Last modified: 2015-07-28 by ivan sache
Keywords: spain | andalusia | malaga | almáchar | coat of arms |
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image by Blas Delgado, 15 Oct 2005
Size: 14,30 Km²
Residents known as: Almachareños
Monuments: Church of San Mateo.
Geographic location: 35 kms. from Malaga and 14 from Vélez Málaga, at 200 metres above sea level.
Tourist information: Town Hall, Plaza del Convento, 14. 29718.
Phone: 952 512 002
Fax: 952 512 140
Almárchar is situated in the heart of the Axarquía at 200 metres above sea level, 35 kilometres from Malaga city and 14 from Vélez-Málaga. It is built on a small hill between the El Borge and Almáchar rivers, close to the Mountains of Malaga and surrounded by vineyards, olive and cereal groves. The municipality extends from the hill of the same name as the town (334 metres high) and the basin of the river Almáchar to the Vallejo peak, at 609 metres high. From the road one can see the typical country houses and areas where the grapes are hung out to dry (and thus become raisins), and the small terraced plots of land with orange and lemon trees growing. Arriving at the town itself, one should park at the entrance, since the narrow streets are not suited to cars.
The first settlements in the area were made on the river bank, and were built in single or double storeys in rubble masonry, with roof tiles and an interior patio. The most interesting of the winding, narrow streets is calle Los Mártires, which surrounds the church that was built on the street itself, to maintain it level. The building rests on a barrel vault that unites the church with the house in front. There are many interesting nooks and crannies in the town, like the Jardines de El Forte, the Barrio de las Cabras and the Plaza del Santo Cristo, where the Museo de la Pasa is situated. The town has an Aparthotel with five fully-equipped apartments where travellers can rest in peace and comfort.
The name of the town derives from the Arabic "Al Maysar," meaning "The Meadows" or "Land of the Meadows," and used to form part of what was known as the "Four Villas," along with Cútar, El Borge and Moclinejo. They were under the protection of Comares, and following the re-conquest in 1487, their dependence on this town continued. The first real historical data we have on the place is from the 16th century, when a number of families involved in herding occupied the town after the Moriscos, angry about an agreement by which they used to cultivate fine grapes, had abandoned it. In 1611, Almáchar features in the Malaga Ordinances as Macharalyate. The placing of a huge cross on a nearby hill by the townspeople resulted in many writers referring to the place as Almáchar de la Cruz, a symbol which is still incorporated into the town¹s coat-of-arms.
An earthquake in 1755 forced the people to leave their homes and take refuge in the countryside. The excellent quality of manufactured cloths from the town at the end of the 19th century made it known far and wide, and at this time there were more than a hundred workshops involved in this industry. One of the saddest periods in the history of Almáchar was during the Civil War years, when families were divided and friends pitted against friends as a result of differing political beliefs.
Blas Delgado, Oct 15 2005