Darlene Foster's Blog

Alcalali, the Place Where Pots Were Made

Posted on: March 24, 2016

We read in the local paper about an artisans market, in a small town not much more than an hour away from where we live. Since we both love markets and small Spanish villages, we decided to take a drive and check it out. Alcalali proved to be a delightful, traditional Mediterranean village including original dry stone walls. The name, Alcalali, is an Arabic word meaning place where pots were made.

Pottery in the place were pottery is made with the old dry stone wall behind

Pottery in the place where pots were made, with original dry stone wall behind


Pottery faces

The market was small but unique in that everything sold had to be hand made and by the person manning the stall. Local potters, weavers, wood carvers, almond candy makers, jewellers, leather and iron workers, and ladies who make lace were willing to chat and demonstrate their work. Some even gave lessons to the children. Throughout the displays, old fashioned table games and traditional delicacies could be found.

Wood carver

Wood carver at work

Lace makers

Traditional lace makers

Mortar and pestle to mash sugar, almonds, zest of lemon and cinnamon for making almond candy called turron

Mortar and pestle to mash sugar, almonds, zest of lemon and cinnamon to make delicious almond candy called turron

Pottery lesson

Pottery lesson

Playing a medieval game

Playing a medieval table game

In the centre of the village, a medieval tower built in the fourteenth century served as a watchtower and stronghold to protect the town from pirates and robbers that frequently attacked the village. It is now a museum with incredible views of the town and surrounding valley from the top floor. What I found very interesting was the medieval graffiti on the walls, most of it drawings of ships and weapons. Since Alcalali is an inland village, historians think the drawings were made by sailors imprisoned in the tower at one time.

The village church from the tower

The village church from the tower

View of the town and valley

View of the town and valley from the tower

Roofs from the tower window

Clay roofs from the tower window

Ancient graffiti

Ancient graffiti possibly drawn by prisoners

Alcalali is in an agricultural area, well known for its olive, grape, citrus fruit and almond production. The Arabs occupied the area for over five centuries and were masters in utilising the fertile ground of red clay, developing a thriving agricultural base. Many houses still have the large doors that allowed animals and carts inside, with rings in the entrance to tie up the mules. We enjoyed a visit to the old oil mill that has been turned into a museum displaying some of the original machinery for making olive oil,wine and raisins.  Pictures of when the mill was in operation helped to explain the process.

Museum in the old oil mill

Museum in the old oil mill

Olive picking tools

Olive picking tools used to knock the olives from the tree

Typical Alalali street

Typical Alcalali street including a house with large doors to allow animals and carts inside in the old days

Original dry stone wall

Original dry stone wall

No visit to a traditional Spanish village would be complete without sampling some of the local tapas in a friendly bar, which is just what we did before heading home. Another great day!

56 Responses to "Alcalali, the Place Where Pots Were Made"

Such beautiful and interesting pictures. Fascinating handicrafts! I bet your daughter in Canada would love the pottery section!

I thought the same thing Christa. The handicrafts were amazing especially the lace making. I had not seen that before.

Darlene this is like treasure for the traveler. Finding a spot where one can find hand made items from the locals. I love that this is just a drive from your home. She sighs thinking about how wonderful that must be. 🙂

We are indeed lucky to have so many amazing places like this not that far from us. The thing is, expats who have lived here for quite some time have never been to these places! I find it astounding.

I would so enjoy a little place like this. Love the stone walls and the views. Gorgeous pictures, Darlene. I feel I’m looking over your shoulder. A wonderful tour. Thank YOU. 😀 ❤ ❤

It’s wonderful having you along. You would love this little place full of charm and history.

Sounds wonderful. Sigh. :-)<3

Lovely crafty little village with a peaceful ambiance!

It isn’t hard to find peaceful little places like this in Spain. Thanks for stopping in Irene.

I love your travel posts. I must return to Spain some day. I spent 3 months there in my 20s and absolutely loved it. Keep those photos coming!

Happy to bring back some fond memories. I hope you do return one day. You will find some changes of course but some of the traditions remain especially in the villages.

I love handiwork of any kind: glassblowers, pot makers, lace weavers. On Sunday I hope to have my grandkids (adults too as they wish) make little cup holders out of napkins, think origami style. They should look nice filled with M & M’s on the Easter table.

Sounds like a fun activity for the whole family. Hope you post pictures of the final product!

You are certainly discovering some amazing and interesting places in your travels around your new home. Thanks for this post. I absolutely loved the photos.

Yes, we are having fun discovering interesting places. So pleased you enjoyed the post and photos.

Another great find Darlene and so nicely written up. How many pots did you buy?

Thanks Inka. Surprisingly I didn’t buy even one pot. But is was fun to look at them!

I really enjoy your trips to little villages and this is another cracker. The Spanish seem to be very big on markets and handmade products, it’s great to see the old skills still being used and passed on. That lace looks incredibly delicate. The view from the tower is wonderful, and how fascinating to see that old graffiti. Thank you for taking us to Alcalali. 🙂

So pleased you enjoyed this trip to Alcalali. Some of these skills have been passed on for thousands of years and it is so good to see them still thriving.

Lovely village, Darlene. I can definitely see myself crocheting there! One to put on my list.
We are off to France this afternoon, so if you don’t hear from me will be due to lack of WIFI or 3G. Happy Easter. ❤ 🙂

You would love the lace makers. Have a safe trip and a great Easter in France!! ❤

Very interesting. Great photos.

You’re making me want to visit Spain. Actually, I’ve always wanted to visit, but now I want to visit more. I would love to tour these little ancient towns and markets. And that’s the biggest mortar and pestle I’ve ever seen. I’m used to table top ones as big as a tea pot.

Thank you for sharing this wonderful information, and the amazing photos.

You would so love Spain, well any European country actually. It was a very huge mortar and pestle! Pleased you enjoyed the photos and info. I learn something new everyday and love to share.

Darlene, so interesting and special virtual tour! A love Spain but I have been only in Madrid…the has amazing history and fantastic food .)! have a nice Easter! Bye. Kamila

Madrid is a good place to start and was the first place I visited in Spain. It is a very diverse country and the smaller villages give you another view of the culture. Have a nice Easter as well Kamila.

Agree 100% with you 🙂

Great post, Darlene…love the history and the architecture!

You would have so much fun painting these scenes Kirt.

Absolutely fascinating. I feel like I was there, thanks to your photos and descriptions. What a gorgeous village. The views are incredible. And what great artisans.

So glad you could join me there! It was a fabulous village.

Hi Darlene, I’ve seen your face in the comments section of a few blogs I follow, so I thought I’d pop over and check you out! Looks like a lovely little town. I do love rustic pottery – it’s very nostalgic for me because my grandmother (who was French-Egyptian) used to do pottery, just as a hobby in her later life, so there were always lots of slightly quirky mismatched pots and bowls and so on around, and she used to let us grandkids have a go at making things sometimes too. I particularly like the photo of the houses in that street scene too, those old meditterranean (why can’t I spell that word today? I’ve had three attempts and it still looks wrong!), streets are always lovely. And that is one serious mortar and pestle!

Welcome to my blog! I love how this social media thing works. I also love pottery as my daughter is a potter on the west coast of British Columbia. Mediterranean is a word I have trouble with too. Thank heaven for spell check. I can´t get enough of these wonderful Spanish villages. Thanks so much for stopping in.

Thanks Darlene, I see you’ve popped over to mine too! I love the little Greek villages too – do you ever venture that way?

Haven’t been to Greece yet but it is on the list.

How wonderful all of this is so close to you home. I would go nuts in a pottery market. Your pictures are always so gorgeous.

I am so lucky to have these places on my doorstep. Pleased you like the pictures. Thanks for sharing Patricia!

I love walking these walks with you Darlene . I love to go to craft fairs and watch these clever people at work . You live in a very beautiful place I guess you know that .

Thanks for joining me on these walks Cherry. I do live in a beautiful place and am enjoying exploring it.

Wow, this is all so fascinating and your pictures are beautiful!

I am pleased you enjoyed the pictures of this wonderful place.

What a lovely place! The stone walls are magnificent. I like that children are welcome, and even get to try their hand at the craft. I don’t know how those lace makers do that, such intricate work and so many fibers!

The children attend everything in Spain. It is a very family oriented culture. The lace makers were amazing. It looked like it would take a lot of patience to do it. So pleased you liked the visit!!

[…] This theme is continued on Darlene’s blog here on WordPress with stories from Spain where she and her husband spend a great deal of their time. Here is her latest post about Alcalali where they make the most beautiful pots. https://darlenefoster.wordpress.com/2016/03/24/alcalali-the-place-where-pots-were-made/ […]

what a neat adventure! Love the markets too. We just got back from 2 weeks in Bali and one week in Hong Kong. Now trying to regroup and get in the same time frame…..

It was a neat place. You would have loved it. I’m sure you had a wonderful time in Bali and Hong Kong.

What an awesome and interesting trip you had! Love markets, it’s a nice place to get many lovely things!

I love markets too. Much better than shopping malls. Thanks for visiting my blog!!

Oh my hat, I just love that lacework, I will get lost in a place like that and never to be found, just an awesome treat.

It was a cool place, not very big so you wouldn’t get lost but certainly could spend some worthwhile time at.

Not lost as lost but you can come back at end of day and I will still be browsing and having fun

I know what you mean. Although I do get lost sometimes, even in small places, as I am in a world of my own and not paying attention!

What a great adventure!

Just the kind of adventure I relish!!

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