If we have followed the recommended route, we are now at the entrance to the Barribarto, at the end of Calle Almona. Behind us we have views of Avenida carlos cano, the chapel of El Danto Cristo, the road beyond the village that leads to Torrox and the countryside and sierras of Frigiliana. Ahead, we are presented with a network of streets and corners that constitute the Barribarto, a contraction of the original name, Barrio Alto or Upper Neighbourhood.

paseo casco_antiguo_17As we make our way through the Barribarto a common sight will be people still maintaining a lifestyle that smacks of past times, and although the craft of weaving esparto has practically diappeared in this area, apart from some younger people who are trying resurrect the tradition, it will not be unusual if we encounter an espartero (esparto weaver) working at his craft out in the street.

Setting off, a glance down the vertiginous steps into Calle El Garral, one of the prettiest corners of the Barribarto, can leave us feeling quite dizzy. This will be a stretch of the walk when at every step of the way we will be walking along cobbled streets enclosed by the whitest of walls which reflect the sunlight into every part of the district. Masses of plants and flowers will be another ever-present feature. Strolling through these streets, the visitor that the slogan “The Light of Andalucía” has an origin here that dispels any doubts.

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A short distance further on, we will arrive at another view of the typical street, El Zacatín, and here we will also find one of the twelve ceramic panels that are displayed at various points in the Barribarto, and which describe in old castillian the Battle of Frigiliana in 1569 which led to the defeat and expulsion of the last Moriscos in the Peninsula at the hands of 6,000 men under the command of Don Luís de Zuñiga y Requesens who conducted the attack on the nearby mountain, El Fuerte. We recommend that the visitor reads all of these panels in order to take away with them a little piece of the history, not just of this village, but of the whole of Spain.

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Going down El Zacatín will bring the visitor quickly down to Calle Real a few metres fro the Plaza de la Iglesia, but the proposed route continues straight ahead to continue to discover beautiful, hidden corners, one of which is Calle Chorrera.

Looking upwards at the entrance to La Chorrera, we can see the mirador of El Lizar, the site on which stood the castleof Frigiliana until the XVI century, and which was demolished following the Battle. In the photographs you can see the transformation brought about by the new cobbles laid throughout the historic quarter over the course of several decades, replacing the much more uneven surfaces which must have made daily life more difficult for the residents who had, let us remember, to carry everything that they needed for daily life, all the way up from Calle Real, either on foot or on the back of a pack animal. Nowadays, little has changed in this resopect. Calle Real remains the only street with vehicle access, and so it is still common today to see residents using mules to carry all kinds of goods and materials up to the highest parts of the Barribarto.

paseo casco_antiguo_20We recommend that a visit to this most traditional of barrios should be unhurried and leisurely, so that you will be able to discover all of the details that make these streets so special. Its Morisco-Mudéjar style presents us with a multitude of small corners, virtually hidden away, and which the loving care of the residents has turned into flower-packed spaces.

Strolling through the area, especially in spring, you are likely to come across women whitewashing the facades of the houses and trimming back any weeds at the bottom of the wall, making sure that there is no dirt or rubbish to pollute the streets. The responsibility for maintaining this level of cleanliness rests entirely with the inhabitants, each being responsible for the state of the street in front of their house. There are no bye-laws to enforce this, simply the habit of the people of Frigiliana since time immemorial to keep their streets and house fronts spotless.

paseo casco_antiguo_21Once we have left la Chorrera behind, we soon have to make a choice between descending by a street to the right or carrying on straight ahead.

We recommend keeping straight ahead, as this way leads directly to the viewpoint, Mirador del Tajo del Peñon. Had we turned to the right and begun the descent of Calle Amargura, we would shortly have come to a street on the left which also leads to the Mirador, or alternatively, staying on Amargura would take us right down to c/ Hernando el Darra and thence to Calle Real.

paseo casco_antiguo_23Throughout the whole of the Morisco district it is likely that the visitor will have noticed a curious feature; few if any of the houses have regular, perpendicular walls or right-angled corners. Just the opposite, in fact.

Las casas del "Barribarto" se fueron adecuando a la orografía, y allá donde había una piedra de tamaño mayor al habitual se aprovechaba para dejarla completamente integrada a la vivienda.

The houses of the Barribarto follow the contours of the land, and when they encountered a particularly large outcrop, the builders took the opportunity to accomodate it into the structure to become an integral part of the building.

Once we arrive at the viewpoint, it is time to reach for the camera again, to capture the views as reminders of our visit. From the mirador we have spectacular views of the districts of the new town - Barrio de San Antonio, Barriada de la Paz - mountains to the left of us, agricultural land to the right and in the distance, the sea, and the neighbouring town of Nerja. You can also see the traditional cypress trees in the cemetery  standing out above the rooftops. Although in years gone by, the cemetery stood outside the town, the growth of Frigiliana means that it is now an integral part of the urban landscape.

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The houses of the Barribarto follow the contours of the land, and when they encountered a particularly large outcrop, the builders took the opportunity to accomodate it into the structure to become an integral part of the building.

Once we arrive at the viewpoint, it is time to reach for the camera again, to capture the views as reminders of our visit. From the mirador we have spectacular views of the districts of the new town - Barrio de San Antonio, Barriada de la Paz - mountains to the left of us, agricultural land to the right and in the distance, the sea, and the neighbouring town of Nerja. You can also see the traditional cypress trees in the cemetery  standing out above the rooftops. Although in years gone by, the cemetery stood outside the town, the growth of Frigiliana means that it is now an integral part of the urban landscape.

The following photograph, taken from this viewpoint at dusk, shows how the brilliant light and the colours of daytime are transformed into something much more calm and peaceful during the hours of darkness.

From the viewpoint, we take the street which goes off to the right and this will shortly bring us to c/Amargura, which might be considered the main street of the Barribarto, with all the other streets and alleyways branching off it and meandering to every part of the district.

paseo casco_antiguo_24Once we come to c/ Amargura our visit to the Barribarto is almost completed. Now we can feel our legs relax as the route takes us downhill into c/ Hernando el Darra where, on the left we see the street shown in the photograph which also leads up to the mirador, and then to Calle Real.

Hernando el Darra was a key figure in the famous Battle of the Peñon ( or Battle of Frigiliana). The rebel Moriscos had gathered in strength in Frigiliana, but the sight of the heavily armed Imperial troops with their artillery pieces spread panic among them. El Darra ordered his troops to withdraw with their supplies to the highest part of the town and there to build a stockpile of large rocks, millstones and other objects that could be hurled down on the advancing army, at the same time strengthening their defences. Initially, this strategy appeared to be working but as the battle progressed it became clear that the Morisco luck was running out.

Calle Hernando El Darra

El Darra managed to escape along with his decimated army, and the town was forced to surrender. The exhausted victors allowed a number of Moriscos to flee through the surrounding gorges and ravines without pursuing them. The rebels who were captured were slaughtered (estimates of the numbers who died range from 2,400 to 7,000 Moriscos and 400 imperial troops, to which must be added many of the 800 troops who were wounded who never made it back to Nerja and those who died from infected wounds. Special mention must be made of the women who fought fearlessly to defend the town, and then killed themselves by leaping off the cliffs rather than submit to their conquerors.

El Darra slipped away with a high price on his head but no one would betray him and he was able to make his escape to Africa by way of Maro. Later he was pardoned by Felipe II, his lands were restored to him and he was accepted at court. This was when he returned to his beloved Fixinia. The people never forgot him and dedicated a street to his name.

At the bottom of that street we have arrived back at the beginning of our walk. We would suggest that the visitor now relaxes over a lunch in one of the many bars and restaurants of the village, and those who take up this suggestion should not forget to sample one of the dishes which includes our famous miel de caña (cane honey or molasses).


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