Macael is famous for its marble quarries, from which 80% of all Spanish marble is extracted today. Substantial monuments such as the El Escorial Monastery, the Mezquita of Córdoba and the Alhambra in Granada have been constructed with this marble, but the material is also used for local projects, with marble statues lining the streets and squares of the town, which has around 5,400 inhabitants.
Macael marble has been used throughout history, from Phoenician coffins to the pavilions of the Universal Exhibition of Seville in 1992. Although the use of its marble dates back to ancient times, we can only track the history of Macael as a municipality as far back as the tenth and eleventh centuries, during the Al-Andalus period. The original nucleus of this population was 2.5km south of the current town, in the so-called “Macael Viejo” . This place has been developed as a quarry, which is why the remains of this settlement have not been properly preserved. More>
THINGS TO SEE
Iglesia Parroquial Santa María del Rosario
The Parish Church was inaugurated in 1609. A great flood in 1879 destroyed the church’s interior completely, and devastated much of its exterior, which led to a restoration which was concluded on May 12, 1882. The latest restoration was carried out in 1992, in which the main cover was blinded, to put in place the main altar. The highlights of the Church, in addition to its tower, are the sculpture of the Cristo Yacente and the valuable oil painting of the Purísima Concepción from the School of Juan de Juanes, both of which are from the seventeenth century. The church can be visited on Calle de las Placetas.
Centro de Interpretación del Mármol de Macael
The Marble of Macael Interpretation Centre is a 250m2 site, taking the visitor on a journey through the history of Macael up to the present day. The Centre has 22 information panels in English and Spanish, ancient tools, archaeological pieces, models, photographs, a space dedicated to the geology of the area, aspects of the ecological-landscape restoration and even replicas of two of the lions from the Patio de los Leones (Courtyard of the Lions) of the Alhambra in Granada. It has a video room and a small shop of marble items. A guide is available for a minimum of 15 people. In addition, guided visits to quarries and craft workshops are organized from the same Centre. Located on Calle Federico García Lorca.
May-October, Tuesday-Saturday (incl. holidays), 10:00-14:00hrs and 18:00-20:00hrs
May-October, Sunday, 10:00-14:00hrs
November-April, Tuesday-Saturday (incl. holidays), 10:00-14:00hrs and 17:00-19:00hrs
November-April, Sunday, 10:00-14:00hrs
Price: €2.00 (free entry for children under 12)
Tel: 950 12 89 16
The Boulevard is located on Avenida de Ronda and was inaugurated in 2007. It is lined with a huge number of extremely varied marble sculptures, built from locally sourced stone. A multifunctional building known as El Vaticano (The Vatican) also sits on this street.
Plaza de la Constitución
This is the most prominent square of Macael, built in 1980 and renovated in 2015. Its highlights are the various stately homes from the beginning of the century and the Town Hall, with its noble shield on the main facade. Since June 13, 2015, it has featured an exact replica of the Fuente de los Leones (Fountain of the Lions) from the Alhambra in Granada.
Fuente de los Leones
This exact replica of the Alhambra’s fountain, carved in Macael white marble by local artisans, is surely one of the most prominent examples of the Nasrid legacy. The piece is made up of 12 lions, all different in size and detail, gathered in three groups of four according to the composition of their features, including nose, mane, jaws and tail. The cup, 262cm in diameter and 49cm thick, made of a single piece of stone, has 12 verses written by the Minister and Poet, Ibn Zamrak, written on the perimeter, describing the piece itself.
Mirador Virgen del Rosario
Composed of white Macael marble and hand painted tiles from Seville, this sculpture commemorates the appointment of Our Lady of the Rosary as Patroness of the town, as the Perpetual and Honorary Mayor of the Villa de Macael. This monument only came to being through the financial contributions of several neighbouring communities, the donation of the marble by local companies and the selfless work of artisans from the town. It can be found on Calle de la Aguadilla.
Known as the largest mortar in the world, this monumental 50,000kg piece has held a Guinness World Record since 2015. It is is held on a gray Macael marble base between Avenida Andalucía and Avenida de Ronda. The piece perfectly imitates a classic marble mortar and has a pestle made of local yellow marble. The companies Cosentino Group and Pimar Stone participated in its preparation, extracting the material with which it was constructed. Likewise, Arriaga Artesanos del Mármol sculpted this work that is valued at about €300,000 and for which, finally, the Consistory paid only about €25,000 thanks to the selfless contributions of the collaborators.
THINGS TO SEE OUTSIDE THE VILLAGE
Mirador de las Canteras
The viewpoint has wonderful panoramic views of the valley as well as the marble quarries. Located off the A-439.
Hotels and accommodation in Macael itself are scarce and hard to find, however, the nearby municipalities of Olula del Río, Laroya and Armuña de Almanzora have a selection of hotels, guesthouses and hostals to suit visitor’s needs.
Those who love arts and crafts will find numerous workshops in the town that produce countless marble objects.
To taste the most typical delicacies from the Macael gastronomy, one has to try the magnificent hams and cold meats like morcilla (black pudding), chorizo or longaniza, as well as the migas (fried bread with pork), sopa de hinojo y calabaza (fennel and pumpkin soup), conejo frito (fried rabbit) and sopa de pescado (fish soup). If visiting in the winter, you must try the local famous drink of the district, mistela.
Popular festivals in Macael are Carnivales, San Marcos, Semana Santa and Romería de la Virgen de Fátima. More>