlife you found recolonising this place?

    • Mountain goats, bats, poss wild boar and poss wild cats. The whole area is teaming with all sorts of wildlife but not nec. all living in the houses… def goats & bats though.

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