Los Vélez known as the “Puerto Oriental de Andalucia” has always been a stepping stone between the East and the South of the Iberian Peninsula. The area was an important nucleus of population in prehistoric times. Its mountains, forests, springs, plains and particularly it's natural resources and biodiversity attracted inhabitants to the area more than 18,000 years ago.

The oldest signs of prehistoric life are testified by the numerous archaeological remains from Paleolithic and Neolithic times that have been excavated from the many sites in the area, including ‘Cueva Ambrosie', ‘Cueva del Gabar', ‘Cerro de las Canteras' and ‘Cuevas de los Letreros'

Of the 79 examples of cave paintings found in the province of Almeria, 25 are in the region of Los Vélez. The best known cave paintings, El Brujo (the wizard) and El Indalo, named in honour of San Indalecio, who brought Catholicism to the South- Eastern part of the Peninsula, were discovered at ‘Cuevas de los Letreros' declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Indalo, whose Iberian name “Indal Eccius”, means messenger of the Gods, has become the symbol of Almeria.

In 1506 Don Pedro Fajardo and Charcón first Marquis of Los Vélez and Governor of the Kingdom of Murcia, was given the Town of Vélez Blanco as a reward for his assistance in the suppression of the Moorish rebellions in the lands of Andalucia. He ordered the construction of the Castillo de Fajardo, better known as Vélez Blanco Castle, to be built on the site of a Moorish Fortress on Mount Mahimón. It became one of the most difficult and unassailable castles in Andalucía.

The town of Vélez Rubio was later incorporated in the Marquiss Estate along with the villages of María and Chirivel, and the four towns/villages now make up the region of Los Vélez.

Velez-Rubio:

  • Encarnation Church - declared a National Monument.
    One of the first bishopric temples in Almería was the mosque in Vélez-Rubio, consecrated for the Christian cult on 9th March 1501 and dedicated to San Pablo by the curate of Cartegena Juan Martínez, with the intention of annexing the diocese in the area.
    A few years later, Don Pedro Fajardo, first Marquis of Vélez, initiated the construction of a church advocated by San Pedro. This building, which occupied part of the site of the actual church and was later adorned with a funeral chapel and various artistic pieces. The growth of the town in the 17th Century forced the building to be widened in the final years of the century, with the addition of a transept and domed chancel, according to a project by friar of the local convent of San Francisco, Francisco de Olivares.
    An earthquake in 1724 caused damage to the newly constructed building, especially in the chapel dome with restoration work having to take place in 1728. Another earthquake in 1751 caused irreparable damage to the Church of San Pedro. Two years later don Antonio María Alvarez de Toledo y Guzmán, Duke of Alba and Marquis of Villafranca and Los Vélez gave the order to demolish the entire building, and to proceed in constructing a new church, which has been known ever since as the Incarnation Church. After the demolition of the ruined church, in 1753, and with the project bequeathed by the monastery of Hieronymites of La Nora in Murcía, Friar Pedro San Agustín, began building in March 1754, and concluded the building in December 1768, with a solemn blessing of the temple in 1769.
    This construction, one of the best examples of religious architecture in Almería, is supposed to be the swan song of baroque art in the bishopric, a style that is animated in its numerous rococo details. The cruciform floor presents, behind the nartex sotocoro, three naves with tribunes on the lateral and far ends, covering all the areas with vaults, which culminate in a graceful cupola on the transept. It has three doors by Francisco Fernández, emphasizing the monumental footings on the shield of Don Antonio María Alvarez de Toledo and Guzmán, Duke of Alba and Marquis of Los Vélez, patron of the temple and its constructor.
     
  • Carmen Church.
  • San Francisco Convent
  • Palacio de Las Damas Catequistas
  • Street Market - held every Saturday morning since 1804.
  • Miguel Guirao Archeological Museum.
  • Los Letreros Caves - Pre-historic cave paintings declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. These caves are where Almería's Indalo symbol was found dated to around 4000BC.
  • 17th and 19th Century noble houses and an architectural style of its own known as "Velez Classical Style"
Velez-Blanco:
  • Cueva del Gabor.
  • Velez-Blanco Castle - declared Historical and Artistic Heritage.
  • Santiago Church.
  • Almacen de Trigo Visitor Reception Centre - offering visitors information on the area of Los Velez.
Maria:
  • Largest producer of cereal crops and cold meats in the Province of Almería.
  • Encarnation Church.
  • Cereals and Almond Museum.
  • Botanical Garden "Umbria de la Virgin"
  • Monographic Museum - unique in Europe, illustrating the Muslim-rooted "esparto" craft.