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Mini Hollywood film studios in Tabernas, Almeria province. Ideal
Tabernas: An oasis for Greek soldiers in the desert
THE STORY BEHIND A PLACE NAME

Tabernas: An oasis for Greek soldiers in the desert

Tabernas in Almeria province is best known as the home of Mini Hollywood where films like The Good, The Bad and The Ugly were shot

Jennie Rhodes

Tabernas

Friday, 19 April 2024, 17:32

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The town of Tabernas in the province of Almeria also shares its name with the desert that surrounds it, one of the few in Europe. Home to around 3,600 people, Tabernas is probably best known as Mini Hollywood and for the Oasys Mini Hollywood theme park.

The name is apt too, as the word 'tabernas' means taverns in Spanish and of course no Western film would be without a few scenes of cowboys bursting through the doors of a Western-style tavern or saloon, swinging a couple of shotguns.

It is believed that the name Tabernas comes from 'Thabernax', so called by Greek soldiers, as it was the place where the troops would have gathered to drink in one of the area's taverns or inns around the eighth century BC.

But the town's history goes much further back to prehistoric times and the Terrera Ventura settlement dating back to 2850-1950 BC, a Neolithic agricultural and livestock settlement.

Documentation has been found that suggests that during Spain's Islamic period Tabernas was already characterised as an arid area. Almeria-based historian Father Tapia recounted that that when writer Ibri al-Jatib visited with Muhammad V, Sultan of Granada, he described the area as "short of rain". The town's Castillo or Alcazaba dates back to the 11th century.

Built in 1965, the Tabernas studio has been the set for more than three hundred films, including The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, Lawrence of Arabia and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Actors such as Brigitte Bardot, Sean Connery, Harrison Ford and Jack Nicholson have all starred in films shot there.

The province pays tribute to its film industry through the Almeria Western film festival, which started in 2010 and this year is taking place from 10 to 13 October.

Films are still made at Mini Hollywood and the town is also home to the largest solar energy centre in Europe, Plataforma Solar de Almería.

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