Almeria's cinematic past

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Almeria province has been the backdrop for literally hundreds of movies; everthing from the Clint Eastwood classics like A fist full of Dollars to more recent films like Conan the Barbarian.

Movie making in Almeria reached its peak during the 1960s and 70s. Back then you would see hollywood's biggest names in this dusty isolated part of Spain.

This is where they shot the award winning "Lawerence of Arabia" - one of the first classics in the province. Many people regarded as director David Lean's finest work. It won seven oscars. Most of the scenes were shot in the area between Alquian and Cabo de Gata.

"Lawrence of Arabia" turned Peter O'Toole into one of the biggest screen stars of the 1960s. He became a famous hell-raiser, whose off-stage drinking exploits are legendary. The film also showcased Almería as one of the most evocative and dramatic film locations on the planet.

Most people think that "Dr Zhivago" (the classic Russian revolution love story) was also shot here, but it was actually shot in nearby Guadix.

Other classics shot here in clude 'Cleopatra' in 1963, 'Patton' in 1970, and in 1989 Spielberg picked the desert Tabernas for parts of 'Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade'.

If you like westerns (Speghetti in particular) this is the place to visit. There are three theme parks - Mini Hollywood, Texas Hollywood and Western Leone - which have preserved sets used in the classic Sergio Leone films.

Located in what feels like the middle of nowhere, these charming sets were once home to such hollywood greats as Clint Eastwood, Yule Brunner, Lee Van Cleef and others.

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