Origins of Roquetas de Mar
Before tackling what to see in Roquetas de Mar it is best to review its history a little. Thus, since the Bronze Age there was a continuous population on the river bank that the Romans would call Turaniana. The vast majority of the ancient remains are from the Roman anchorage and population. Later on it would end up being Muslim. However, in the 12th century there were some very serious floods. These would cause numerous deaths and the destruction of buildings, so the place was abandoned.
During the Nasrid era, the population was fortified to defend itself from the increasingly common Christian attacks. These took over the citadel around 1488, reinforcing what is now known as the Castle of Santa Ana. However, three years later, the surrender of El Zagal deprived the building of military value. From then on, the Christian inhabitants worked their salt mines and dedicated themselves to fishing in order to survive. In the 16th century, the Almería Town Hall requested that a tower be built to protect them from the incursions of Berber pirates.
During the following century, corsair attacks and earthquakes destroyed the Castle of Santa Ana. By 1686, the government of Charles II did not have the resources to restore the fortress. The captain of militias, Luis de Castro, took the initiative and invested a thousand ducats to restore the towers of Rambla Honda, Cerrillos, Entinas, Guardia Vieja and the Alhamilla. In exchange he obtained the title of perpetual warden of the fortress.
Old picture of Roquetas
Once the area was secured, in 1737 the inhabitants of the neighbouring town of Enixy Felix broke up and cultivated the abandoned salt mines. In this way, they settled in the old Muslim population centre. Twenty years later they built a parish church.
Unfortunately, on August 18, 1783, a lightning strike hit the powder magazine of the Castle of Santa Ana, causing a huge explosion. The following year, construction began, and the Mayor’s Office took control. In exchange, it granted a noble title to the Castro family. Continuing with its bad luck, the fortress suffered serious damage during the earthquake of 1804. Due to this, the defenses were moved to the nearby coastal batteries.
Around 1950, the National Institute of Colonization reactivated the local economic activity. Thus, in 1963, Bernabé Aguilar set up the first greenhouse to improve productivity. This meant the beginning of a type of exploitation that served as a reference to many other Spanish orchards. In the end it would become known as “the sea of plastic”. On the other hand, in this second half of the century the tourist boom began, another great source of municipal wealth. In 1972, the State ceded the property of the Castle of Santa Ana to the Town Hall of Roquetas de Mar. Its reconstruction would extend until 2003.