The Tabernas Desert (Spanish: Desierto de Tabernas) is one of Spain's semi-deserts, located within Spain's southeastern province of Almería. Almeria is the driest region of Europe, with the continent's only true desert climate where annual rainfall reaches levels as low as 156 mm in coastal areas. The Tabernas desert is located in the interior, about 30 kilometers (19 mi) north of the provincial capital, Almería, in the Tabernas municipality. Due to its altitude it has slightly higher annual rainfall (around 200mm per year) and lower annual average temperature than Almeria's coastal desert. It is protected as a wilderness area (paraje natural) spanning 280 square kilometres (110 square miles).
Geology and Biology:
The little rainfall that occurs is usually torrential, so that the ground, consisting of marls and sandstone with little vegetation, is unable to retain moisture. Instead, the rain causes erosion, forming the characteristic landscape of badlands. Arroyos formed by torrential rain harbor the scarce vegetation and fauna such as swifts, hedgehogs, jackdaws, pin-tailed sandgrouses, blue rock thrushes, stone curlews, trumpeter finches, and crested larks.
The Desert of Tabernas, because of its similarities with the North American deserts like the Far West of the American West, northern Africa, the Arabian deserts, and its lunar landscape, served from 1950s and is still used today for the shooting of many films and westerns. The spaghetti westerns were shot at the three main studios, Texas Hollywood, Mini Hollywood, and Western Leone.