The history of Almuñécar begins around the year 1500 BC, with the presence of the people of the Argaric culture of the Bronze Age. Over time, the municipality has been an enclave coveted by numerous peoples since the dawn of history.
Sunset, named after its first colonizers, the Phoenicians, during the Roman period would become the flourishing city of Firmun Iulium Sexi, which exported salted fish and the precious “Garum” (paste similar to what today It is known as pâté obtained by maceration and fermentation in brine of fish offal – viscera, etc.).
The Laurita Necropolis and the Puente de Noy attest to its Phoenician-Punic past, while monuments from the Roman Sexi are preserved such as the imposing Aqueduct, the Columbariums of La Torre del Monje and La Albina, the Fish Salting Factory of El Majuelo or the Cueva de Siete Palacios, home to the Archaeological Museum. Likewise, the Arabs have left an imprint on the town that is impossible to erase. For example, the current name of Almuñécar comes from the Arabic name Al-Munekab, which. according to some experts it means fortress on the hill. Among the narrow and intricate streets of the historic center, with its whitewashed houses, you can still breathe the essence of Andalusian Almuñécar, whose inhabitants witnessed the landing of Abd Al-Rahman I, founder of the Umayyad Emirate, in the year 755. The towers watchtowers that mark the coast of Sexita and the Castillo de San Miguel that stands crowning the town are a legacy of the almost eight hundred years of Muslim presence in the area.
The Christians would build the Church of the Incarnation, the Pilar de la Calle Real, and in the mid-nineteenth century they would build the Palacete de la Najarra, a neo-Arabic building that houses the Municipal Tourist Office, and more recently the sculptures that embellish the population, among others, the Monument to Abderramán I, the Monument to the Phoenicians or the Puerta de Almuñécar in honor of Blas Infante, father of Andalusianism.
Places to visit:
- Castillo de San Miguel: An old Roman fortress, it was also of great importance during the Nasrid period in the 13th century. It was rebuilt by Fernando el Católico and in the times of Carlos V, from when the four circular towers of its entrance façade date back. Bombarded by the English in the war of independence against the French, the castle fell into ruin and was converted into a cemetery in the 19th century.
- Museo Arqueológico Cueva de los Siete Palacios: Located in the basement of an ancient Roman temple built in honor of Minerva around the 1st century (BC), it consists of seven vaulted sections, hence its name. This museum contains numerous archaeological remains found in El Majuelo Park, in addition to others found in the Phoenician-Punic necropolis of Laurita and Puente de Noy, near San Cristóbal beach. Although one piece of exceptional importance stands out above all the others: the Egyptian amphora that belonged to Pharaoh Apophis I (17th century BC). One of the theories that are considered says that this object was brought by the Phoenicians about a thousand years after its manufacture. Other objects of interest are a fragment of a statue of the goddess Minerva and remains of grave goods.
- Iglesia de la Encarnación: Designed by Juan de Herrera, although its tower is due to the Granada artist Diego de Siloé. It was completed at the beginning of the 17th century, thus being the first baroque temple in the province. On the main altar there is a Visigothic carving that represents the Virgin of Antigua, patron saint of Almuñécar.
- Parque Botánico El Majuelo: In the heart of the old town, a walk through this park will allow you to appreciate the archaeological wealth of Almuñécar, since the remains of an old fish salting factory are preserved here, a flourishing activity in Almuñécar in the Phoenician-Punic and Roman times. In this park you will find a magnificent collection of subtropical plants from all over the world. In addition, in summer, at nightfall, it becomes the cultural and leisure center of the town, since many concerts and recreational activities are held here.
- Columbario de La Torre del Monje: Columbarium in the form of a small tower that probably belonged to a Roman family from the town in this area. It is covered by a barrel vault and inside there are small niches where the urns with the ashes of the deceased were deposited. Located two kilometers from the city, on the road that runs through the Verde River Valley, it dates, like the Columbarium of La Albina, from the time of maximum urban development in the Roman era of Almuñécar, between the 1st and 2nd century. a.d.
- Peñon del Santo: This emblematic place in Almuñécar, known as the Peñón del Santo, is a rocky outcrop over the sea crowned by a cross and from which there is a good panoramic view. It is believed that this rock was once connected to the castle, as evidenced by the remains of the walls. At its foot you can see the monument to Abderramán l, an important Umayyad prince who landed on the shores of Almuñécar in 755 to reach Córdoba and found an independent Emirate there.
- Acueducto Romano y Termas: It was probably built in the 1st century after Christ, with a length of 7 km, of which five sections are preserved. The last section (section IV) was discovered at the end of the 1990s, when some works were carried out in the Plaza Mayor, and it is believed that a Roman road passed below it that went from Linares to Malaga. Also here some baths of the same time were found. The aqueduct has been declared an Asset of Cultural Interest and some of its sections are still used today for traditional irrigation. It is located in the direction of the Suspiro del Moro road and is free.
- Monumento a los Fenicios: It is located on the Paseo del Altillo and is a tribute to the first settlers of Almuñécar: the Phoenicians. It is sculpted in bronze by the Granada-born sculptor and goldsmith Miguel Moreno.
- Parque Acuático AquaTropic: Located on Velilla beach, this 35,000 m2 water park stands out for being the only one in the province that offers all the leisure activities of a water park, but with salt water.
- Parque Ornitológico LoroSexi: It is located on the slope of the Castillo de San Miguel, very close to the Peñón del Santo and El Majuelo Park. This ornithological park is a benchmark on the Costa Tropical and receives some 30,000 visits a year. Here you can see about 100 different species of exotic birds: parrots, toucans, cockatoos, macaws, swans and peacocks, among others. Along the route you will enjoy beautiful views of the sea, since it is located on a hill next to the beach of San Cristóbal.
- Acuario de Almuñécar: In the Almuñécar Aquarium you can learn about the ecosystem and marine fauna of this part of the Mediterranean. Renovated a year and a half ago with the help of the City Council, the Aquarium has reopened its doors with 125 different species, including corvinas, moray eels, groupers, jellyfish and seahorses. The attraction that arouses the most interest is a panoramic tunnel that passes under the largest oceanarium in Andalusia, with a million liters of water, and which has some very special tenants: sharks, among which the bull shark stands out.
- You can rent bicycles and pedal cars for two or more people and walk along the promenade enjoying a morning or watching a beautiful sunset.
- Tropical Express: A little train opened in 1988 runs through the entire city and offers a general impression of it. It is also attractive to go with children.