The municipality of Alozaina, with an area of 34 km2, is located in the northwest of the province of Málaga, 52 kilometers from Málaga city. It is one of the nine municipalities that make up the Sierra de las Nieves region.
Part of the Alozaina territory extends along the eastern slope of Sierra de las Nieves Natural Park and limits the municipality of Casarabonela to the north and northwest, Coín to the east, Guaro to the south, Tolox to the southwest and Yunquera to the west.
Alozaina extend from the Grande River valley, a tributary of Guadalhorce River, in the south, to the summit of Sierra Prieta, in the north. Part of its lands serve as a transition between the Valle del Guadalhorce and the eastern mountains of Sierra de las Nieves Natural Park. Your visit will allow you to enjoy a varied natural landscape, finding on the slopes of Sierra Prieta (1,525 m) its most beautiful spots, especially that of Las Ventanillas.
In Alozaina we work mainly in agriculture, in olive crops, especially for green olives, as well as fruit trees and cereals.
The urban structure of Alozaina town inherits its Muslim origin, especially in its oldest part, with sloping, labyrinthine and narrow streets, sometimes without exit, with gleaming white facades and hidden corners, dominated by showy and striking flowers.
The human presence in the lands of the municipality of Alozaina dates back to the Upper Palaeolithic, as attested by some finding that is preserved in the Málaga Provincial Museum. In these lands, Iberians and Phoenicians, and later Romans, also settled over time, as other found findings demonstrate, such as a small necropolis in the Cerro de Ardite (Ardite's Hill) and others in the Monte and in the Valentine's area.
With the arrival of the Muslims, the watchtowers of Ardite and "Aloçaina" were built in Alozaina, which would become a small fortress, giving rise to the town and name of the town, which means "small castle".
In the 8th century, agricultural uses had already been introduced in Alozaina and, throughout the Arab domination, the urban nucleus was evolving, building new houses around the fortress walls. Its economy was based on agriculture, with the production of raisins, fig cherries, olive oil, almonds and, above all, citrus fruits and other irrigated crops in the Jorox area. Currently, one of the ditches used for irrigation is called Acequia del Moro (Moorish's Canal).
With the reconquest by the Christian troops in 1484, the Alozaina crops were destroyed and the town suffered depopulation, repopulating with old Christians between 1485 and 1490 through the Royal Charter. In 1492 Alozaina was declared a municipality.
In the second third of the 16th century with the Moorish uprising, Alozaina town was again attacked and defended in this case by its inhabitants of Christian origin. The heroine María Sagredo, a neighbor of the town, was the one who defended him from the Moorish incursion.
In the mid-nineteenth century Alozaina town lived a very prosperous time. It had about 4,000 inhabitants, there were two sumac mills, nine for olive oil and six for flour. The love for music was such that, apart from the municipal band, a parish choir was founded and performances of zarzuelas were performed. A newspaper, El Reformista Administrativo (The Administrative Reformist), was published and, in addition, it had three bookstores.
Alozaina is said to have been the first town in Spain to start harvesting green olives. Currently, this activity is one of the main sources of income for the municipality's economy.
When you walk through the streets of the town, you can see that Alozaina has an architecture and layout based on the Arab era. Streets with slopes, labyrinthine and narrow, sometimes without exit, with gleaming facades and hidden corners that are full of beautiful and attractive flowers. Traditional houses still predominate in the old area of Alozaina, contrasting the most noble and stately ones located in main squares and streets, with others of more humble origin. The first ones generally have two or three floors, a wide doorway and windows and balconies with beautiful lattices; while the second ones do not exceed two floors and are low in height. Among these houses you can see the odd monument that is part of Alozaina's cultural heritage, as well as its history.
One of these monuments comes from the Nasrid era, when there was a castle in Alozaina of which only part of a tower and remains of the wall are preserved. This tower has the name of Torreón de María Sagredo (María Sagredo's Tower), in honor of the feats it performed this woman for the defense of the people in the Moorish rebellion. What remains of the surroundings of the tower, is the result of a reconstruction carried out in the mid-20th century, which allowed part of the castle to be recovered for citizen use. In addition, from the historical sense that the castle has, it is an excellent viewpoint, known as Viewpoint Park, from which you can see the Hoya de Málaga (Málaga Wide Valley) and Sierra Prieta.
An example of peaceful coexistence between Moors and Christians is found in the necropolis of El Albar town and the Hermitage Hoyos de los Peñones, built in the 8th century, when the Mozarabs arrived in the Iberian Peninsula and settled in Sierra de las Nieves. It is located next to the road that leads to Casarabonela and is made up of an interior and a semi-rock church of hermit origin. The south face of the rock was used as the head of the nave of the church and only traces of the pavement remain. The necropolis is very close to the church area and one hundred and twenty-one tombs are excavated in it.
Also in Los Peñones (The Rocks) set, you will find “El Albar” Fountain.
At the end of the 18th century, the Church of Saint Anne was built in Alozaina, by Felipe Pérez. It was built on the site of the old church and, probably, taking advantage of part of the previous structure. Its plant is of Latin cross and its interior has a single nave with a wooden deck. It has a red brick facade with a semicircular arch on Tuscan pilasters. The tower is square in plan and becomes octagonal in the body of bells.
Located at the entrance to Alozaina town and built in 1951, you will see the Alozaina Arch, one of the most significant elements of the municipality. It was carried out to commemorate the Arab past of the town and became an entrance portico to Alozaina, with an urban structure easily identifiable as Arab, especially in its old part.
To finish, a small space of sacralization and religious character is represented by the Hornacina Cruz Villa (Villa Cross Niche). Inside is "the Cross of the Villa" adorned with flowers and candles that Alozaina's neighbors have put on it. The cross is cared for and protected by a handmade wrought iron fence and a small roof.
Alozaina, like most municipalities in the area, the natural environment represents the main attraction when it comes to carrying out activities, marked by the integration of the municipality in Sierra de las Nieves Natural Park.
However, before leaving the town to explore the surroundings of Alozaina, you can increase your knowledge about the municipality and its history by visiting the Tools and Popular Customs and Craft Store Museum. It is a social company dedicated to recovering the crafts trades that are part of the Andalusian cultural heritage. In it, ancestral crafts such as pottery, ceramics, goldsmithing and traditional toy making are worked on, as well as a compendium of complementary crafts. Its items are exhibited with great authenticity and exclusivity, and you can buy elaborate products.
After learning a little more about the customs of Alozaina, it is time for you to begin to know the wonderful nature that the municipality hides. In this regard, there is a place between the Sierra de las Nieves and the Valle del Guadalhorce region that is a natural enclave with a wide variety of landscapes. It is the Jorox River valley, a small meadow that starts in the rural Jorox, within the municipality of Alozaina. Its spring, which gives rise to the river, is distributed by a complete network of ditches and pools of Arab origin, which was used as a driving force in a total of nine mills, as well as for the irrigation of the orchards in their terraces. These nine flour mills that existed next to the Jorox River bed are currently in disuse, but some of them have been kept in good condition.
The main peculiarity of this valley is the contrast offered by the canyon that serves as the head of the stream and the orchards and fruit trees that accompany the course of the stream during its first section. In this area you will find numerous caves and chasms, which makes it one of the favorite places for caving.
In addition, so that you can get to know the whole natural area of Alozaina better, there are two hiking routes that you can take and, thus, achieve a total connection with nature.
One of these routes is the Fuente Techá - Sierra Prieta Trail PR-A 273, which starts at the confluence between Cañada de Fuente Techá (Techá Fountain Cattle Road) and Sierra Prieta and will take you towards Las Ventanillas rock formation. In this section, the route runs through an area of scrub and pine forests. From Las Ventanillas the ascent continues, showing mountain vegetation until reaching the summit of Sierra Prieta. To descend you can take the same way there or a variant that leads to the same place. The trail is 5 km long, with a high difficulty and an estimated duration of three and a half hours.
Another route with 9 km, high difficulty and a four-hour duration one way you will find the Alozaina - Siete Fuentes PR-A 272 Trail. It starts next to Alozaina town and from the beginning it will take you up to Llano de Zaralejo (Zaralejo Flat). From here the route goes through an old path that is cut by Sierra Prieta lane, from where you can choose to go to the Puerto de Pino Alto (High Pine Refuge) from the Senda de la Cañada del Tío Felipe (Uncle Felipe Cattle Road Path) or the Senda del Romeral (Romeral Path), but you do not have to think about it too much, since you can go up one and go down the other. Once you pass this section you will have little to continue through the old Sierra Prieta Fountain and finish the ascent of the route.
Throughout the year, a series of celebrations take place in Alozaina that will show you the culture, customs and traditions of this town in Sierra de las Nieves. In addition, for many of these celebrations, Alozaina has a rociero choir, which plays above all in the Pilgrimage of the Holy Cross of Jorox, a dance group, for their performance on Andalusia Day and in the patron saint fairs, a band of music, the oldest in the province of Málaga, and a theater group known as “Grupo de La Pasión”, who rescue a tradition lost after the Civil War, the representation of the Passion live every Holy Week.
At the end of February you will be able to enjoy the Carnival of Flour, which enjoys great recognition for the very unique festival with which it is inaugurated, the Festival of Flour. Here, in addition to the traditional Carnival costume and couplet contests that take place in the main square of Alozaina on Saturday night, residents and visitors carry bags full of flour to “whiten” anyone in their path. In these festivals “the wheel dance” and the Burial of the Sardine are also typical.
During Holy Week, the Christ of the True Cross is taken out in procession. For this, he is transferred to the Church of Saint Anne on the Saturday before Palm Sunday and returned to his place of worship on the Sunday following Easter.
On the first Sunday of May the Pilgrimage of the Holy Cross of Jorox takes place, coinciding with the May Crosses. The previous day the crosses with flowers are adorned throughout Alozaina town. On Sunday, the Holy Cross of mirror and glass, carefully adorned with flowers, is transported in a carriage to Jorox, where the hermitage is located and in its interior the Christ of the True Cross. Once in the hermitage a mass is celebrated rociera and, later, each family or group of friends gathers to spend a day of conviviality in the countryside, where there is no lack of food, music and the traditional dance of Alozaina, “Los Fandangos de Jorox”.
Also in May, the Moorish Rebellion and the defense of María Sagredo are celebrated and, in honor of her name, the day is remembered when this heroine defended Alozaina from an attack by the Moors. For this, the residents of the town themselves represent this scene.
In summer, at the end of July, the Santiago and Saint Anne Fair takes place. With this fair, Alozaina opens the summer fairs in Sierra de las Nieves. This begins with the traditional chupinazo and a fireworks show. The night fair takes place in the Viewpoint Park, an emblematic place in Alozaina, where you can enjoy music and dance until dawn. On July 25 the image of Santiago is taken out in procession and on the 26th that of Saint Anne, this last cover only by women.
Finally, in September you can attend the Olive Fair, which is also dedicated to the Virgin Mary, since on September 12 Alozaina celebrates the name of Lady with the procession of the Immaculate Virgin. In this festivity you can taste green olives and enjoy singing and sardanas.
The gastronomy of Alozaina is typical of the Sierra de las Nieves region, however, as you may have already seen, there is a product that stands out and is very representative of the municipality, the green olives. In the Alozaina tradition, the seasoned green olive represents the star product and one of the most typical dishes of the town.
In addition, other typical dishes that you can taste in Alozaina are the cod stew, the nightstick with egg, the fig bread or the fried donuts with sugar.