The Alto Guadalentin region is made up of the municipalities of Aguilas
, Puerto Lumbreras
, the latter being its capital. It is located in the upper part of the Guadalentin river
and is a very extensive region, with an area of 2,072 square kilometres.
The Guadalentin river
, in the first section of the Lorca area, is framed by mountains and highlands. This river is characterized by its irregularity, typical of the region's semi-arid climate. Shrubs and bushes grow in the riverbed, forming dense vegetation that completely covers its bed.
In this region coexist towns, plains and mountains, coastal and inland landscapes and orchards. So diverse is the area that it seems like a small province within another.
Beginnings of the Alto Guadalentin region
There is evidence that the first settlements in the area were in ancient times; in its surroundings, remains of the Argaric culture have been found.
After the Second Punic War, which occurred in the 1st century BC, the Roman army defeated the Carthaginians and the first Roman villas began to appear in the Alto Guadalentin region.
Villas and agricultural enclaves were built around the Roman roads, among many other Roman constructions.
The orchard of Lorca continued to expand with the arrival of the Muslims, creating a process of fusion between the original settlers and the newcomers and, thus, becoming an important focus of Muslim culture.
The rich orchard of Lorca
This region is crossed by a network of canals that make irrigation possible, with the waters of the Guadalentin river
, in a layout that dates back to Roman times. The lands of Lorca form true extensive orchards, where a wide variety of vegetables such as artichokes, lettuce, broccoli, cotton and alfalfa, among others, are grown.
Alternating with these beautiful fertile lands full of life are spaces of poorer land, including the famous salt marshes where the barilla (Mesembryanthemum crystallinum) grew. This was used during the second half of the 18th century for the extraction of caustic soda, with the soaps being made from it.
Agriculture and livestock
The economy of this region is based on agriculture, with small portions of land that are for irrigation located on the same banks of the river.
Livestock farming is also found in this region, in general pigs, which has a place within its economy.
Flora and fauna
Thanks to its semi-arid climate, there is little vegetation, which has led to significant deforestation in this area. The flora is characterized as being Mediterranean-type scrub, in which aromatic plants such as broom, thyme and rosemary predominate.
In addition, you can find some family gardens with orange, lemon, lettuce and tomato, among many other vegetables and fruit trees for personal consumption. The fauna is represented by hares, rabbits and different species of birds.
Within this region, stews are usually eaten, very popular in autumn or winter. An example of this is the famous fresh pot, which includes the backbone, tail and ears of the pig, black pudding, fresh bacon, chickpeas and rice.
In spring, the “olla gitana” is usually cooked. It is a soup based on vegetables and legumes with pumpkin, to which pears are added. Another typical dish is the hare stew.