Bryan Hemming

short stories, comment, articles, humour and photography

Conil photos/fotos de Conil

Fotos de Conil new

For more than a decade I have lived in the Andalusian pueblo Conil de la Frontera and its surrounds. Inevitably, things have changed over that time and I have recorded some of those changes.

Tuna fishing has played an important part in the local economy since time immemorial. Using a technique that goes back millennia, a maze made of nets is employed. Known as almadrabaoriginally derived from the Arabic meaning ‘place of killing’ – the technique involves enticing the tuna along a complicated series of net passageways leading to a holding net. Confused, and unable to negotiate an escape route, they are slaughtered in a bloody mayhem over the early summer months.

Though many strongly disagree with the method, far fewer are killed than by more modern techniques. Quotas have been strictly adhered to over recent years, bringing a welcome surge in numbers that has saved the tuna from the brink of extinction. Tuna from Conil fetch a premium price, and are highly rated in the sushi bars of Japan.

Click onto any photo to see carousel.

Throughout its history, and up until comparatively recently, the walled collection of buildings arranged around a central plaza, known as the Chanca, was a centre for the wholesale selling of fish and processed fish products.During the Franco dictatorship the Chanca was used by the Guardia Civil to imprison, torture, and execute by firing squad, those accused of being Republicans. Over the following decades it gradually fell into such disrepair it was in danger of tumbling down.

Restoration began in 2009. Now fully restored, the buildings have been transformed into a cultural centre housing the pueblos’s library and an exhibition hall. Over the summer season, a large section of the central plaza plays host to open-air concerts of music and dancing.

Back in Roman times, Conil was a thriving centre for the production of Garum, a popular fish sauce throughout the empire. The fish were processed on the other side of the River Salado on the south side of the town. Further down the coast at Bolonia, evidence of a factory used to ferment fish in the production of Garum, and also for the salting of fish, can still be seen among the impressive Roman ruins.

Five large supermarkets have opened during my time here, leading to the closure of many small neighbourhood grocery stores. With tourism taking over as the town’s main source of income, this trend is certain to increase. In the rush to cash in on property prices – unlike much of the rest of Spain they haven’t fallen quite so much – not enough care has been taken to preserve the historical value of the old town, which dates back to Phoenician times.

The building explosion has seen ancient properties demolished without much thought to the pueblo’s valuable heritage. Many houses that haven’t been demolished might just as well have been, as they have been over-restored so as to remove, or disguise, any discernable traces of their former character. This trend is something the town may have future cause to regret.

A few of the photos in this gallery of from the nearby cities and pueblos of Cádiz, El Colorado, Vejer de la Frontera and Cáceres in the autonomous community of Extramadura.

Click here for more photos of Conil.

Copyright © 2010 Bryan Hemming
Photos of Conil


9 comments on “Conil photos/fotos de Conil

  1. legalandimportant
    August 31, 2015

    Thank you, I enjoyed this very much. The photos are lovely. I particularly like the lady walking up the hill. 🙂


  2. Martina Ramsauer
    March 23, 2015

    I thank you very much for your very interesting article which let’s me have a glimpse at history and the way of life in Conil. Even though I have been in Andalucia, I don’t remember, unfortunately, this place.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bryan Hemming
      March 23, 2015

      The Costa de la Luz, on the Atlantic coast side of Andalucia, remains relatively unexplored by comparison with the Mediterranean coast. I heartily recommend the nearby city of Cádiz, which is said to be the oldest city in Western Europe. Though tourists do throng the ancient lanes and alleys closest to the cathedral square, they are still outnumbered by locals. Venture a little further into the maze and you are plunged into all the magic of real Andalucian culture. It´s difficult to get lost, as you will always end up by the sea sooner or later, the city being on an island connected to the mainland by a causeway. For some of my photos of Cádiz click here: Another trip to Cádiz

      Thanks for your visit and comment.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Martina Ramsauer
        March 23, 2015

        It was a pleasure to read your detailed information and I am already making plans to Cadiz and Conil. Best regards Martina

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Bryan Hemming
    November 16, 2014

    Thanks for that Laura. And thanks for bringing me back to review the piece. I must’ve edited it late at night, as it still needed some work.

    I have re-edited it and added a little more information.


  4. Laura Bloomsbury
    November 15, 2014

    Great mixture of nostalgia, local news and your evident love of the place – you take a mean shot too with camera. Noticed a few pot shots at Franco too

    Liked by 2 people

  5. sandradan1
    September 27, 2014

    Hi Bryan, Passing the blogging love around… I’m delighted to nominate you for The Liebster Award.To learn more, please click here to check out my post
    If you don’t do awards, that’s okay, please accept this as a message of appreciation for your blog! Sandra


    • Bryan Hemming
      September 28, 2014

      Well, flattery gets you everywhere, as far as I’m concerned. Though you are right in thinking I might not do awards, I find your particular nomination hard to resist. Damn you! I’ve already filled in the questionnaire, and will look at the rest tomorrow.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Jean Baron
    January 21, 2011

    Bon, j’ai rien compris vu mon niveau d’Anglais… Mais bravo Bryan!


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This entry was posted on January 6, 2011 by in Art, Photos, Travel and tagged , , , , , , , , .

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