Photography · The Cork Board

The land of spaghetti westerns


So, as promised, some pictures of the holiday in “Spaghetti western” land. These are not particularly artistic but give you a flavour of the countryside around Almeria. In 1964 this area was used as the setting for “A Fistful of Dollars” and for several more spaghetti westerns after that. There is even a cine-tour of the locations involved. So, while you read on, play this.

The land and the mountains are desert-like in many areas though in Spring the land is fertile and green.

Almeria is a province within the autonomous community (region) of Andalusia in southern Spain and is the beneficiary of a rich and varied history. The name, Andalusia, traces back to the Arabic language and is the obvious evidence of a history of Muslim cultural influence.

A derelict chapel in the middle of nowhere. Used for a bank robbery scene, apparently.

Cactii, cactii, everywhere.

The area has remained a poorer part of Spain, economically, though it’s prevalent role in market gardening has been key to the growth in the region as Europe clamours for fresh salad for it’s table. Several of the plains in the region are now seas of plastic sheeting – vast incubators for fresh leaves. But that said, it is a beautiful area, and people have to earn a living !

There is some stunning coastline.
The beach at Las Negras

Nijar is a large village in the hills above San Jose. Fi and I first visited here 15 years ago and I took this self same shot on film (in those days). I knew where to find the staircase and wanted to see if I could replicate the shot for the digital age. Hadn’t changed a bit.

Stairway in Nijar

Many of Spain’s regions have a strong cultural identity and Andalusia is no different since, I would suggest, it’s main cultural export is flamenco.

I was reading Paul Preston’s book on the Spanish Civil War whilst being here. The heat, the dust, the desert landscape, the history, clearly got into my skin.

Hats off to rugged Spain – till the next time.Adios. (shuffles off whistling Ennio Morricone).

8 thoughts on “The land of spaghetti westerns

  1. It’s amazing how much this part of Spain actually resembles New Mexico – where, at least, The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, was set. Except for the coastline, of course. Our largest bodies of water are mere ponds… the mighty Rio Grande doesn’t actually get mighty until it rolls into Texas… but don’t let the Texicans know that.

    Beautiful photos. I especially like the shot of the staircase in Nijar. Would love to see this area someday!

    – Margaret

    1. Hey Margaret, thanks for dropping by and leaving your comment. It’s lovely to see some new faces around here. I love this part of Spain – so wild in parts and civilised in clusters. I’m drawn to what feels like semi-desert and the silence. The imagination wanders uncontrolled.
      I’ve also checked out your gang. Good stuff. I’ll be back. (Sorry, that’s Arnie, isn’t it – not Clint).

  2. How cool! I grew up on the spaghetti westerns and to see these photos in such clarity evokes nostalgia and jealousy — i want to go!
    Playing the music as i read also added a sense of place to this all, heck; i think it was clever and i really enjoyed it 🙂 thanks for rescuing me from this cold NYC day and bringing me Spain, if only for a minute.

  3. I loved those spegetti westerns…they were great. The landscape is quite similiar to many places in the US Southwest. In fact many of the old John Wayne westerns were made near me and many others too. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid with Paul Newman and Robert Redford were made here in Utah. Sundance is just North of me, 5 miles west are the Ghost town remains of a railroad company store that Butch robbed.
    Love your photos!
    Smiles,
    Rx

    1. I would love to see those places you mention. I guess the films were made in Spain because it is so similar in landscape(and maybe it was cheaper in the end) . They do have great atmosphere, don’t they. In fact, we went out and bought “Fistful of Dollars” dvd when we came back just to re-live. 🙂

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