Sergio Leone's Nijar
Sergio Leone's Nijar
Europe's desert in Almería was a prime location for numerous Westerns, including five films directed by Sergio Leone. The mark he left here goes well beyond the films, there are two western towns located in neighbouring town of Tabernas, where you can make a visit that includes shows recreating life at that time.
Locations for these films also included the beautiful landscapes of the Cabo de Gata-Níjar Geopark and the Tabernas Desert Natural Landscape. These consist of typically dry, dusty ravines, spectacular beaches stark badlands and oases that revolve around pristine, white-washed wells. But one of the most outstanding features is the district of Los Albaricoques, where you can take a tour and discover the specific locations where some of the most memorable historical scenes were filmed. Another renowned location is the Cortijo del Fraile, the scenario for the crime that inspired Lorca to write the play "Bodas de Sangre (Blood Wedding) and which was an impassive witness for a number of sequences.
Then there is the renowned Dollars Trilogy, starring Clint Eastwood and consisting of the films A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Other feature films in Níjar, such as Once Upon a Time in the West, with a script by none other than Bernardo Bertolucci, were the starting point for a then young Serge Leone who, together with another unknown called Clint Eastwood and with the music of Ennio Morricone in the background, determined how we look at and interpret this landscape.
Lee Van Cleef, Henry Fonda and Robert de Niro are just some of the stars who have passed through Almería, some of them directed by Leone. The footprint still remains, because the Wild West towns around Níjar were and still are unique locations for this type of film.
In Tabernas they hold the Almeria Western Film Festival (AWFF), a dynamic festival that after 11 editions has now become a benchmark for westerns at an international level. This entertaining, cultural event has a varied programme suitable for people of all ages.
But if you really want to feel like you are playing in a Western, the best thing you can do is to take a stroll through the Desierto de Tabernas Nature Area at sunset. An unforgettable experience!