Huécija is a typical alpujarreño village with notable features including the Convento de los Agustinos and its beautiful tower. It has about 480 inhabitants.
The origin of the village’s name is not known with any certainty, however, it is thought to be either Latin or Arabic. During the Arab-Andalusi period, the town was called Guacimora, Güecixa and Güecija. At the end of the fourth century, the Yemenites colonized this area and Huécija was a hamlet of a larger territory called Urs al-Yaman. Later, in the Nazari period, it formed part of the territory of Marchena.
With the Capitulations of Baza and Almeria in 1489, the Catholic Monarchs gave the territory of Marchena to Don Gutierre de Cardenas y Chacon. His son was named first Duke of Maqueda. Before the War of the Alpujarras (1568-1570), Huécija had 138 houses, two ovens, three mills, five oil mills, an inn and two churches. This information gives us an idea of the town’s importance. After the War and the subsequent expulsion of the Moors from the Kingdom of Granada, the area was repopulated with people from eastern Andalusia and Levante.
Huécija was important during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries for an annual horse and domestic animal fair that took place locally, a tradition that lasted until the nineteenth century. The nineteenth century was characterized by the abolition of the landed estates in 1835, which brought judicial and administrative independence for the village. As in many other villages in the province, the cultivation of the Ohanes grape became widespread in the second half of the century. Grape cultivation was substituted by that of citrus fruits in the 1960s.
THINGS TO SEE
Convento de los Agustinos
A Convent was founded on this site by Teresa Enríquez, wife of Gutiérre de Cárdenas y Chacón (Duque de Maqueda) in 1511, together with the Iglesia de Santa María de la Regla, which was destroyed after the earthquake of 1522. The current Convent Church was built in its place, attached to the watchtower tower of the previous building, which miraculously emerged intact from the earthquake along with the current south facade. It also suffered damage during the Moorish rebellion in 1568, in which the Convent was assaulted and burned, and the Friars were martyred. After the Mendizábal Confiscation, the Convent and its assets passed to the State and have since been used as an auxiliary parish. A new hexagonal body was added to the tower in the late nineteenth century. The Convent was declared a Site of Cultural Interest in 1992. Located on Calle Porteria.
Iglesia de la Anuciación
The Church was built in the sixteenth century in the Mudejar style, although it has many later additions in various styles such as Baroque and Neoclassical. The building lacks a tower, although it is recorded that there was one in the eighteenth century which was eliminated by an extension. Located on Calle Rafael Amate.
THINGS TO SEE OUTSIDE THE VILLAGE
Ermita de la Cruz
Every year, the small cross in the porch of this chapel is dressed and decorated with seasonal flowers and the Brothers hand out aniseed doughnuts and honey pastries along with a glass of punch or wine to all pilgrims. Located south of the town, on Cerro de la Cruz.
Castillo de Marchena
The remains of this fortress are in Cerro de Marchena, a mountainous elevation that marks the boundary between the municipal term and that of Terque. This hill is popularly known in Huécija as “Cerro del Libro” (Mountain of the Book) because the walls of the Castle that existed in the Muslim period fell in the shape of an open book. From it, visitors can get magnificent views of Huécija.
When visiting Huécija, one must try local dishes such as guisado de hinojos (fennel soup), guisillo de cordero (lamb stew), choto al ajillo (goat stewed in garlic), olla de nabos (turnip stew), encebollado con hígado de cerdo (pork liver in onion), tabirnas colorás (potato and red pepper stew) and ajo blanco (almond and garlic soup). Sweet treats include roscos (aniseed doughnuts), soplillos de huevo y almendra (egg and almond meringues) and mantecados de miel (honey lard cakes).
Popular festivals in Huécija are San Blas, Semana Santa, Cruz de Mayo and Fiesta del Virgen del Carmen. More>