During your visit to Frigiliana you will encounter many reminders of our rich cultural history, in the form of historic buildings that are still an integral part of the architecture of our streets; El Ingenio, the last remaining working molasses factory in Europe, the old fountain, the chapel of Ecce Homo, the Real Pósitos, and El Torreon are just some of the examples of Mudéjar architecture that have received awards, that you will see as you walk through the historic quarter.
EL INGENIO (S.XVI)
Today this building houses the factory that produces the Nuestra Señora del Carmen brand of miel de caña (molasses), the only such factory in Europe. It is one of the most important historic and cultural sites in Frigiliana. It is popularly known as El Ingenio, and part of the machinery of 1909 is still in use today, as one of the wood-fired cauldrons.
The ground floor is used today as a warehouse for the raw materials and packaging, but this was not always the case. Previously, for instance, the room to the right of the main door was used as a chapel in which by dispensation of Pope Clement X, mass was celebrated since 1662
On the first floor, reached by a wide staircase, are a series of grand ‘salons’, which originally formed the private apartments of the Counts of Frigiliana. At the rear of this floor is an ancient oil press, complete in every detail, press, vat, etc. Rising above the building are two tall chimneys, which serve this part of the building.
Very possibly, during the heyday of miel de caña production before the start of the XIX century, El Ingenio was extended on the lefthand side with a rectangular section. In 1729 the Count sought permission to fell trees in order to accommodate such an extension. What is quite clear is that the factory was already in production by 1725.
On the facade of El Ingenio the attention is caught by the geometric decoration, taking the form of bands of rhombuses and rectangles in red and blue. There are also two archd alcoves, which in their day housed figures of La Virgen del Carmen (Our Lady of Mount Carmel) and San Raimundo, as well as at least two sundials.
In previous centuries the mill was powered by the force of water channeled from the hill of Lizar along aqueducts, which fed the water first through three other, smaller mills, known as “maquinillas” which can still be seen on the hillside above, and which were also engaged in the production of molasses.
FUENTE VIEJA (S.XVII)
Dating from the XVII century, this fountain was constructed in the year 1640 by Don Iñigo Manrique de Lara, fifth lord of Frigiliana and first count of the town, and is decorated with his coat of arms. It was built onto the back wall of an existing house and was desigfned to provide drinking water for the neighbouring inhabitans and their livestock.
It was originally known as La Fuente Nueva (the new fountain). in a square on the lefthand side as you go donw Calle Chorruelo.
THE CHAPEL OF “ECCE HOMO”
The tradition of carrying statues representative of the Christian faith in procession is one which dates back to the XVI century, although the present day statues are of a later date, in the XX century neobaroque style, which if they were not themselves witnesses to the birth of this tradition, are evidence of the continuing importance of these traditions to the people of Frigiliana.
On the Wednesday of Holy Week, the village carries the statue of Ecce Homo in procession from the chapel to the parish church of San Antonio de Padua; the statue is a polychrome work in wood, carved in the neobaroque style during the second half of the xx century.
THE CHURCH OF SAINT ANTHONY OF PADUA (XVII CENTURY)
Built in 1676 in the renaissance style and restored a century later, the church is set out in the form of a latin cross with three aisles separated by semicircular arches set on rectangular columns. The transept is surmounted by a hemispherical dome set on crenelated arches and culminating in a lantern, whilst above the two arms and the chancel are barrel arches with windows.
Set above the entrance porch is the choir with a rococo cornice combining straight and curved elements. Below the choir is an interesting wooden “cancel” screen with one main, double door, and two side doors, designed and built by Bartolomé de la Cruz Arjona, a 23 year old Córdoban living in Frigiliana.
The church is accessed via a courtyard with iron railings, on the semicircular portal of which can be seen the coat of arms of the bishop, Fray Alonso de Santo Tomás.
THE ROYAL GRANARIES (XVIII CENTURY)
An ancient store constructed in 1767 to house surplus grain was stored in years when there was a good harvest to be shared out in bad years. Although the institution of a granary is mentioned in 1749, it is highly probable that it was created in 1640, the year that Frigiliana achieved the status of an independent “Villa”.
Nowadays the building is occupied by homes, its former structure being preserved only in the brick arches of its main facade and its basement.
This is the site of the granary in the Middle of the XVIII century, nowadays converted into homes. Contrary to earlier speculation, it would now seem unlikely that it dates back to Arab times, as the architectural style has nothing in common with Arab design. It is better to think of it as a later construction of the type which proliferated along the coast during the XVIII century as watch towers against piracy.
REMAINS OF THE ARAB CASTLE (XI CENTURY)
Very little remains of the Castle of Lizar. It used to occupy an area of 4,000 square metres before it was demolished in 1569 on the orders of the commander of the castle, Don Luis de Requesens, with the approval of King Philip II, who wanted the town razed following the Morisco uprising, so that the castle could never again provide refuge for the Moriscos.
The exact date of construction is not known, although various authors have suggested that the ninth century, to coincide with the revolt of Omar Ben Hafsun against the Emir of Córdoba, and whose military actions brought him to this area, whilst others put it in the eleventh centruy, to coincide with the erection of similar structures by the Almorávids.
In the absence of archeological excavations, nothing is known of the internal layout of the castle. What we know of the external structure is thanks to the survival of a few low sections of the ramparts, and the remains of other walls, which indicate that the castle occupied the whole of the crown of the hill. It is assumed that the defences would have included a number of towers with at least one entrance on the south side, towards the town, although there could also have been another entrance on the north side, an easier point of access.
CASA DEL APERO (S.XVII)
This building, housing a granary, stables and cow sheds, and a storage area for farming equipment, was probably built at the beginning of the XVII century to serve El Ingenio. It is built on two levels on a rectangular plot with an interior patio, and is built of adobe with stone facings. The arches and pillars, as well as the main entrance are built in brick.
Since its restoration in the 1990s, it has been converted into the Cultural Centre, “Casa Del Apero”, housing a museum, the municipal library, exhibition spaces and the Tourist Information Office.