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Garrucha History

 First of all there are previous archaeological remains are scarce. Nevertheless, Garrucha has very old vestiges. There is a small prehistoric settlement that can be dated to around 3,000 BC. 

 Furthermore, about 500 meters from this settlement there is a tomb on the hill of La Atalaya. In which a two-edged flint knife, fragments of vessels, several steatite pearls, cardium and several human skeletons were found. All these objects are now on display at the Museum of the 50th Anniversary in Brussels (Belgium).

 Numerous Iberian and Roman coins have also been found.

 The Middle Ages

 The most antigup data of Garrucha is a medieval chronicle of the year 1327. Which says that a Castilian army found on the sea coast between Vera and Mojacar. A small village called Almoriac. 

 When Garrucha begins to have its own light is from the Castilian conquest of this territory in 1488. Then most of the supplies for the army arrived from Cartagena and Seville, and were unloaded in Garrucha.

 Since Islamic times there was a tower in Garrucha, which was located very close to the sea. It was a typical Nazarite construction made of strong tapial walls. It was probably built to protect the Muslim fishermen. This tower fell in the earthquake of 1518.

 From its origins the importance of Garrucha was focused on fishing. Because from its beach the fish was distributed daily to the villages of the interior. This valuable source of wealth led the Catholic Monarchs to establish the tigual tax in 1494. 

 To this source of income we should add the one provided by the salt shop, known in the texts as “Casa de la Sal” or “Alfolí”. Because the salt carts went to Garrucha every day to buy salt and distribute it throughout the Levant. 

 Documents from the 16th century also mention the entry of wines from the output of esparto and marble in not insignificant quantities. It seems that at that time the beach of Garrucha was all full of sand.

 Despite this natural wealth, Garrucha did not become a large town until the beginning of the 19th century. Because of the attacks of the Berber pirates. There were numerous times that the Maghribians attacked the fishermen

 This is why in 1766 a “barrack barracks” was built in Las Escobetas, of which nothing remains standing. It was a provisional military building, until the castle or the coastal battery was built.

 Therefore, it will be from then on that Garrucha will start to grow, breaking the atavism of insecurity.

 

What to do and visit in Garrucha

 It is a town that offers to spend in it some incredible days full of sun, baths in its beaches, tourist and cultural visits, to savor a rich gastronomy coming from its sea.

In Garrucha we can take a walk along the promenade, swim in the beaches or visit some of the monuments.

The Castle of Garrucha

The Castillo de Jesús Nazareno, also called Castillo de las Escobetas, dates from the 18th century. Its objective is to defend the population from Berber pirate attacks. It has a semicircular battery of artillery and two circular towers. 

In addition, in the middle of the 19th century it was occupied by the carabinieri corps. It was also the headquarters of the Civil Guard. But nowadays it is the Nautarum Fishing and Marine Environment Interpretation Centre.

The castle is also used for exhibitions, concerts, celebrations, etc. It is an Asset of Cultural Monumental Interest. 

Monument to the Virgen del Carmen

As a good fishing village it has a monument to the Virgin of Carmen. Which is a sculpture with the image of the Virgen del Carmen. It is also made of white marble from Macael. It is in the promenade next to the beach.

Old Chimney

The Old Chimney, or the Calvary, was built at the top of the village at the end of the 19th century. To get the fumes out of the lead smelters. It has the shape of a pyramid and a height of 72 metres. It is an emblematic symbol for the miners of Garrucha. 

Garrucha Town Hall

The Town Hall of Garrucha is located on an old salt warehouse (Alfolí) since 1875. 

Church of San Joaquin

The Church of San Joaquin from the year 1861. Which is in the upper part of the village. It was also inaugurated in 1861 without being finished. The construction was finished in 1867. In addition, inside the church there are images of Jesus the Nazarene, Our Lady of Sorrows, Christ of Mercy, St. Joachim, Our Lady of Pilar, Our Lady of Mercy, etc. 

The statue of Antonio Cano

The Monolith of the Poet Antonio Cano Cervantes, is a bronze bust of the poet Antonio Cano Cervantes. In the Town Hall Square since August 27, 2000. 

The Hermitage of Carmen

Dedicated to the Virgen del Carmen, patron saint of fishermen and the municipality. Also in the altar, we can see the images of the Virgen del Carmen, the Veronica, Our Lady of Bitterness, the Christ of the Expiration, the Christ of Forgiveness. It also houses paintings representing the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus and that of the Virgen del Carmen.

Pedro Gea Square

Pedro Gea Square is a square with modern architecture. It is composed of triangular shaped fountains made of wood and glass, benches, etc. It is the main square of the town.

The Monument to the Fisherman

It is a white marble sculpture, designed by María Ángeles Lázaro Guil. In recognition of the work of the fishermen and men of the sea of Garrucha. It is in front of the port

The Fish Market and the Port

La Lonja y Puerto, built in 1995, replacing the old building from the 50’s. Every day fish and seafood is brought to the market for auction. It is also the second most important port in the province after the capital Almería.

 

Typical food in Garrucha

Garrucha is the Mecca of fish

Garrucha is a fishing village. That is why its gastronomy is based on its first quality products.

Its red prawns and rock fish are true delicacies: 

  • gallopedro
  • redfish
  • snapper
  • grouper

All of them are usually prepared with white wine and olive oil.

Also the seafood stew, prepared with monkfish, emperor or mackerel with almonds, garlic and fried bread and its wine, is a tradition of the sea.

The Migas

Rainy days, although few, are excellent for preparing some crumbs. These can be made from flour or bread. Also always accompanied by sardines, fried bacon, roasted peppers.

Other typical dishes are gurullos with snails, casserole with a refried coloured pepper and garlic with rabbit or ribs.

And also:

  • garruchera rice
  • blank stock
  • noodle casserole
  • paddy rice
  • curd cheese
  • paprika with suckers 
  • air cakes

In addition we must emphasize the “tapeo”, an art in the many bars and restaurants of garrucha.

The Garrucha Shrimp

Garrucha’s biggest delicacy is Garrucha’s red shrimp. Which is very famous for gourmets all over Spain. It is also one of the main attractions of Almeria’s gastronomy. 

But why is it so exquisite? What makes it different from other red prawns?

The peculiar fishing grounds of Garrucha

The fishing ground where Garrucha’s shrimp is caught. It is characterized by having deep bottoms very close to the coast. This happens because the continental platform has little development and passes quickly to the oceanic slope. 

In addition, very close to the port of Garrucha begins the underwater canyon that characterizes this fishing ground. The most unusual thing is that less than a kilometre from the port there is about 200 metres of depth, which is the limit to which the underwater light reaches. At 10 kilometres from the coast the depth is 1,000 metres and at the end of the canyon’s journey, which is more than 50 kilometres long, the depth reaches 2,400 metres.

This cliff fishing ground is a perfect habitat for the red shrimp. Because thanks to its relief full of depths. In Garrucha you can catch red shrimp three miles from the coast, and in other places in the Mediterranean only from 14 miles.

Also important are the muddy bottoms which allow the red shrimp to breed in Garrucha in a spectacular way. The temperature of the water in Garrucha allows them to be found at a depth of about 800 metres in the warm months and about 500 metres in the coldest ones.

The result of this whole ecosystem is a large-calibre red shrimp with hard, tasty flesh. Their heads are of an exquisiteness and intensity that condenses the whole sea.

 

Garrucha Festivals

The Day of the Cross

First of all, the last weekend of April and the first days of May, the two Holy Week brotherhoods of Garrucha. Together with the Brotherhood of the Virgen del Rocío. They organise stalls and offer gastronomic diversity as if to provide music and entertainment to the youngest.

Pilgrimage (Romería)

The third weekend in October is the pilgrimage in Garrucha. Which begins by praying the Angelus at the door of the Chapel of “La Virgen del Carmen”. Then the parade begins through the streets of the town accompanying the cart of the Brotherhood of El Rocio de Garrucha.

The parade of carts, riders and people on foot starts in the village towards the countryside where the people of Garrucha spend the day. This is for coexistence, singing and dancing. But also for good food and drink to share with friends and family.

At sunset the party continues in the Chapel “Virgen de las Huertas” in Vera. Once there, the night of rociera coexistence between the brothers begins, with singing and dancing until late hours.

Holy Week

As in all Andalusia, Easter in Garrucha is characterized by good weather. And also by the processions.

This time of year offers the visitor an impressive range of culture, leisure and gastronomy.

In recent years there has been a great evolution of the Garrucha Holy Week and an increase in the culture and tradition of the brotherhood.

There are two Brotherhoods of Penitence in the municipality, the Royal and Illustrious Brotherhood of Our Father Jesus the Nazarene and Mary Most Holy of Sorrows. The other brotherhood is the Brotherhood of the Holy Christ of Mercy and the Virgin of Bitterness, founded in 1992 and which only carries the steps with braceros.

The bonfires of San Antón

The night of January 16 is a magical night in which the residents of Garrucha enjoy the party. Because in this party they tell anecdotes, sing and dance to the heat of the fire. This serves as a link between the neighbours and visitors.

The bonfires are made on abandoned plots of land in the village and around them the villagers gather to roast potatoes and meat.

The day of the old woman (El día de la Vieja)

The day of the old woman or “old remonona” as it is known in the Almeria Levant is a festival typical of this area. It has a pagan origin. Besides, its date is just 20 days before Ash Wednesday.

According to tradition, on this day all the families go to the country to spend the day from early morning until it gets dark.

San Juan and Virgin of Carmen, events in Summer

On the night of June 23rd, when the sun begins to set, the town’s beach fills up with families and friends. They arrive with food and drink ready to enjoy a magical night.

At midnight everyone comes to the shore to take a bath or simply to wet their feet. Also at this time the popular burning of the retired boat takes place. Then it is customary to throw something old into the fire to make a wish. This festival of pagan origin celebrates the passage from the old to the new.

The night of San Juan in Garrucha is a reference in the region and every year has more affluence.

On July 16th the procession in honour of the Virgin ends at the port. But in the port, the costaleros take the Virgin to a boat to start the sea procession.

Every year a different ship is in charge of carrying the image.

The Fair in Honor of San Joaquín

The Garrucha festivities in honour of San Joaquín take place in August, which is the month of greatest tourist influx. That is why it is one of the fairs with the largest number of attendees. Because nobody wants to miss the fair of Garrucha.

 

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