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Discover The Secrets Of Andalucia - The Axarquia

Dec 20, 2007
Mountain and coast, warm and fertile, rural and cosmopolitan, white and blue. These are all terms to describe the region of La Axarquia. On the easternmost part of the Costa del sol, near Malaga, protected from the cold northerly winds by the mountain ranges of Alhama, Tejeda and Almijara, and open to the African continent across the Mediterranean. Its priviliged location and climate attracted many cultures who chose to settle here: Romans, Phoenicians, Carthaginians and above all Moslems. A land of history and legend, the mark of its past is still present in the many watchtowers dotted along its coastline. And the fact is, there was a lot to defend: its mountain ranges rising up to 2.065 m; its gentle slopes speckled with vines and almond trees: its wide fertile valleys boasting a sub-tropical micro-climate.. In one such valley lies the capital of La Axarquia, Velez-Malasga.

The region was, and is, a prized treasure for those who visit and settle here. Today La Axarquia is living a different splendour, provided by the cosmopolitan atmosphere of its coast, with important tourist infrastructures and the tranquility of the inland areas, where whitewashed villages hide and treasure their past, full of cultures and civilisations that gave them their unique charm and way of live.

The Axarquia offers some spledid tours to discover the many secrets of the area. One of the most interesting itineries is the Raisin Route, thus called because it is the raisin vineyards, planted on the south-facing hillsides, that lead us and show us the route. A route that passes through the immense heritage left by the last inhabitants of the region, of Islamic origin. This is reflected in the wonderful buildings in towns that date back to the 16th century, with parish churches whose belfries are, in fact, ancient minarets. The same inhabitants also left an interesting farming activity that continues to this day, such as Moscatel wine, famous and appreciated, which is produced from the region's raisins using traditional methods.

The route begins in Moclinejo, a town with it's own place in history, thanks to the Battle of La Axarquia, when the "Moriscos" rose up against the christian troops in this area. Following the raisin vineyards we como to Almachar, where you must try the delicious cold "ajoblanco" soup with "coles moreadas" washed down with local wine, before carrying on to El borge, the place from which the rebels in the aformentioned uprising came. A town with rebellious nature, which still lives on centuries later in the figure of the most famous bandit from Malaga: "El Bizco del Borge".

The town of Cutar is famous, not only for its raisins, but also for its olive oil. The Parish Church combines its mudejar architecture with the rococo polychrome decoration of its chapel. From here we come to Comares, the Balcon de la Axarquia, so called for the amazing views. For this reason, the town was of strategic importance, proof of which are the two towers of its castle that still stand in the upper part of the town. The route comes to an end in Totalan, a land of almond groves and vineyards. Here, the Christians attempted to invade the town in an effort to surprise the Moslems. They did not succeed, thanks to the brave inhabitants, led by "El Zagal" (The Valiant) who managed to defeat the disorientated Christians.
About the Author
With more than 20 years of experience in the travel industry Rudi van der Zalm is the founder of one of Europe's most popular websites for holiday homes in rural Spain . A wide selection of country houses and lodgings can be found at www.rural-tour.com.
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