What to do and what to see in Monda

The municipality of Monda with 58 km², extends to the southwest of the province of Málaga and to the southeast of Sierra de las Nieves region, of which it forms part along with eight other municipalities. Part of its municipal area belongs to Sierra de las Nieves Natural Park and the protected area as Sierra de las Nieves World Nature Reserve.

Monda town is located at 427 meters of altitude and its municipality limits to the north with the municipality of Guaro, to the east with Coín, to the south with Ojén, to the west with Istán and to the northwest with Tolox.

Its strategic location, its landscape diversity and its long history make the municipality of Monda a very attractive place for tourists and travelers, offering a varied offer that ranges from outdoor activities such as hiking, bicycle routes, horseback riding, guided tours of its natural surroundings and by the town itself, as well as enjoying the numerous local festivities and a delicious gastronomy that is a clear exponent of the Mediterranean culinary tradition.

History of Monda

The municipality of Monda was a place of settlements since the Neolithic period as evidenced by axes found in the fields near the town.

The bridge over La Teja Stream and the existing Roman road in the vicinity of Monda are from Roman times. The origin of the name of Monda comes from the Romans and came to mean "valley between mountains". At this time, the territory of Monda had special relevance, as some historians say that the famous Battle of Munda took place here, where Julius Caesar defeated the Pompey brothers, but he could not taste the victory too long, because he was assassinated one year later.

During the Muslim era Al-Mundat Castle was built. This castle, which was part of the defensive system of the Guadalhorce Valley, has experienced numerous events throughout its history, such as the revolt of Umar ibn Hafsun after his rebellion in Bobastro in the 9th century, the advent of the Umayyad Caliphate of Córdoba and the pacification of Al-Andalus after the fall of the caliphate, leaving only the Kingdom of Granada with its strong expansion and the construction of places such as the Alhambra in Granada or the intervention in alcazabas such as that of Málaga or Almería.

With the reconquest of Monda by the Christian troops, the Muslims who populated the municipality continued in these lands, like Mudejars until the Moorish rebellion of 1568. After their defeat, they were expelled in 1570, distributing their properties to old Christians, mainly from Extremadura and Seville.

The Independence War of the early nineteenth century, the confiscations of Mendizábal and Madoz and the phylloxera plague of the end of the same century that practically ended with the disappearance of the cultivation of the vine, an important support for the peasantry in much of the province. Málaga, originated in Monda a social crisis that results in poverty, unemployment and emigration. Situation that continues in the 20th century with various economic, social and political crises that led to the Civil War and a dictatorship that marked a time of scarcity and famine until the middle of that century.

From the second half of the 20th century, with the tourist take off of the Costa del Sol and the entry of Spain into the European Union meant an unprecedented growth and development in the municipality of Monda.

Nowadays, Monda's economy is mainly sustained by tourism, construction and agriculture, of which the cultivation of olive trees, almond trees and citrus trees stands out. The exploitation of a series of marble quarries is also famous throughout the Sierra de las Nieves.

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What to see in Monda

From all the history that the municipality of Monda has lived, attesting to each civilization that has inhabited these lands, there is a cultural heritage that, apart from showing you the evidence of each era, will allow you to learn about the architectural styles of each moment and the reason of each construction.

The first civilization that left its mark on the Monda lands was the Roman one, with its Roman road. It is located at the exit of Monda, in the direction of Coín, a cobbled section of what was an ancient Roman road that was parallel to the Mediterranean coast inland is preserved, connecting the towns of the Guadalhorce Valley with their adjacent areas, the Málaga Port and the Marbella coast.

Moving forward a few centuries, from the Arab era you can see the Al-Mundat Castle, located in the Villeta Hill. It was built during the Islamic period towards the end of the 9th century. It underwent numerous modifications at the time of the invasions of the North African empires, during the time of taifa and the Nasrid period. After falling into Castilian hands it was dismantled and around 1569 its neighborhood of houses burned down by the Moors during the revolt. Today his remains are integrated into a charming hotel that tries to reconcile military aesthetics with residential use.

After the Christian reconquest of Monda, the Church of Santiago Apostle was built on the site of an old mosque in the early 16th century, although it underwent further extensions. Its facade is made up of an entrance with a semicircular arch flanked by pilasters and topped with a pediment whose frontispiece shows an image of Santiago Apostle. On one side stands the bell tower, square in plan and consisting of three bodies topped with a pitched tile roof. It has three naves separated by semicircular arches supported on rectangular pillars.

Next to this church, located on an exterior wall, marking the place of entry that formerly occupied the original Monda cemetery, you can find the Ram Cross. It is a latin wooden cross with its ends set in decorative wrought iron, located inside a niche.

From the same 16th century you will see the Cage Fountain and Laundry, consisting of a fountain, a trough and a laundry, located in the Lucía Stream. Its construction dates back to at least the 16th century and the water from this spring has been used for centuries for human consumption and for watering livestock, as well as for washing clothes in the attached laundry room and for watering the orchards. The laundry room consists of a large rectangular sink located in its central part and two rows of washing stones, one on each side of the pillar. Today it is a strong tourist attraction.

In addition to this fountain, in Monda you will be able to appreciate other series of fountains such as Villa Fountain, located at the exit of the town, in the direction to the municipality of Guaro, at the foot of Villeta Hill. This one has three cast iron pipes that appear from a whitewashed wall to pour water into a long pillar that served as a trough for livestock. The water went to an old laundry, now disappeared, and from there to the garden area a little further down. Currently the place that was the laundry, has become a Tourist Information Centre.

Another is the Corner Fountain, located at the corner of Doctor Jiménez Encina Street and with a large flow. It is made up of a dark gray marble pillar and a 2 meter high front where the three bronze pipes are located.

The last one is the Mea Mea Fountain, a modest fountain located on Marbella Street from Monda.

In the 18th century, three crosses located around Monda town, the Mountain Cross, the Water Cross and the Caravaca Cross, must be highlighted. Its distribution is attributed to the fact that they act as a divine belt and protector of the locality. They receive their names for the places where they are located, in the mountains, in the western area from where the rainwater comes or for the type of cross that it houses in the case of the third.

From the same century, at the entrance to the town is El Calvario, which is the last station of the Cross Way for Holy Week in Monda. It represents a calvary altar built in brick, raised on a plinth, traversed by projecting rows of brick and centered by a niche, topped by three pinnacles with the same protruding planes of the imposts and crowned by individual wrought iron crosses.

On the access road to El Calvario, you will find Las Eras, a whitewashed brick landmark. Its antiquity also dates back to the 18th century. At its feet extends a large circular era from the end of the 19th century paved with boulders that was once used for threshing and venting the cereal. It is the penultimate station of the Via Sacra.

In the historic center of Monda you can appreciate the Marigloria House Museum. It is a house that represents the archetype of Andalusian popular housing with whitewashed facades and harnessed by flowers and plants, with the forge in its windows and balconies and finished off by an Arab tile roof. It was an old bakery and in its interior, troughs, baskets and other tools for making bread are preserved. In addition to these items, its owner has collected a whole collection of vintage tools and furniture representative of the daily life of yesteryear, configuring an ethnographic museum with a rich collection of pieces.

Between the 18th and 19th centuries, was built the Tejar Stream Bridge, a bridge with a semicircular arch. It belongs to the old road from Monda to Guaro that formerly also led to other towns until reaching Ronda.

Under the premises of the Monda Town Hall you can see the Town Hall Vaults. The Town Hall was built in the 19th century and was intended as a grain warehouse. It consists of a semi-basement plan with a quadrangular surface with a system of groin vaults supported on quadrangular pillars and the perimeter walls. They are built with baked clay bricks cemented with lime and sand mortar. Today it represents a beautiful exhibition center in the Monda town.

As a tribute to the Monda charcoal burners and farm workers, in the Hermitage Square there is an ornamental fountain crowned by the statue of a charcoal burner.

Finally, located in the Moratán Reserve in the direction of Istán, is the Moratán Chimney. It is an old fireplace belonging to a cork cooker, located at the foot of Sierra Canucha and bordering the Sierra de las Nieves Natural Park. It is an exponent of the industrial architecture of the early twentieth century. It stands next to a farmhouse surrounded by orange trees, gall oaks and cork oaks orchards.

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What to do in Monda

Once you know everything about Monda's cultural heritage, it's time for you to start exploring its natural environment. An environment marked by part of its municipality belonging to the Sierra de las Nieves Natural Park, but where you can find many more places that will end up surprising you.

However, if you like nature but do not feel like leaving Monda town, you can enjoy it in one of the parks in the urban area.

One of these is the Doctor Villanueva Park, located on the vault of Lucía Stream and, taking advantage of this new urban space, it was inaugurated in 1993 with flower beds, borders, cork oaks and balustrades as a place of leisure and recreation. The name is because the prestigious traumatologist Francisco Villanueva Pareja, native of Monda.

Another park in the town of Monda is the Andalusian Park. It is a pretty garden square, presided over by the bust of Dr. Jiménez Encina, also born in this town.

However, if you are passionate about caving or hiking, you will love the municipality of Monda, because it has important chasms and caves in its territory such as the High Way Chasm or the Holy Cave. In addition, its territory runs through various river channels that end up forming part of Grande River, and it has several marked routes of small and long distance, which will allow you and all those who accompany you to enjoy its landscape.

To discover all the wonderful corners that Monda hides, it offers you a wide list of hiking routes that you can take on your visit and that will take you to places of extraordinary beauty.

To start with a route, from Monda town you can make the Holy Cave Trail, a linear route of about 7.5 km that has the Holy Cave as its end point. It runs through a more or less flat environment at the beginning, with farmland, where you can get beautiful panoramic views of Sierra Canucha, Moratán Reserve and Gaimón Reserve, with Sierra Real in the background and next to it, higher, Sierra de las Nieves with the Torrecilla peak. Then the path descends until reaching Seco Stream, with a more riverside landscape. From here, the ascent through Sierra Blanca limestone massif begins, with a karst landscape until you reach Holy Cave, a small wonder of nature and refuge of prehistoric men, ranchers and fugitives over time. Above the cave there is a cross at the edge of a ravine from where you can enjoy excellent panoramic views of the coast and the interior.

The Alpujata Trail has the beginning in Monda town and Alpujata Orchards as end point. The route runs through places where you will find beautiful pine forests, such as those of Gordo Hill and Sierra de Alpujata, cork oak forests, fields of olive trees, almond trees and orchards, old calves and cattle corrals. All this within the protected space of Sierra de las Nieves World Nature Reserve. Here, you will have the opportunity to check how the interaction of the human has taken place with the environment around him within this protected space over time. It is a route with a low level of difficulty, ideal to enjoy it and share it with the little ones in this environment.

With 4.2 km of linear route and a low level of difficulty, you will find the Monda - High Way PR-A 277 Trail. On your route you will find various information panels on the flora, fauna and traditional activities of the place. The trail starts from Monda town until it reaches High Way, passing through the Alpujata Recreational and Sports Area, from where you can see the Gordo Hill pine forest and Sierra Alpujata. In the Alpujata Stream you will see how its waters are used by an area of orchards arranged in terraces and you will have the possibility of seeing very old ditches, pools and hydraulic mills. At the end of the route and after a climb through a pine forest, you will arrive at a place where caves and chasms proliferate, among which the High Way Chasm stands out, a chasm of small dimensions but of great beauty that has attracted the area numerous cavers for their variety of calcareous formations.

A route with a circular route you can do in Monda is the Monda - Morales Fountain - Gordo Hill PR-A 275/276 Trail, with 8.5 km of route and a low level of difficulty, which starts and ends in Monda town. It passes through the Morales Fountain and passes through the Alpujata Stream and Gordo Hill. On your way you will pass through places with a lush forest mass where abundant Aleppo pines, cork oaks, holm oaks and carob trees; also by cultivation of olive trees, almond trees and fig trees, as well as by orchards next to streams, as in the Alpujata Stream. During the journey you can cool off and drink water at the Morales Fountain, located under the shade of a large gall oak. The water from this fountain is highly appreciated by the residents of Monda who come there to fill their jugs.

Monda is part of a route between municipalities which in turn belongs to a stage of the Great Path of Málaga. This great path gives you the option of touring the province of Málaga through many of the municipalities that make it up, connecting them to each other through rural areas.

  • Stage 32, Ojén - Mijas - This is the longest stage of this path, with 50.4 km of route. It runs from Ojén to Mijas, passing through the municipalities of Monda, Coín and part of Alhaurín el Grande. Regarding the part of the route that Monda goes through, you can travel through the Seco Stream valley to the town and, from here, you can continue through Gordo Hill and Algarrobo Hill until you reach the municipality of Coín.

Within the Sierra de las Nieves Natural Park you can take the Monda - Istán GR 243 Trail, a linear route 18 km long with a medium-high level of difficulty that connects the towns of Monda and Istán. It runs almost entirely on the old cobblestone road that linked the two towns. On your way you will cross pine and cork oak forests. Arriving in Istán you will be able to observe numerous orchards and agricultural farms. You will pass first through the Seco Stream and then through the Maratán Pasture, where the cereal fields coexist harmoniously with the forests of cork oaks, holm oaks, gall oaks and heather. After crowning the Moratán Refuge, you will begin the descent along the Bornoque Way and, after crossing the Hell Cattle Road, you will access the Verde River, and thus, between fields of orchards and citrus trees, you will reach Istán, where the water and its fountains are the protagonists and where you can contemplate the spring of the Molinos River.

Another route that you can take and that will transfer you to another municipality is the Monda - Juanar - Ojén GR 243-1 Trail. A linear route of 17 km in length, with a low level of difficulty that connects Monda and Ojén, in Sierra de las Nieves Natural Park and passes through one of the best-known places in the Sierra de las Nieves World Nature Reserve, the Juanar area. On your tour you will be able to appreciate a wide variety of landscapes such as pine forests, mediterranean scrub areas, typical mountain and chestnut groves. You will also be able to enter places of interest such as the Purla Flats and the Juanar, of great scenic beauty with large pine forest masses; the Corzo Viewpoint, from where you can contemplate a magnificent panoramic view of Ojén and the Costa del Sol or the abrupt descent through the Cherry Orchard Cattle Road.

Finally, to finish with the list of hiking routes that Monda offers, you can do the Monda - Guaro - Monda GR 243 Trail. It is a 13.5 km long circular route, with a medium level of difficulty that It joins Monda and Guaro, forming an interesting circular itinerary for mountain biking, although it is also ideal for walking. On your journey, which runs mainly between the typical mountain cultivation fields, you will also have to cross patches of the original mediterranean forest and scrub, made up mainly of holm oaks, carob trees and pines, as well as almond groves and orchards where the subtropical trees like avocados proliferate. You will get great views of the main massif of Sierra de las Nieves, culminated by the Torrecilla peak (1,919 m).

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Traditional festivities and celebrations in Monda

One of the best ways to understand the tradition and culture of each place is through its local celebrations. To fulfill this purpose, Monda gives you the opportunity to live this experience through a calendar of celebrations spread throughout the year, so that you can match your visit with one of them.

The first celebration that takes place in the year is the Carnival, at the end of February. This celebration is not original to Monda, however, parades are held where all the costumes are exhibited and which is finished off with a contest in the town square, with costumes and chirigotas that encourage attendees until late at night.

On February 28, as in all municipalities in Andalusia, the Andalusia Day takes place. The peculiarity is that in Monda a rice is cooking in the town square that is shared with all the neighbors and visitors, entertaining them with an orchestra and musical groups.

The first festivity that you can find in the year coming from Monda is the Mondeña Soup Day. It is celebrated on the last Sunday of the month of March and during its celebration this typical Monda dish is made from bread and other products of the land, for thousands of diners on a holiday that is animated with live music.

As in many places in Spain, in March or April, depending on the year, Holy Week takes place. In Monda it is celebrated with great passion, taking in procession different sacred images. The most popular procession is that of Holy Thursday at night when the procession of the Crucified and the Virgin of the Sorrows, which meet at El Calvario, on the outskirts of town.

Another festivity with religious character celebrated in Monda is the Pilgrimage of St. Roque. Its celebration takes place in the month of May and the pilgrims head to the Alpujata Reserve, where the Hermitage of St. Roque is located. There a mass is celebrated and a day passes in full coexistence. In the afternoon the pilgrims return to the town with the image of the patron, which is received by fireworks.

Corpus Christi takes place in June. For this celebration the streets of Monda are covered with fragrant plants and small altars are set up that are blessed by the pastor and his entourage.

At the beginning of summer, the St. John's Night is celebrated between June 23 and 24 in the town square.

Also during June, the Cultural Week takes place in Monda. Concerts, dances, exhibitions, children's activities, chess competitions and dominoes are organized there.

Two events are held in Monda in July, the Villa de Monda Flamenco Festival and the Jazz Night. Both take place in the town square.

Starting on August 16, the St. Roque Fair takes place, in which numerous activities are carried out, such as popular games for the youngest and oldest, contests, concerts, orchestras and a water festival.

To finish Monda's calendar of events, you will have to wait until Christmas, when Pastoral Meeting and Christmas Carol Contest are held. These festivities are completed off with the New Year's Eve celebration and the cavalcade of the three kings.

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Gastronomy of Monda

The gastronomy of Monda is closely related to that of its region, Sierra de las Nieves. It highlights traditional mediterranean cuisine in which olive oil predominates as a star product.

However, within its territory many other typical products are obtained such as vegetables, seasonal fruits, olives, almonds, cereals, legumes, asparagus, mushrooms, common golden thistles, game meats and farm meats, as well as some fish from the municipalities of Costa del Sol Occidental.

From the predominance of these products in Monda, the typical dishes of the municipality are obtained such as the mondeña soup, the seasoned olives, the vigil stew, the cod salmorejo or the goat with garlic.

In the confectionery stand out the fried donuts, the fried cookies and the hornazos.

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