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 Almería, Mirror of the Sea

           If you were asked for a list of tourist attractions in Andalucía, it is
           not likely that Almería City would appear on that list. You may
           mention the Cabo de Gata, just a few kilometres east, or
           Tabernas just a few kilometres north, but Almería itself?
           At the moment there are only a few decent hotels so the city is
           not crowded with tourists, but that will change as the authorities
           are trying to put Almería on the tourist map. In the last few years,
           the city has improved dramatically with modern restaurants in the
           cloisters surrounding the Cathedral brightening up what used to
           be a dark, uninviting area. The main street through the city,
           Avenida de Federico Garcia Lorca, is a modern, tree-lined
           boulevard with cafes, restaurants and bars with other streets
           branching off full of designer shops and boutiques.
           In the days of the Córdoba Caliphate, Almería was called Al
           Mariyat, (Mirror of the Sea) and was one of the major ports in
           Andalucía with a thriving export trade in silk, cotton and brocade.
           Merchants visited Almería from France, Italy, Egypt and Syria.
           Today the port is still important, exporting the fruit and
           vegetables grown in the acres of plastic greenhouses that
           surround the city on three sides. To protect this asset, in 955 AD,
           the Moors built the Alcazaba. Today the Alcazaba, the second
           largest in Andalucía after the Alhambra at Granada, dominates
           the old town that clings to the rock below the fortress and the
           urban sprawl that has grown around since.

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