—The Axarquia

The municipalities of the Axarquia show in their slopes the life of an injured and expelled people, the Moslem. They were the Muslims who lived with catholic citizens until the Catholic Monarchs expelled them from their land. Then, the Catholics who lived around rapidly populated many of those villages that were left empty. The essence of those who left is still on the bendy narrow streets and in the architecture of the oldest houses. There are also some old defensive structures along the landscape plenty of olive trees, almond trees, and vine. The Axarquia is the place where the most important military complex of the centuries was located, unfortunately, today they are just ruins. There were three famous castles that were very important during the Moslems uprising before the expulsion, they are Benthomiz Castle in Arenas, Comares Castle and Zalia Castle in Alcaucin. The Axarquia is plenty of historic places that recall us how much blood were shed in this land. Some places have a very descriptive names that show us what happened there such as Hoya de los Muertos, deads pot, or Cuesta de la Matanza, slaughter hill, both in Moclinejo. Those names come from the massacre where Muslims threw furiously stones and trunks to Christians when they tried to besiege the fort. There are also some villages where important battles are remembered as along the streets. This is the case of Canillas de Aibaida where there is an engraving showing the battle of Penon de Frigiliana. Frigiliana is a village where there are many historic mosaics because this was the place were the Moslems' uprising was crushed. That piace was built up with the struggle of two different cultures that are the origin of those villages, Benamocarra, Macharaviaya, Caniilas de Albaida and Colmenar, among others, were at the beginning Arabic farmhouses. In fact, in some villages as Alfarnste there are traditional festivals called Moorish and Christians party, In those festivals people pretend the fighting between Muslims and Christians, for example the Moorish kidnap the Virgin Mary statue and the Christians have to free it. Although the military image of the area, the Moslem left a very good legacy of their habits and daily life in the Axarquia. They also left us the evidence that two different cultures may coexist. The churches are good example of that cohabitation because they were built over the old mosques. Many of those were built in the 16th century and they are made up of gothic, renaissance and baroque architectures but featuring mudejar minarets as we can reaiize in the Parroquia de San Mateo in Almachar or in the Iglesia de Nuestra Senora del Rosario in El Borge. Some others show predominance of mudejar style such as the iocai church of Salares that is a national monument, the church of Anejo de Benaque in Macharaviaya, the churches Nuestra Senora de ia Encarnacion in Comares and Cutar. There is a third Nuestra Senora de la Encarnacion in Archez that features a nazari minaret also declared national monument. There are some evidences as well of private life of Moslem citizens who lived all along the Axarquia. We can see some remains in Casa del Torreon,\n Sedalla, an old mudejar dweling, and in Canillas del Aceituno, Torre de la Casa de los Diezmos also called Torre de la Reina Mora. Those places wake up the visitants' imagination and bring to their minds the illusion of the old times.

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