On the northern flank of the Sierra de los Filabres, Benizalon lies in an extensive hollow in the smooth flowing landscape sprinkled with woodland. High up behind, Monteagud with its hermitage on the very summit, is a natural viewing point from which the Sierras of Nevada, Gádor and María can be clearly seen and the Sierra of the Segura lies behind them, leading your eye towards the wilderness of the north and west. Yet if you turn round, the Alhamilla mountain range near the city of Almeria is clearly visible as is the Sierra Cabrera, whose mountains rise steeply behind the coastline of Mojacar, which can be seen lying at the base of the mountains silhouetted against the distant sea.
The history of Benizalon, like most of the villages of the region is deeply entwined with the Moorish invasions. Even today, the wind that brings rain and therefore the beginning of life is called “el morisco” (the Moorish one), as if some deep memory recalls the before and after of that era.
The towers of the village church named after the Virgin of the Anguishes are constructed over the ancient minaret and stuccoed Mudejar.
Almond and olive trees are cultivated on the mountain slopes and are one of the main sources of income for the villagers today, as is stockbreeding and its derived activities. After so many years when the farmers had no economic aid when their crops failed and whole families were forced to emigrate, leaving many villages in the area to fall into ruin, Benizalon at least seems to have prospered in recent years.
Now many of the white houses are freshly painted and their roofs bright red, having been recently tiled. The village has been modernised and now has some of the facilities pertinent to the 21stcentury.
A pleasingly renovated bar and restaurant in the middle of the village is busy at the weekends with locals and northern Europeans, some of whom live in the village and hills around. However, spite of the new prosperity, as you wander round the village you can still feel the influence of the Moors and their
centuries long grip on this area like a palpable thing – another reason to