What to do and what to see in Árchez

The municipality of Árchez is located in the central area of La Axarquía region and to the east of the province of Málaga. It occupies an area of 5 km2 and is located on the slopes of Sierra de Tejeda and Sierra de Almijara forming a long triangle.

Árchez borders three municipalities within the province of Málaga. These are Canillas de Albaida to the north, Cómpeta to the east and south, and Sayalonga to the south and west.

The municipal term of Árchez is crossed by Turvilla River, which rises in the Sayalonga mountain range and then takes the name of Algarrobo, the Cortijuelo Stream and the Corumbela canal also bath its lands. The municipality's water resources are abundant and permanent for almost the whole year, proof of this is that many houses in the town have their own well, taking advantage of the numerous underground water currents.

The hills of Árchez are populated by vineyards and olive trees, and the riverbanks by vegetables and fruit trees, while the mount is mainly composed of broom.

Its geography is not very rugged, highlighting the Collado de Tetuán (Tetuán Hill) (528 m.) and the Collado de Zorra (Fox Hill) (542 m.).

Árchez is one of the five towns that make up the Mudejar Route within La Axarquía along with Arenas, Salares, Sedella and Canillas de Aceituno.

Árchez town is located at an altitude of 435 meters above sea level and is about 21 km from Vélez-Málaga and about 52 km from Málaga capital. Its Arab origin is reflected in the intricate and winding layout of its streets.

History of Árchez

The origin of Árchez is supposed to be in a Moorish farmhouse, which is why its origin is attributed to the Arab period. An example of this time in the municipality is the minaret that is located in its urban area and that has been declared a National Historic-Artistic Monument. The intricate and winding layout of its streets is also evidence of this time.

The Catholic Monarchs conquered Árchez in 1487, becoming part, together with Canillas de Aceituno, Corumbela, Algarrobo and Salares, of the dominion of Don Diego Fernández de Córdoba, who would later become the Marquis of Comares.

The existence in the 19th century of two alembics, two flour mills and four oil mills attest to the economic activity developed in the area. The ruins of these mills can be seen along the Turvilla River or, as it progresses, the Algarrobo River.

At the end of the 19th century, Árchez suffered the plague of phylloxera, which devastated the vineyards of the municipality.

In the 20th century, the municipality of Árchez suffered a great depopulation, reducing the number of inhabitants by more than half.

Currently, Árchez has abandoned traditional industries, seeking his main source of income in agriculture, with the cultivation of almond trees, orchards and, above all, olive trees.

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What to see in Árchez

Árchez town is classified as the Merinite Jewel of the 12th century. In it you will be able to appreciate its Arab origin thanks to the narrowness of its streets and the caked distribution of its houses. Most of these houses have their own well and are supplied with water from the many streams that pass through the municipality.

One of the most representative elements within the cultural heritage of Árchez is the Church of Our Lady of the Incarnation, which dates from the 15th century and is in the Mudejar style. It was built on an old mosque of which the minaret remains. It consists of a single, simple nave and three dressing rooms behind the head. On the side walls there are several niches with different images.

The minaret to which the church is attached is the Minaret Tower of the Church of Our Lady of the Incarnation. This tower was built in the 14th century, with a height of 15 meters and is considered one of the most important Mudejar samples in the region of La Axarquía, so that it has been declared a National Historic-Artistic Monument. The upper body, built in red brick, presents the typical Arabic ornamentation based on blind horseshoe arches. While its plan is square in structure with a central pillar and a spiral staircase that runs through its interior, it is covered with a half-barrel vault, which is topped by a Christian bell tower.

The Minaret Tower of the Church of Our Lady of the Incarnation preserves the polychrome in reddish tones of decorative plant motifs, which occupy the front of the four facades, with smooth corners. Above this body there is a strip of tiles forming rhombuses and, above this, another smaller body occupied by interlaced and blind horseshoe arches.

On the other hand, you can see the old flour mills, of which the most notable is Doña Fidela Mill, located in the Turvilla River basin, next to the town center. However, in the course of this river, you can find two others, Reusto Mill and Castrán Mill.

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What to do in Árchez

In Árchez you can carry out different activities related to sport and nature, since you can spend a perfect day next to Turvilla River or enjoy the sports facilities that you will find, which are a sports court, a gym, a municipal swimming pool and a paddle tennis court.

You can enjoy the landscape that forms Árchez town from an elevated area such as the road that leads to Salares, or from the one that leads to Arenas.

You can also go hiking thanks to the Árchez - Sierra Almijara Route. It is a circular trail of about 12 km long, with lots of vegetation and beautiful landscapes. The route begins on the road that goes from Árchez to Canillas de Albaida, and then continues along the banks of the Turvilla River and follows the Cajula River at the Water Mill, continuing towards the Cortijo de los Lisos (Flat Farmhouse). Once you get to the farmhouse, you will have to take the path of the caves, very stretched out and with great views, to go back down to the Water Mill by crossing a Roman bridge. Finally, you will arrive at Canillas de Albaida and only the descent to Árchez will remain.

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Traditional festivities and celebrations in Árchez

The municipality of Árchez will surprise you with the different festivities that it has throughout the year and that will make you enjoy and better understand the roots of this town.

The first celebration that takes place in Árchez is the Saint Anthony Festivity, the last weekend of January. The celebration begins with a mass and a subsequent procession around the town. At noon they offer a popular paella to the attendees, which you can taste in a festive atmosphere, with live music, horseback riding, wine and other drinks.

As in the entire national territory, between the months of March and April, depending on each year, Holy Week is celebrated in Árchez, with traditional processions, highlighting Easter, where the procession of Risen Jesus is carried only by women.

The second week of June takes place on the Corpus Day-Andalusian Night. In the morning Christ is taken out in procession and at night cultural, sports and Andalusian folklore activities take place.

Welcoming summer you will find Saint John's Day, which is celebrated on June 24 and is known in Árchez as “El Sanjuaneo”. During this celebration, families spend the day in the countryside and enjoy a meal in the surroundings of Turvilla River.

At the end of July or beginning of August, the Patron Saint Festivities are celebrated in honor of Our Lady of the Incarnation, which includes a festival, a ribbon run and a Pilgrimage in honor of Our Lady of the Incarnation and Saint Sebastian.

Finally, on September 7 and 8 they take place in Árchez the Candelarias, where bonfires are lit around which families, neighbors and friends eat, sing and dance.

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Gastronomy of Árchez

The gastronomy of Árchez is based on the products of the land and the dishes of Arab tradition stand out. Among the most outstanding products of this municipality you will find raisins, olives, almonds, avocados and to a lesser extent the mango, all this without forgetting the own-produced wines that you can buy both in shops and in bars.

Among the typical dishes of Árchez, you can taste the fennel stew with rice, the migas, the goat, the ajoblanco, the chickpea stew with cod, the cod cakes with cane honey.

To finish with a sweet flavor, you can try some of Árchez's pastry specialties, such as wine rolls, wine grapes and muscat raisins.

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