Tíjola is also known as the Perla de Almanzora (Pearl of the Almanzora) and offers visitors both a beautiful village centre and an amazing mountain landscape of ravines and pine forests. One of the best times to visit is on Día de la Virgen de Fátima, when the streets are covered with coloured carpets ready for the grand procession. The town has around 3,500 inhabitants.
Tíjola has been termed the “Granada La Chica” (small Granada) by some, but was called Tíxola until 1830, after which it adopted its present name. Evidence of prehistoric settlements dating as far back as the fourth millennium BC have been discovered locally, particularly in Pago del Prado. The town was also the ancient Roman recreational city of Tagilis, within the Conventus Cartaginensis. There is an old fortress, known as Tíjola la Vieja, which already existed in the eighth century with the arrival of the Arabs. During the Al-Andalus period, the town was large and had a strong defensive structure.
In 1489, Tíjola surrendered to the Catholic Monarchs who yielded the manor town to Yusuf Barbaja in 1490. In 1494, the town was passed on to Don Diego López Pacheco, Marqués de Villena. During the War of the Alpujarras (1568-1570), Tíjola was conquered by Don Juan de Austria with twelve cannons. Its inhabitants fled and the Christians killed their Mayor. From then, it was guarded by the armies of Don Juan de Austria during the Moorish rebellion and eventually was granted the title of Villa. Inhabitants from Navarra, the Basque Country, Asturias and Portugal were brought in to repopulate the town.
In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the agriculture of Tíjola was monopolized by the cultivation of the Ohanes grape. Today, it is one of the few cities of Alto Almanzora which offer a promising economic future to agriculture, livestock and other traditional industries. This is achieved through promoting rural tourism and the exploitation of the natural resources of the Sierra de los Filabres, Calar Alto, the Sierra de las Estancias and the thermal source of Cela.
THINGS TO SEE
Iglesia Parroquial de Santa María
The parish church is a beautiful building that can be dated somewhere between the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The construction is typical of a Franciscan church. Under the layers of lime that whiten its walls, there are remains of pictorial decoration of watermarks in red and black, typical of the decoration of the churches of this order. This has been discovered in the Ermita de Dolores where there are paint strokes inside the dressing room and hidden colours are emerging behind the lime layer. Located on Calle Santa María.
Centro de Interpretación Valle de Almanzora Agua
The Almanzora Valley Water Interpretation Centre, as the name implies, focuses on the role played by water in local history and economy, as well as providing visitors with tourist information about the area (gastronomy, accommodation, places of interest, hiking, culture and heritage and activities). Located in Poligono Industrial de Tíjola.
Ermita Santuario de la Virgen del Socorro
The chapel of the Virgen del Socorro, the patron of the town, is the second largest and second most important local place of worship. The earliest data of the chapel is from 1650. It has a Roman cross plan and the exterior covered facade, tower and dome are reminiscent of the Mudejar style. Its interior is of simple, late-Renaissance style. Its main highlight is the image of the Virgen del Socorro. Local tradition states that the Virgin came from Italy in 1498. Located on Travesía del Juego de Pelota.
Ermita de San Cayetano
This chapel dates to 1571, which makes it, along with Ermita de San Antonio de Higueral, the oldest temple in the municipality of Tíjola. The image of San Cayetano was created in 1949 to replace the original carving that was destroyed in 1939. Located on Calle Baja San Cayetano.
Ermita de San Sebastián
Since 1578, this chapel has been dedicated to the patron of the town. It suffered significant damage during the Civil War, since at that time it was used as a prison. In 1943, the Board of Directors of the Brotherhood replaced the main image which had been ruined during the war. Located on Calle San Sebastián.
THINGS TO SEE OUTSIDE THE VILLAGE
Fuente del Huevo
The Fuente del Huevo, the Bacares River and the legendary Cueva de la Paloma have formed a beautiful trilogy of primordial places that offer tranquility to locals. Traditionally, locals would climb from the Ermita El Salvador to Fuente del Huevo where they would eat hornazos (pastries) with eggs before returning back to the town. Located south west of Tíjola, in Paraje La Cerrá.
Balsa de Cela
Balsa de Cela is a naturally occurring thermal spring with a constant flow of 42 liters per second and a temperature that, throughout the seasons, remains between 22 and 24 degrees Celsius. The richness of these thermal waters was even known to the Roman Tagilitan Republic (now Tíjola). The waters supposedly have medicinal properties for different types of diseases. The pool-shaped reservoir is divided in half by the boundary between the municipalities of Tíjola and Lúcar. It has dimensions of 50x50m and a depth ranging from 50cm to 2m. It has undergone several improvements and expansions, most recently in 1996. It is a favourite bathing haunt for the inhabitants of Tíjola and the region, and has become an important point of touristic interest during the summer months. Located north of Tíjola in Barriada Cela.
Ermita de San Salvador
This chapel dates back to the nineteenth century and consists of a small building with a quadrangular plan, dominated by its central dome. Architecturally, it has very simple lines, finished in the classic white, and with an access hole finished in a simple semicircular arch. Its patron is Jesús Salvador, represented inside through a classic and simple image created in 1942 in Madrid, which came to replace the original image, which was destroyed in 1936. Located off the AL-3102.
Cueva de las Palomas
Translated as “Cave of the Doves” , this cave is located in La Cerrá, the boundary between the municipal terms of Bayarque and Tíjola. The cave is an ancient copper deposit that has been exploited throughout history, from the time of the Algar culture (around 11,000 BC) until the nineteenth century, passing through Punic, Greek, Iberian, Roman, Visigoth and Muslim hands, according to archaeological finds. Emilio Ruiz, a neighbour of Tíjola, was one of the first people to carry out archaeological excavations in the area. The findings were published in an article under the title of Tíjola Prehistorica (Barcelona, 1920s). It describes the findings consisting of fragments of red mud with ornaments made with fingerprints and a kind of relief which is catalogued as belonging to the Eneolithic period, which corresponds to the Bronze Age, approximately 3,500 years ago.
The town does not have much in the way of arts and crafts, although some women’s associations dedicate themselves to dressmaking using lace.
Gastronomically, the town has many dishes which are typical of the area, such as estofado de cordero (lamb leg stew), sopa de ajo (garlic soup), potaje blanco (chickpea stew), gurullos (specially made pasta served in a stew), migas (breadcrumbs ususally served with pork) and olla de trigo (wheat stew). Sweet treats include suspiros (meringues) and hornazos (pastries).
Popular festivals in Tíjola are San Sebastián, Semana Santa and San Marcos. More>