Size: 18.20 Km?
Population: 1.200
Residents known as: Sayalonguinos
Monuments: Church of Santa Catalina, Minaret of Corumbela, Circular Cemetery.
Geographical situation: In the Axarqu?a, 12 kilometres from V?lez M?laga.
Tourist information: Tourist Office, Plaza de la Constituci?n, 2. 29752.
Phone: 952 535 206 Fax: 952 535 206

The village of Sayalonga is in the heart of the Axarqu?a, 44 kilometres from Malaga on the N-340 and 28 kilometres almost due east from the town of V?lez-M?laga. The village itself is situated just nine kilometres from the coast and 359 metres above sea level, while the highest point of the municipality, the hill known as La R?bita, reaches 672 metres. The village is crossed by a main street with an intricate maze of narrow winding passages on either side. A new wide square is situated at the entrance to Sayalonga and this has become the focal point of village life. The narrowest of all the streets, with low, one or two-storey houses on either side, is Calle La Alcuza, where at either end your elbows brush against the walls as you pass. The historical origins of Sayalonga are confusing. The foundation of the settlement has been attributed to the Moors simply because no remains from earlier civilisations have been found, although the etymology of the name, Saya-longa, is clearly Latin and means "long tunic". To the west of the village lies La R?bita hill. This was the site of a sanctuary or monastery of warrior monks introduced by the Arabs from the eleventh century onwards to defend the area. It was here, at La R?bita, that the poet Ali Ibn Ahmd Ibn Muhammad Al-Hasni was born at the beginning of the fourteenth century. He was the person who wrote the history of the holy city of Mecca and also that of the Moorish governors of Malaga. When the Catholic Monarchs, Ferdinand and Isabella, conquered V?lez-M?laga, Sayalonga also fell, as did all the other local villages. In a short time the municipality was relegated to second place in the administration of the area and so the inhabitants joined in the rebellion of Arabs living under Christian rule, which led to their expulsion after the final denouement, the battle of Frigiliana, in 1569. The name Loma de Matamoros (Moor-killing hill), on the road to La R?bita, dates from this time, as do the Moorish graves nearby. King Philip II issued a royal decree in 1571 in which the goods and assets of all the Moors were confiscated and handed over to the Christians who had arrived from different parts of Spain to settle in the area. The newcomers continued with the same type of agriculture as before, creating terraces, which are still in use today. The economy of the area is based almost entirely on the vineyards, although tropical fruit have been introduced in recent years.

El Chiringuito. Specialising in traditional foods from the locality. Plaza Rafael Alcoba, s/n. Tel: 689 509 642 Sayalonga
Mes?n Morisco. Specilaising in home cooking, meats and beef. Plaza Rafael Alcoba, 8. Tel: 952 535 261. Sayalonga.
Bar-Restaurante Palustre. Specialising in home cooking and kid. Plaza Rafael Alcoba, 5. Tel: 952 635 214. Sayalonga.
Mes?n del N?spero. International cuisine. Callej?n del Mirador, 2. Tel: 952 535 216. Sayalonga.
Caf?-Bar Jocavi. Specialising in home cooking and tapas. Plaza Rafael Alcoba, 11. Tel: 952 535 177. Sayalonga

Casa rural D?az Chamorro. Situated in the centre of Sayalonga. Two apartments of 5 beds and one of 6 beds, with fireplace. Tel: 952 307 773.

One of the most important festivities in the municipal district is related to food, the D?a del N?spero, (Loquat Day) in the month of May, when visitors have the opportunity to try the fruit. There is also a summer fair at the end of July before the whole village embarks on the grape picking. The feast day of the patron saint, Our Lady of the Rosary, is celebrated on October 7th, when the image of the Virgin is carried in procession to a spot on the River Algarrobo known as El Lavadero, the washing place. Once there everybody takes part in a paella cooking competition, accompanied by wine tasting, with bands playing in the background. The villagers start to make their way back at sunset and the image of the Virgin is restored once again to its place in the church, with a final firework display to round off the day. Another important fiesta, held on September 7th and 8th, is the Lumbres, as they are called by the villagers. These are fires built at the doors of farmhouses during the grape-picking harvest and whole families congregate around them, singing and dancing, drinking spirits and eating roasted chick peas, in a tradition which is clearly pre-Roman in origin and, in fact, very closely adhered to in the whole of the Axarqu?a during the grape harvest.

Dishes that are typical of this village include sopa cachorre?a, made with oranges and garlic, the name coming from an old family in the area; pumpkin fried with oregano, a traditional Moorish dish; fried breadcrumbs with herrings and grapes; and kid in garlic. In Corumbela, a tasty bread is baked in wood-fired ovens. The local vineyards produce a delicious muscatel wine, made using old-fashioned non-industrial methods. The introduction of tropical fruits means that mangoes and loquats are commonplace on Sayalonga tables, as are raisins and honey.

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Villages of
The Axarquia