by Saskia Mier
Fiñana is situated at the foot of the Sierra Nevada and its Arab roots are still visible today, such as the former thirteenth-century mosque, which is now the Ermita de Nuestro Padre Jesús and has been declared a Historic Monument. The town has about 1,994 inhabitants.
The town was founded by the Romans, to control the road between Almería, Guadix and Granada. It was integrated into the Nasrid Kingdom of Granada, and officially ceased to be in 1489, when the Catholic Monarchs spent the night in the town, thus becoming part of the Crown of Castile. There are two parts to Fiñana, the Arab quarter with winding, sloping streets and balconies facing the valley, and the Christian Fiñana, along Calle Real, dotted with religious buildings.
Fiñana’s name comes from the silk handkerchiefs made on its looms which were called “Alfiñames”. They were famous in the sixth century and were sold all over Spain, especially in the Kingdom of Leon. In 1820, it was the administrative centre of various villages of the Marquisate of Santa Cruz.
THINGS TO SEE
A water tank of considerable proportions consisting of a longitudinal nave made up of slabs and covered with a barrel vault of the same material, the vault being interrupted by the housing of a series of skylights that have a truncated pyramid appearance. The existence of a nearby ditch, the missing steps that acted as separation and access to areas and the skylights of the vault all contribute to the hypothesis of the tank’s possible use as a Muslim public bath. It conserves the falsework through which the water entered, directly from Sierra Nevada. It has recently been restored and converted by the Town Hall into a room for various cultural uses. Located on Calle Castillo.
Important medieval fortress that defended the road between Almería and Granada, built before the tenth century. It continued its heyday during the thirteenth and fifteenth centuries, until it was occupied by the Christians in 1489. Today, only three towers and some walls remain. These towers are rectangular in shape, with a construction system of simple mortar with lime and sand, covered with a layer of plaster. The Junta de Andalucía has recently adapted the tower, turning it into a viewpoint. Located on Calle Castillo.
Ermita de Nuestro Padre Jesús Nazareno
A mosque from the Nasrid period (twelfth to thirteenth centuries) consecrated to Christian worship in 1489, first as Ermita de Santiago and later as Ermita de Nuestro Padre Jesús Nazareno. It is the only Almohad enclosure in Spain that, despite the time and aggressions endured, preserves the oratory with its quibla and part of the ornamentation that now decorates the doorway of the mirhab. It is therefore the most complete set of that time that is preserved in Spain. Declared a National Historical-Artistic Monument, it is included in the Munzer route as part of the rich Andalusian legacy. Located on Calle del Aguila.
Iglesia de la Anunciación
Its history begins with the Royal Decree granted by the Catholic Monarchs on March 21, 1492, by which Don Álvaro de Bazán was ordered to make the previous mosque the “church of the town”. There is evidence that between 1497 and 1499 the previous mosque was demolished and the construction of the new Christian temple began. The temple was initiated around 1540, with Martín Pérez de Ayala as Bishop of Guadix and, in 1557. it underwent reconstruction. Between the years 1568 and 1570, with the rise of the Moors, the temple was affected by a fire that destroyed part of the building, pausing works until 1572. Its beautiful Renaissance façade dates from 1592. Located in Plaza de Constitución.
The museum was created in 2002, based in a house belonging to the agrarian bourgeoisie of the late nineteenth century. Its central element is the patio, around which the rooms are distributed. These feature exhibits about domestic customs and information about the economic life of the town’s history. Different tools used in craft jobs and trades long gone are also on display, and the museum contains a collection of about 1,000 old photographs of the town. Visits by appointment only, tel: 950 352 003. Located on Calle Sol.
Sierra Nevada National Park
The Sierra Nevada National Park is a dramatic, rugged and extensive mountain range, the highest in Europe after the Alps and the most significant section of the Cordillera Penibética. The protected central area of National Park encompasses 85,883 hectares of snowy summits, torrential rivers, sheer-sided gorges, stony scree slopes, and glacial lakes. Popular activities in the park include skiing, hiking, mountain biking and summer camps.
The local gastronomy represents a culture influenced by the climate, economy, natural resources, seasons and religious holidays. Typical dishes to try are zaramandoña (made with pumpkin, peppers, tomato, olives and cod), fritada de conejo (fried rabbit), ajillo de choto (garlic goat) and gachas tortas con liebre (hare stew). Sweet treats include buñuelos (dumplings), roscos (doughnuts), roscos de vino (aniseed biscuits) and arroz con leche (rice pudding).
Due to progress and changes in society, certain daily tools and jobs have disappeared over time. Jobs such as threshing, grape pressing using feet or ploughing land with draft horses have fizzled out. However, there are some craftsmen and women who still produce esparto (grass) work and crocheted crafts.
Popular festivals in Fiñana are San Antonio Abad, San Sebastián, Semana Santa, Romería de San Isidro and Fiestas del Sol en la Sierra. More>
The tourist office of Fiñana is located in the town hall. More>