Málaga Province - Colmenar

Colmenar, Andalucia Spain  © Michelle Chaplow
Colmenar ( Click to enlarge photographs)

COLMENAR

Colmenar is a lovely village nestled in the northern edge of the Málaga mountains (Montes de Málaga) and situated as a northern gateway to Axarquía from the area of Antequera. At 700m above sea level the village has a population  of about 3,500.

HISTORY

The village is located one of the important ancient route that linked Axarquía with the Guadalhorce Valley areas.  However, the village itself is younger .It is not a defensive hill village, it sits in the valley. It was established after the Catholic reconquest from the Moors at the end of the 15th

 

1560 is an important date in its history because it was during the summer of that year that the boundaries were marked out, covering a total area of 65,50 Km2. It didn't become an independent town until 1777.

Colmenar was the name of an estate which produced honey ("colmena" means beehive in Spanish).

THINGS TO SEE


Puerto de la Cruz Monument
Located at the main entrance to Colmenar, the welcoming "Puerta de La Cruz" monument, bears the town's coat of arms, showing a beehive with seven bees flying above it.  There is also an artistic scene depicted from 1488 when the village was taken over by Francisco de Coalla from Hamet el Zuque.

 

Convent of the Virgin of La Candelabra
It is well worth a walk up to the highest point of the village, at the Convent of the Virgin of La Candelaria. It is also known as the 'Ermita' (hermitage) de la Candelaria. From the viewpoints, you can see the Tajo and Doña Ana gorges and looking to the right is the Sierra Nevada, snow capped in the colder months. The story is that this 17th century convent was built as a token of gratitude from a group of fishermen who were miraculously saved from death during a terrible storm off the shores of Malaga. The plasterwork in the vault reflects the mannerist design of that era. In a niche, you can see an image of La Candelaria, the patron saint of Colmenar.

Church of Nuestra Señora de la Asunción
Church of Nuestra Señora de la Asunción was built in the 16th century.  There are signs of Arab influence in its architecture, especially in the three aisles with very high ceilings and separated by arches on square pillars.

THINGS TO SEE OUTSIDE THE VILLAGE


There are archeological remains in areas like the Cueva de las Pelusas or the Cortijo de Gonzalo in the Zorrera stream area. It is clear that the area was inhabited as far back as Neolithic times and also during the Metal Ages.

SHOPPING

If you're looking to buy something typical from Colmenar you have a rather wide variety of artesanal products. The olive oil, honey, natural sugars and fresh milled flour make nice gifts along with other food products - especially bakery items - made in this area. Also the people of Colmenar specialise in weaving products like baskets, mats and carpets from natural fibres like esparta grasses. 

GASTRONOMY

The most typical dishes served in Colmenarare traditional Andalusian mountain fare. Try the tasty garbanzo stew. Garbanzos is a traditional dish of chickpeas cooked in stock and is a good choice in the colder months.  During summer, the chilled gazpacho is refreshing and full of vitamins. "Tortilla de habas" (broad bean omelette) is another specialty worth trying.  Thick, chilled "porra" soup, and "migas" (fried bread crumbs) or oven roasted meats are popular. The town is also known for its cured meats and for cooking with local olive oil and home-made "mosto" (grape juice). You can buy honey made in the Colmenar area along with fresh locally milled flour - both white and whole grain - and also lovely raw and brown sugars.

FESTIVALS

Virgen de la Candelaria
On February 2 every year, the patron saint, the Virgin of the Candelaria, is honoured with a procession through the streets of Colmenar and out to the hermitage

Easter Holy Week - Semana Santa
Religious celebrations and processionswith the "Virgen de los Dolores" taking centre stage.

Dia de la Pipa
3rd May. The people of the village have a huge picnic in thecountryside to for a picnic featuring local homemade specialities.

Colmenar Feria
The annual fair takes place during the second week of August.

Christmas
At Christmas the town is decked out with nativity scenes at various points around town and villagers are especially fond of singing traditional Spanish and Andalusian Christmas carols.

LOCATION

Colmenar is a 35km drive inland from Malaga city, in the direction Antequera up the steep sided Guadalmedina valley. At Casabermeja take the 'Carretera de Colmenar', eastwards. Rio Gordo is a neighbouring village.

 

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