Chirivel, just off the dual carriageway from Puerto Lumbreras to Baza, was, in Roman times, on the “Via Augustea” which stretched from the famous port of Cartagena through Baza and on westwards to Linares, providing the Roman troops with access into the depths of Spain. On the outskirts of where the village is now situated remains of fine Roman villas have been discovered.
The most recent find in 1985 is a marble statue representing Dionysos and is exhibited in the Provincial Archaeological Museum of Almeria. A faithful copy of the statue can be contemplated in the park by the river. Since these ancient times, Chirivel has always been on the map as a place of rest for travellers and its inns and taverns of old must have seemed like an oasis in this luminous, open place with its extensive horizons, where the light and shade sweeps from the open plain to the bare grey peaks of the mountain range.
Although obviously an ancient village, technically this is not so as it did not achieve independence from Velez Rubio until the end of the 19th Century, before which it was a feudal estate belonging to the Marquises of los Velez.
Although only a village, it boasts many fine houses with beautiful gardens which line the main road that runs past the village, and here the old houses lead you to the delightful tree lined walk along the river, gently flowing in the summer and rushing in the spring when the snows melt on the Sierra Maria which provides stunning views from Chirivel northwards.
These waters are used to irrigate the many crops grown near to the river and which are of economic importance to the area as indeed are the huge wheat fields and the vast areas of almonds, which when in blossom in the early spring provide a spectacular vision of pink and white clouds which appear to float on the flanks of the hills.
The most typical fiesta of Chirivel is the “Rosario de la Aurora” which is celebrated at dawn on the third Sunday of August. This ancient tradition reunites the whole village and visitors as they walk through the streets singing the “Songs of Rosario”. Also at dawn a special Mass is celebrated a few days before Christmas.
Although the advent of cars means that one can speed past Chirivel, it is well worth a visit and for those who wish to walk in these beautiful landscapes, the village offers accommodation and there are farmhouses to rent in the nearby countryside.