Almeria, film set

Almeria has been a source of inspiration for a number of both national and international filmmakers, drawn to it not only by the scenery but also by the long hours of daily sunshine and by the great contrasts that allow them to shoot in a wide range of settings within just a few miles.

This is why many places in Almeria have been used as a natural set for filming movies, e.g. Sam Wanamaker’s “Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger”, Steven Spielberg’s “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade”, Ridley Scott’s “Exodus”, David Trueba’s “Living is Easy with Eyes Closed”, and the successful drama series “Game of Thrones”.

Cabo de Gata and, more specifically, Desierto de Tabernas, have been the setting for many legendary films, especially those starring Clint Eastwood, the so-called “spaghetti westerns” by director Sergio Leone.

It is surprising that so many westerns and great films like Lawrence of Arabia have, so far, failed to put Almeria on the map. Only now is the place starting to develop its full potential through a couple of theme parks, i.e. Oasys Mini Hollywood and Cinema Studios “Fort Bravo”, both situated in the Tabernas desert, covered in posters and packed with live shows reenacting scenes from classics like “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”, “Indiana Jones” or “A Fistful of Dollars”, or the Spanish movie “800 Bullets”.

Albaricoques, Let's go West!

From Boca de Los Frailes, proceed straight ahead to Albaricoques. This village with a fruity name –albaricoque means apricot in English-, claims to be the most natural setting in the West. As a matter of fact, it is said that, when Leone discovered it back in the 60s and 70s, he chose it straightaway because of its cost-savings potential: it hardly needed any props. Poverty was such that the streets and the locals were reminiscent of a Texan settlement at the start of the nineteenth century. At the moment, Albaricoques, with street names the likes of Trinidad or Ennio Morricone, is involved in a project to disseminate the town’s cinematic glorious past claiming, among other things, to have been the home of the legendary Dirty Harry.

Lawrence de Arabia, película rodada en Almería
Academy Award landscape

From Ruescas to Retamar, we can enter Cabo de Gata Natural Park via another well-known film still: the chapel of Torregarcía, with its orthodox-looking round dome, and the ancient fifteenth century watchtower. With the beach on the background, it features in the wedding scene of Oscar-winning Lawrence of Arabia. The scenery here is breathtaking. As far as the very Cape, keeping parallel to the sea, we go past an endless straight line of watchtowers, bird sanctuary lagoons, lighthouses, the enigmatic salt works church and the almadraba fishing boats. Almadraba refers to the ancient inshore tuna fishing gear, of Arab origin, which is still painstakingly used today in Andalusia, based on hand-sewn labyrinthine nets.

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