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Guardians of an ancient treasure

There is a story of an Arab Sultan who hid a priceless treasure during the Christian siege of Almeria. The city, founded by Abd-ar-Rahman III in 955 AD, was in its last days as the Muslim territory Al-Andalus before surrendering to the Castile crown in 1489. As legend has it, the Governor hid his precious jewels in an underwater cave at Cabo de Gata, so that they would not fall into the enemy’s hands and he could recover them later, while mounting an offensive to retake the town. The Sultan died, however, without fulfilling his goal or revealing the exact location of the valuable haul. As such, the treasure remains undiscovered today, buried beneath the earth… or maybe not.

We all know how reality tends to become blurred with the passing of time. It gets twisted, exaggerated, mixed up in rumors and myths, and gives birth to new stories, which may indeed have some semblance of truth in them. But, imagine for a moment that the treasure the Sultan wanted to protect did not consist of gold, rubies, sapphires or diamonds. Maybe the treasure on the Mediterranean coast, which the legend alludes to, is really no less than the coast of Almeria itself?

Travel the length of the Gulf of Almeria and you will soon be convinced the legend of the treasure of Cabo de Gata is just one of the stories that during the past 500 years have protected the real treasure of southeast Spain: the beaches of Almeria themselves.

The city where the sun goes to spend the winter

With a coast bathed both in sea and light, Almeria is one of the European cities with the most hours of sun a year – around 3,000 on average – and it is not in vain that Rodolfo Lussnigg, the well-known 1920s tourism developer, named it “the city where the sun goes to spend the winter”.

Of course, a natural treasure of such magnitude needs someone to look over – guard – it. Keeping the 21 kilometers of Mediterranean shore belonging to the city of Almeria in optimum condition is a challenge that ACCIONA is especially proud to have taken on. And this is how we do it.

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ACCIONA Service is responsible for the cleaning of around 12 beaches, which involves looking after the quality of their sand, the accesses to the beaches, promenades, and the water up to 20 meters into the sea. For this, we deploy a big team, of personnel and equipment, that can be reinforced whenever necessary: laborers, tractors, screeners, sifters, scrapers and sprayers, waste collection trucks, high-pressure water vehicles, quads, catamarans, the list goes on.

The integrated action plan introduced by ACCIONA, in collaboration with Grupo Generala y Almeria City Hall – through the platform, Sustainable Almeria – guarantees that this “balcony” on the Mediterranean always retains its splendor. In this way, residents and visitors alike can dedicate themselves exclusively to enjoying the beauty and relaxation offered by beaches that are kept clean, pure and pristine.

What do we collect from the beach each summer?

The affluence of tourists during the summer period tests ACCIONA Service’s capacity to respond. These are the busiest months on the Almeria coast and our teams have to work flat out. The figures speak for themselves: last summer, we picked up a total of 1,315.78 metric tons of rubbish.

165 tons we collected in containers and waste bins provided along the 21 km beachfront, while machines and workers on foot collected a further 1,150.78 tons. We also provide support services during one-off celebrations such as the festivities for San Juan, when the beaches are full of partygoers celebrating the shortest night of the year. The beach has to be ready again in the few hours before the new day of sun and bathing begins.

Biodiversity conservation

One of ACCIONA’s distinguishing features is our constant quest for sustainability in all our projects, also motivated by our special interest in working to conserve biodiversity. On the one hand, we monitor and ensure the Loggerhead sea turtle can lay its eggs and spawn in peace in its chosen nesting grounds on the Almeria sand. On the other, we collaborate with the local government on to care for and collect stranded animals, especially dolphins, which often reach the beaches of the city.

Conserving this exceptional environment represents one of our biggest commitments: to ourselves, to the city of Almeria and to the Sultan’s legendary treasure.

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To read more stories like this, visit the ACCIONA Service website.

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