Written by Paz Rosado, Translated by Emma Cattle and Fiona Flores Watson
The area of La Tahá was part of the Taha de Ferreira, one of 14 such areas established during the Nasrid occupation (they were the Moorish dynasty who built the Alhambra). The tahas were administrative districts divided according to landscape, and each had a capital. The area is reached by the Barranco de Sangre (Blood Ravine), so named because it was the scene of a fierce battle during the War of the Alpujarras.
This municipality is comprised of three small villages, including Mecina Fondales, well-known to followers of the writer Gerald Brenan, as he regularly spent his summers here. Mecina Fondales is situated on south-facing slopes overlooking the river Trevélez. Located in the village is a lavadero (public laundry and washroom) which has been well conserved over the years. Mecina Fondales also has the remains of an old Arabic mill, while Fondales has an ancient bridge over the river Trevelez. Other places to visit include la Iglesia de San Marcos y San Cayetano, a church which dates from the 16th century.
Pitres is the capital of the area, and its plaza is one of the most spacious around, with lush trees. La Iglesia Parroquial del Cristo de la Expiración was built in the 16th century and almost totally reconstructed after it was plundered during the Civil War. Its inhabitants were labelled as louts when they asked the local government for a sea port (the coast is a short drive away). This bizarre request originated a fiesta where sardines are "planted" in a dry riverbed and watered to make them grow. The highest of the villages in La Tahá is Capileirilla, above Pitres, standing at an impressive 1,380m above sea level. Here you can see a well-conserved Visigothic temple from the eighth century, as well remains of another constructed in limestone and featuring elements of Gothic and Moorish architecture.
Situated between two ravines is the village of Ferreirola, where the main attraction is the quality of its waters. Here, the tower of the Santa Cruz church is the most interesting building from a historical and artistic point of view. Built in the mid-18th century, it has the old cemetery next door. There is also a Casa-Escuela for foreigners, where you can learn the Spanish language as well as the history and traditions of Andalucía.
Atalbéitar is the most oriental of the settlements in La Tahá, situated above Ferreirola, and one of the most recent in the area. The most important building here is the church, with the cemetery next to it.
Lovers of crafts can find in La Tahá ceramic and fired clay workshops, as well as master luthiers (maker of stringed instruments) who still make guitars, mandolins, double bass and lutes by hand using traditional methods.
The most famous dishes are migas (a dish made with breadcrumbs, garlic, olive oil and other ingredients), jamon (ham) and different sausages, as well as the salted chestnuts which are perfect with the locally produced wine. For dessert, there is nothing better than papaviejos (deep fried batter rolled in sugar and cinnamon).
The calendar in La Tahá is marked by different fiestas in each different population, which take place in many cases during the summer months. The only one to be celebrated throughout the whole region is la Fiesta del Chisco de San Antón, on 16January. On this day, residents gather around a bonfire, dance around it and eat roast meat. In April, the residents of Capileirilla celebrate the fiesta of their patron saint, San Francisco de Paula, and in February, those from Atalbéitar, la Fiesta de la Candelaria.
La Tahá is 79km from Granada city. Take the A-44 (direction Armilla-Motril), then leave at exit 164 to join with the A-348 (direction Lanjarón). From here, take the GR-421, which will take you directly to the main population, Pitres.