What to do and what to see in Frigiliana

The town of Frigiliana with 40 square kilometers of extension, is located on the southern slope of the Sierra de Almijara and east of the region of La Axarquía, in the province of Málaga. The population center is located 350 meters above sea level and 6 kilometers from Nerja, possibly one of the most beautiful villages in Andalusia, from it you have a unique view of the coast. Just 50 kilometers west is the city of Málaga and in an hour and a half by car, we could visit the city of Granada. In addition, it is part of the so-called Route of the Sun and Wine.

Taking a drive from Frigiliana to Torrox through the Loma del Pedregal is a real dream, we will have the chance to get unique views of the town, the mountains and, in general, the valley where it is located and the coast.

Its relief, quite abrupt to the north, is the anteroom of the Sierra de Almijara, highlighting points such as the Sierra de Enmedio (1171 m) and El Fuerte (976 m). As we move to the south, the green subtropical stepped gardens begin the descent to the coast, contrasting with the blue of the Mediterranean. Its lands are bathed by the Chillar River, which crosses them in the east, serving as a natural limit with the municipality of Nerja and originating beautiful waterfalls, gorges and caissons very appropriate for canyoning enthusiasts. Its tributary, the Higuerón River, crosses them from north to south, leaving in its wake beautiful landscapes such as the Hoces of the Higuerón River, of enormous landscape value.

History of Frigiliana

Its municipal term was already occupied in prehistoric times, as shown by the archaeological remains found in the Cave of the Bats, which show the presence of man in this territory from the end of the Neolithic period (3000 years BC) until the Copper Age (2000 years BC). Also the presence of a menhir and a necropolis located in the Cerrillo of the Shades, very close to the urban area, testify to the human presence in these lands during the Phoenician period (7th-6th centuries BC).

Later, it was the Romans who occupied it around the 2nd century BC. The name comes from the Romans.

It was, the period of Arab occupation that impregnated the municipality of its current Moorish legacy, is the best preserved exponent with the intricate layout of streets, alleys, covered passages and staircases throughout La Axarquía. And it is that, from the arrival of the Arabs to the peninsula in the year 711 until the surrender to the Christian troops in 1485 it lived under the dominion of this culture.

After the Christian occupation and after the publication of the Royal Pragmatics of Felipe II, the Moriscos were dispossessed of the few rights they had, until the rebellion start in 1569, in which the Moriscos of La Axarquía and the Montes de Málaga , waiting for the help promised by Aben Humeya from the Alpujarra of Granada and north Africa, took refuge in El Fuerte of Frigiliana, where they gathered around 7,000 Moriscos. In this place there was a cruel and bloody battle between Moors and Christians where there were more than 2,500 casualties between victors and losers, known as the Battle of the Rock of Frigiliana. The story of those days, as well as the final expulsion of the Moors throughout the area, can be read in the twelve ceramic panels scattered around the old town of Frigiliana.

In the 17th century, it obtained the title of Villa under the reign of Felipe IV. In the mid-nineteenth century, had more than 3,000 census. However, the epidemics of yellow fever, the earthquake of 1884 and the plague of phylloxera, decimated this number until well into the 20th century, and it would not be until the arrival of tourism when the municipality would reach greater prosperity.

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What to see in Frigiliana

Within the cultural heritage of Frigiliana we can find different attractions to see.

Old town of Frigiliana: The urban center of Arab origin, has the purest structure of how many exist in the province of Málaga. The route of Frigiliana follows an axis with narrow perpendicular or parallel streets that are communicated by covered passages, some staggered and others that were endowed with doors that were closed isolating some zones of others to reinforce the defense of the population.

Royal silo of the ancient deposit: Located at the beginning of the old town, it was built in 1767 and its function was to store excess grain.

Remains of the Castle of Lízar: Although it is not known exactly when it was built, it is thought that it was between the 9th and 11th centuries. It is located at the top of the municipality of Frigiliana and only retains the remains of its foundations and part of the access ramp. This fortress was destroyed by the Christians in 1569 with the aim of trying to destroy any heritage that reminded the Moors.

Palace of the Counts of Frigiliana: It was built in the 16th century, with a clear Renaissance style and later converted into a sugar mill.

Parish Church of San Antonio: It was built in the second half of the seventeenth century and renovated a century later, stands on an old chapel, consists of three auditoriums separated by arches and finished off with wooden armor. On the exterior, the front with an entrance under a semicircular arch framed by pilasters stands out. In its interior they emphasize, a sculpture in polychrome wood of San Antón that dates from 18th century and an altarpiece of the Sacred Heart.

Ermita del Ecce - Homo: It was built in the 18th century, it stands on a single auditorium. It is of small dimensions.

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What to do in Frigiliana

In Frigiliana there are different activities with which to enjoy our stay, from routes to visit a museum. We propose the following:

Route of the Higuerón River: It passes through the Higuerón River, affluent of the Chillar River, and although most of the route is through Frigiliana, its route runs through the Natural Park of Sierra de Tejeda, Sierra de Almijara and Sierra de Alhama. Its starting point is in the urban area of Frigiliana.

Route from Nerja to Frigiliana: This is the fifth stage of the Great Málaga Path and runs between the valleys of the Higuerón River and the Chillar River. Its starting point is in Maro, a hamlet of the municipality of Nerja very close to the Cave of Nerja.

Frigiliana Trail - Fuente del Esparto: The path of this trail begins in the urban area of Frigiliana and from there it goes towards the Higuerón River, passing through the Pozo Batán. From here the route goes to the Cruz del Pinto from where we find impressive views of the Sierra de Almijara and the Mediterranean. Once this area is crossed, we reach the Chillar River canyon where the Nest of Vultures Peak, the Tajo del Sol and the Tajo del Almendrón stand out. Once finished the descent of the Chillar River we will arrive at the Collados de los Apretaderos where the Esparto Font is located. The distance of this path is 5.5 kilometers with a medium / high difficulty and an estimated duration of 2 hours.

Saint Fiora Botanical Garden: A visit to this garden is worthwhile, since it aims to gather a sample of all the plants that have been useful throughout history to the inhabitants of Frigiliana. This garden was inaugurated in 2010 and includes plants for food, healing, basketry, footwear manufacturing, paper or perfumes, silk industry, etc. It also has a petanque court for those who want to practice some sport.

Archaeological Museum of Frigiliana: If you want to delve into the origins of Frigiliana, this museum is a required visit. Its objective is to spread the cultural and historical heritage of Frigiliana, to promote its knowledge, protection and conservation.

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Traditional festivals in Frigiliana

As in many municipalities, Frigiliana has different traditional festivals that characterize this town.

May Crosses: With it tribute is paid to the season of flowers. It congregates every year a great number of visitors, who are called by the spectacular and beauty with which the streets are adorned with wonderful crosses covered with flowers. This celebration is accompanied by the municipal band of music, which along with the band of verdiales and the group of choirs and dances are visiting all the crosses, paying tribute to their performances. The celebration continues in the Church Square with a party that lasts until late in the morning.

San Sebastian Day: It is celebrated on January 20 and consists of a mass in honor of the Saint and a procession that takes place at the end of it, in the procession the neighbors pay tribute with colorful fireworks burning throughout the entire travel.

San Antonio Fair: It is the Frigiliana fair that is celebrated in honor of the day of its patron, on June 13, and it lasts for five days in which different activities and contests make up the festival program. Among them, we highlight the confinement and hedge of heifers at dawn, which is normally carried out on the Sunday of the fair with great public attendance of all the places in La Axarquía. On this date the pilgrimage is also celebrated in which the neighbors and visitors accompany the patron to the recreational area on the Higuerón River and enjoy a meal in the countryside. The festivities end with a large fireworks display.

Dance Festival: Held in mid-august and with international coverage, it is an event that allows the meeting of different cultures. In it Ibero-American, African and Eastern countries, among others, in addition to those of national scope, show their traditions and customs through popular dances.

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Gastronomy of Frigiliana

Among the typical gastronomy of Frigiliana we find the following dishes:

The lamb with almond sauce or garlic sauce; the fennel stew; the chickpea stew with vegetables and cod; the egg and flour tortillas dipped in molasses; bread crumbs and cornmeal accompanied by fresh fish, vegetables, chorizo and blood sausage. In pastry we find the “arropía” and the “marcochaselaborate artisanal based on molasses. We also find desserts such as sweet potatoes with honey.

These dishes, many of them, are based on olive oil or molasses, produced locally, and are accompanied by their exquisite wines from the area, both dry and sweet, produced in private wineries.

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