The Indalo Man

by Robert Bovington

Go into any gift or souvenir shop in the city of Almería or the tourist resorts of Roquetas de Mar and Mojácar and you will find key rings, thimbles, teaspoons and even jewellery – all bearing the Indalo symbol. Furthermore, on the road to Almería airport a giant statue of the Indalo stands prominently on a roundabout towering over the ‘Welcome to Almería’ sign.

So what is so special about this stick figure man that the Almeriense, the people of Almería, call the Indalo? Well, in 1868, cave paintings were discovered in a cave in the north of the province of Almería. These paintings were about 6,000 years old and one of them, a man with his arms held out to his sides and holding a rainbow above his head, has come to be the symbol of Almería.

The Indalo allegedly brings good luck, health and love to those who own one. It is customary in this region of Spain to paint the Indalo symbol on the front of houses and businesses to protect them from evil. The interesting thing to note, however, is that this practice of warding off evil spirits by having the Indalo symbol above the door has been going on for centuries, so the locals must have known about the symbol before the cave discovery.

In olden days fishermen used to pin the symbol on their doors before going out to sea as a protection against storms and as a guarantee of obtaining a good catch. Perhaps they still do!

The cave in question, la Cueva de los Letreros, was declared a National Monument in 1924. It is one of a number of caves situated in the Sierra de María in the north of the province of Almería.

Los Letreros lies between the towns of Vélez Blanco and Vélez Rubio.

Vélez Blanco is particularly worth a visit. It is a typical pueblo blanco with its whitewashed houses nestling at the foot of a rocky outcrop upon which stands a majestic castle.

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About Robert Bovington

Robert Bovington is an English writer of travel books. These include “Spanish Matters” and “Spanish Impressions” Robert Bovington was born in Brighton, East Sussex, the son of Leonard and Audrey Bovington. He is the first-born and has eight siblings – six brothers and two sisters. Having worked for many years in both the telecommunications industry and the teaching profession, Robert wanted to take on new challenges. He and Diane decided to relocate to Spain and, in 2003, the couple moved to Roquetas de Mar in sunny Andalucía. However, lazing on the beach was not Robert's idea of fun - he wanted to explore his new homeland. It didn't stop there! He was so impressed with Spain, its countryside, its historic cities and its culture that it inspired him to write about his experiences. Robert Bovington has been married to Diane for over thirty years. They have no children. However, Robert’s short marriage to Helene resulted in twin daughters Carole and Sheila. The author is also a grandfather and great grandfather. Robert met Diane when both belonged to the Crescent Operatic Society. Music is one of the author’s great passions. At primary school he sang in a choir in a concert of Bach and Handel. Another of his interests is football and for many years he supported Brighton & Hove Albion home and away. His favourite premiership team is Arsenal. Other interests include information technology, writing and ten-pin bowling.
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