In the easternmost district of the Axarquía region of Málaga province can be found Frigiliana, a white village of 3,000 people.
300 metres above sea level and benefitting from a subtropical microclimate, looms its much awarded and praised historic quarter, a living memorial to the Morisco past, where its narrow, steep and winding streets, passageways, and alleys combine to form a distinctive framework of small houses, piled one upon another.
This ancient quarter has been described by many as the purest example of Arab vernacular architecture to be found in the whole of the province of Málaga, and ioutstanding among the acts of official recognition was the award in 1982 of first prize in the national competition to find the most beautiful village in Spain.
Frigiliana offers a wide range of services to meet the needs of the visitor, including a variety of hotels, holiday apartments and rural villas, as well as a large number of restaurants which offer the opportunity to enoy local, national and international cuisine.
Typical local dishes include kid in almond sauce, soups and stews made from fresh. local vegetables,(oustanding among which is the salt cod dish traditionally served during Holy Week),, migas, which is a cross between breadcrumbs and fried bread, apart from dishes making use of local olive oils, moscatel grapes, and most famously, miel de caña, molasses made from the locally-grown sugar cane. and many others.
Various indigenous, artesanal crafts survive in Frigiliana, and beautiful objects made from esparto grass, gourds, beeswax, glass, clay, wood and wool are readily available in the shops of the old quarter.
Frigiliana celebrates the days of both of its patron saints, that of San Sebastián on the 20th of January, and San Antonio on the 13th of June. This second festival is the opportunity for a Romería, a pilgrimage come picnic down into the gorge of the River Higuerón, which commemorates the victory of the Christians over the Moriscos in June, 1569.
Among the religious traditions of the village, the observances of Holy Week take pride of place, and the various processions are treated with deep reverence by local people, especially the procession of La Soledad, in which all the women of the village, dressed in black, and carrying candles, accompany the Our Lady of the Sorrows through the village streets, singing as they go.
Nor must we neglect to draw attention to the Day of the Cross (3rd May) when elborate floral crosses are constructed and displayed around the village, and examples of local gastronomy are shared with those who come to admire them.
Finally, the end of the month of August is the time when we celbrate the harmony in which Christians, Jews and Muslims once lived in the is area, with the Festival of Three Cutlrues, a four day spectacular with markets, street theatre, typical food, music and dancing.
Archeology and Monuments of Interest include:
- The Cave of the Bats (Neolithic)
- The Arab Castle (Built at the end of the IXth century and destroyed during the Battle of the Peñon in 1569)
- El Ingenio, formerly the palace of the Dukes of Manrique, and nowadays the last surviniving molasses/cane sugar factory in Europe.
- Las Maquinillas, a unique hydraulic system dating from the XVIIth century.
- The Palace of the Apero, also from the XVII th century, which since its restoration has been used as Cultural Centre, housing the library, the museum, a gallery space for constantly changing exhibitions, and the tourist information office.
- The church of San Antonito (XVIIth century)was endowed by the Manrique family to be built in the Renaissance style; it was completed in 1676 by the master architect, Bernardo de Godoy.
- The Old Fountain (XVIIth century) was built on the instructions of the fifth Duke of Frigiliana, D. Iñigo Manrique de Lara, incorporating his coat of arms.
- The Royal Silos (XVIII century) are where the grain was stored for the village.
- The chapel of Ecce Homo, dating also from the XVIII century, is also known as the chapel of Christ of the Cane Fields.