The Oldest and Beautiful Churches in Almeria + History

Last Updated on January 3, 2022

Here you can read our guide on the oldest churches in Almeria, including their history, what to expect from your visit, plus tips. It was back in 955 AD that Abd ar-Rahman III built the Alcazaba, a grand fortress that circled the city, protecting it from enemies and those who wanted to destroy his flourishing silk and textiles trade.


This shines some light on Almeria’s rich historical past. But there’s a whole lot more to discover in this coastal Andalusian city in Spain. The perfect location for couples looking for a fascinating holiday, full of history, film sets and relaxing plazas, a look at Almeria’s churches is a great was of gaining insight into how magnificent this old city is.

Almeria’s Oldest Churches E1465997511137
Almeria’s Oldest Churches E1465997511137

Fans of Indiana Jones will love that the jeep chase between Indy, his dad and the Nazis in The Last Crusade was filmed near Almeria’s Puerta de la Justicia. And James Bond fans will similarly love that a scene from Never Say Never Again was filmed here – where James dodges gunfire from Arab bandits. These action-packed scenes are a far cry from today’s Almeria: sunny, peaceful, beautiful and, most of all, interesting.

Catedral de la Encarnación

Create in 1522, this cathedral was built over the remains of an even older cathedral which was destroyed by a catastrophic earthquake earlier that year. The same earthquake ruined much of Almeria’s fortress but it has since been reconstructed. This cathedral has an unusual look but it certainly reflects all the style of the Renaissance period: there are two splendid facades by architect Juan de Orea that embellish it. It has sturdy walls and a plain roof where cannons would have been installed. This is a fortress-cathedral – which serves as a reminder of Spain’s punitive past.

There are works of art inside by Ribera, Murillo and Alonso Cano. Legend has that Saint Valentine is buried within these walls.

Iglesia de San Pedro & Plaza

Designed in 1848, the ornate plaza outside the Church de San Pedro is a favourite spot with locals and tourists alike and during festivals, such as the Cruces de Mayo, you can find live music and food market stalls. Film buffs will enjoy that scenes from western classic, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly were filmed here!


Spain

The church is a great example of neoclassical style. It was built between the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries over the remains of the Francisco Covent. On the altar inside you’ll find an image of San Pedro where there was once one of San Francisco. There is also a big medallion of Saint Francis of Assisi and Santo Domingo de Guzman embracing each other, which depicts faith, hope and charity.

Iglesia de San Juan

This church was built over the remains of a mosque by Almeria’s Catholic Kings. The mosque had been an important aspect of Almeria’s Moorish history and was an incredibly popular meeting place.

However, this ‘replacement’ church was completely destroyed by the earthquake in 1522. It was the Bishop Villalan who ordered the reconstruction of what you see today. Built in a lovely gothic style, the church certainly has Renaissance influences too. There are a couple of Moorish echoes that still remain; the old quibla (holy wall) and mihrab, which is orientated towards mecca.

Iglesia de Santiago

This is officially the oldest church in Almeria. Finished in 1553, this fine church acts as a gateway to the Renaissance period. There is a superb, and well-kept, relief of St James the Matamore inside as well as a beautiful tower (with arches on its lower level) and facade built by Juan de Orea. The columns inside are intricate and decorated with the attributes of Saint James, as well as shells and crosses.

Below the church are the old, eleventh century Arab cisterns that were once used to provide the old city of Almeria with clean water.