There is proof that in addition to the Iberian, Phoenician and Roman Times, settlements existed in the Alpujarras. They also found graves in a cave from 4000 BC and the bronze age in Spain had his origins in this… area. But the Muslims truly settled in the Alpujarra in the 8th century. They put their mark on that region. And most people believe that even the name comes from one of the first Moors that settled there, Albujarra. They loved it there and that is something you can still see in today. Their way of architecture lives in harmony with the nature surrounding the villages. You can still see lots of their buildings. A lot of their minarets were built into churches, but the structure of them is still Moorish. They where able to build an irrigation system that watered the whole area and in those days the Alpujarra was a really green oasis. The silk industry was very big and earned a lot of money, until the Spanish took over and either killed or threw them out. After that the Alpujarra became a desert again because nobody knew how to irrigate the region, so farming and silk production broke down. People from the North of Spain settled there. But the biggest problem they had was that they were not used to the circumstances of the area. They had been farmers or fishermen in the North, but on flat land. And the mountains put them in front of a big problem, because they did not know how to use the irrigation system and the Alpujarras became dry again. The tourism trade has put new life into the Alpujarra. Today it is a very famous destination for Tourists from Spain but also from other countries because of the charm and the varied nature the Alpujarra still has. The difference of height of the mountains makes the landscape unique and the charming pueblos blancos, the white villages, has its own amiability. There are other aspects that make the Alpujarra very original. Like the Fiestas each village has, and the Gastronomy, which is very unique to this region because it is a mixture of Moorish and western kitchens, or the contrasts of the climate and all the possibilities you have there. Different sports and activities are one of the main things why the people love the area. You can ski in the winter, but the beach is not far away. There are different routes you can follow either by foot, bike, horse or car to see the beauty of the region. The irrigation system in now used again and the building style of the Moors makes the Alpujarra a very special mountain range. Today there is famous industry again, like the popular ham, the jamones that are produced in the region. They also produce famous and beautiful fabrics and pottery in the Alpujarra and lots of artist settled there. Also the Arab castles and fortresses are worth a visit as well as the oldest formal garden in Europe. All together I think the Alpujarra is one of the most beautiful landscapes in Southern Spain and worth at least a visit if you are on holiday near by. The difference of the landscape, flora and fauna and the charming villages with its friendly people as well as the historical sights, the arts and crafts produced there and the very unique meals you get served there make the Alpujarra to a singular experience. If you are interested in reading about the area, you should read the books of the famous authors in this region. One is the English author Gerald Brenan, he wrote the book “In the south of Granada”, which makes his hometown Yegen immortal, or the author from Guadix, Pedro Antonio de Alarcón. He wrote the famous book “La Alpujarra”, which describes his travels through the area. I have already mentioned some villages earlier in this page where you can read about the history of different towns there and see some pictures of their beauty. On this Facebook page I have included a recipe for a typical dish of the region. Have a look and tell me, when you try to prepare it, what you think.
1 thought on “Origins of the Alpujarras”
Well written piece, on my blog last week I published a similar piece, with details of some on my favourite Alpujarra villages http://piccavey.com/remote-villages-in-the-alpujarra-region-of-andalusia/
I really have to agree that this is one of my favourite corners of Spain Britt!
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