Almogía

Basic data
Size: 162 Km²
Population: Approx. 4.300
Residents known as: Moriscos
Monuments: Hins-Xan-Biter castle, Church of La Asunción, Hermitage of the Sagrado Corazón, Chapel of Santo Cristo.
Geographical situation: In the heart of the Malaga Mountains, 25 kilometres
from Malaga city at 363 metres above sea level.
Tourist information: Town Hall, Plaza de la Constitución, 1. 29150.
Phone:
952 430 025 Fax: 952 430 229 


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Chapel of Santo Cristo from the 14th century

Almogía, "The Pretty One", as the Moors called it, is situated in a strategic position to the west of the Malaga Mountains. The existence of the remains of old Roman roadways passing through the region points to an important geographical position since pre-historic times. We reach the area from Malaga by the old Antequera road, through hilly countryside where the highest peak is Santi Petri, at 797 metres above sea level. Most of this land is scrub, with olive trees in abundance, although there are indications of older oak forests that used to cover these mountains. It is especially spectacular in the Retamares Gorge, and there are splendid views from the Santi-Petri area. There are two theories about the origin of the name of the town, but all historians agree that it goes back a very long way. Diego Vázquez Otero relates it to the ancient tribes of the al-mexíes, while Asín Palacio claims that it meant "The Beautiful". In either case, it is clear that the town was an important urban centre in Moorish times. During the Omar ben Hafsún revolt against the Cordoba Omeyas, the fortress of Sancti Petri (Hins-Xan-Biter) played a vital part in the defence of Bobastro. The town was surrendered to the Christian forces in May of 1487, when the Christian captain Mosén Pedro Santiesteban was named mayor. Later the Moriscos of Almogía took part in the rebellion of 1570, and being defeated, most of them were expelled from the region. This left the land depopulated, and it was subsequently occupied by Christians from Teba and Antequera, then part of the Kingdom of Seville. Almógia and its castle was invaded by French troops during the War of Independence, and was destroyed by them in the later flight from the area, as an act of vengeance.

Places to be visited
Hins-Xan-Biter Castle
In the time of the Caliphate, the castle was one of the principal defensive
fortresses in the protection of Bobastro, capital of the Omar Ben Hafsum kingdom. It was also used as a prison for Christian captives at this time. Local legend claims there to be an underground passageway from the castle to the church, formerly a mosque.

Church of Nuestra Señora de la Asunción
The church was build on the ruins of an old mosque that disappeared after
the re-conquest. In charge of construction work in 1522 was Diego de Vergara, architect of the Malaga diocese. Its central nave is covered in the Mudejar style and is of great artistic and cultural value. Of special importance inside are the images of the Immaculate Conception, the Child Jesus and the painting of St. Peter the Hermit, all from the 18th century.

Hermitage of the Sagrado Corazón (the Sacred Heart)
Situated in the upper
part of the town, this building dates from the 18th century, although there was an older construction here from before the year 1521. It was once joined to the closed convent of the Sacred Heart which was long since demolished, and has a small bell tower and choir. The patron saints of the town, San Roque and San Sebastián, are venerated in the hermitage. Another hermitage is the Tres Cruces, situated between the municipalities of Almogía, Cártama and Álora.

Chapel of Santo Cristo
This is a tiny square building with a crucifix inside, built on an earlier
construction dating from the 17th century, but changed considerable in the late 19th century. It forms one of the fourteen Stations of the Cross that are scattered throughout the town, and are a source of much devotion. It is situated in the centre of the town, in the street of the same name. Most of the houses in the centre are low in size and whitewashed, with red tiled roofs.

Where to eat

Bar La Loma. Specialising in home cooking and fries. C/Arrabal de los Angeles, 5.  Tel: 952 430 089. Closed on Sundays.
Bar El Coco. Specialising in fries and varied tapas. C/Arrabal de los
Angeles, 5. Tel: 952 430 081. 
Bar El Pasaje. Specialising in fish and se foods. C/Iglesia, 3. Tel: 952 430
454.
Bar La Plaza. Specialising in varied tapas and fried fish. Plaza de la
Constitución, 3. 
Restaurante Al-Mexia.  C/Arrabal de los Angeles, s/n. Tel: 952 430 581. 
Where to sleep
Hostal La Loma. C/Arrabal de los Angeles, 5. Tel: 952 430 089.
Rural acommodation
Al-Mexia. C/Arrabal de los Angeles, s/n. Tel: 952 430
558. 
Rural houses. C/Arrabal de los Angeles, s/n. Tel: 952 430 558
Rural Accommodation in the province of Malaga (in Spanish)

The tower of the Church of La Asunción

FIESTAS
Almogía retains its customs and traditions through its many festivals. They
begin with the Romería de San Isidro, around May 15th, and the Cattle Fair that takes place a few days beforehand. The big festival is at the beginning of August, when the Trilla (Threshing) Competition takes place. In this, the people of the town remember the ancient methods of separating the grain from the straw, in what is referred to as the Art of the Trilla. There are three sections to the competition, involving singing and other arts connected with threshing. At almost the same time the Verdiales Festival takes place, one of the most important of its type in the province. In it, performers from the three different styles of this musical form participate. And finally there is the August Feria, in honour of Our Lady of the Assumption. There are also smaller festivals taking place right through the summer in the various barrios of the town. The most important of the purely religious festivals is Holy Week, when processions are the order of the day.

GASTRONOMY
The most outstanding local dish in Almógia is the Chanfaina, made with kid
and almond, but there are many other local delicacies in the area associated with the production of pork.

VERDIALES
The verdiales is one of the most primitive fandango musical forms, performed now in only a few mountain areas. For this reason too it is one of the purest of the Andalusian musical traditions. In the Festival of the Verdiales there are three different styles: the Almogía, the Montes and the Comares. The river Campanillas flows through the municipality, leaving the verdiales musical style in the area to the east of the river similar to that of the Montes, while on the west side of the river the style is Almógia. The Almogía style is fast, with the violin leading, while in the Montes style the tambourine takes on more importance.