Colmenar

Basic data
Size: 65.50 Km²
Population: 3,202
Residents known as: Colmenareños
Monuments: Church of La Asunción, Hermitage of La Candelaria, Caves of Los Chivos.
Geographical situation: In the high Axarquía, 44 kilometres from Vélez and 35 from Malaga, at 696 metres above sea level.
Tourist information: Town Hall, Plaza de España, 9. 29170.
Phone: 
952 730 000 Fax: 952 731 068


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View of calle Ermita

The road from Malaga known as the Carretera de Colmenar brings us through pine woods and beautiful countryside to the Malaga Mountain towns in the most westerly part of the Axarquía. This too is the road to Colmenar, known as the Capital of the Malaga Mountains. On the way into the municipality we see the stone steeple called the Puerta de La Cruz, showing the coat-of-arms of the town as a beehive with seven bees flying over it. A historical scene there brings us back to the year 1488, when the town was handed over by Hamet el Zuque to Francisco de Coalla. Past this we come to the town of Colmenar itself, and looking from here we can see two hills that used to mark the limits between the urban centre and the surrounding countryside. On the higher of these hills is the Hermitage of the Santuario, also known as the Convent of the Santísima Virgen de la Candelaria, patron saint of the town. The view from here is over the Tajos de Gómer and Doña Ana, the Sierra Tejeda mountains and, to the right, the Sierra Nevada mountain range. On the other hill is the church of Nuestra Señora de la Asunción. Colmenar passed into Christian hands in the 15th century, but the Romans had been here long before that time. The year 1560 was, nevertheless, one of the most important historical dates for the town, because it was then that the municipality’s borders were fixed and the town began to enjoy its economic well-being as a key administrative centre in the Mountains of Malaga region.

Places to be visited
Hermitage of the Candelaria
This was built in the 17th century and, according to local tradition, was sited on high ground as a mark of gratitude by sailors from the Canary Islands who had been miraculously saved from drowning during a storm on the Malaga coast. It has a single nave with a flat roof that leads onto a square presbytery with a semi-spherical vault. The gesso designs on the vaulted ceiling are a popular interpretation of the mannerist style. In the small room off the main chapel is the image of the Candelaria, patron saint of Colmenar.
Church of La Asunción
This is a 16th century church, built with certain remnants of the Moorish style. It has three naves separated by semicircular arches on square pillars, and three small rooms off the main body of the church.
Where to eat 

Mesón Casona de los Moriscos. Specialising in home cooking, fish and roast meats. Old Malaga-Granada road, Km. 530. Closed on Tuesdays Tel: 952 730 522.
Venta La Colmena. Specialising in rice dishes, meat, wild rabbit, snails and kid. Ctra. Málaga-Granada, beside the football grounds. Tel: 952 730 069.
Venta Los Moriscos. Specialising in meats, chorizo, hams, rabbit, chicken and home cooking. Old road from Granada. Tel: 952 730 145.
Bar Belén. Specialising in snails, kid, cod and typical dishes of the region. Camino de Málaga, 105. Tel: 952 730 031.
Bar-Mesón Pilar. Specialising in home cooking and fried fish. C/Pasaje el Pilar, s/n. Tel: 952 730 627.
Venta El Pinar. Specialising in fried breadcrumbs, rabbit, rice dishes, kid and mountain dishes. Carretera Colmenar. Tel: 952 110 127.
Where to sleep 
Hotel de Montaña Los Arrieros. Casabermeja road towards Colmenar, Km.8. Tel: 952 73 03 52  Fax 952 731 066. 
Rural Accommodation in the province of Malaga (in Spanish)

Procession of the Virgen de la Candelaria and San Blas

FIESTAS
The festive calendar in Colmenar begins on February 2nd with the festival in honour of the town’s patron saint, the Virgen de la Candelaria. Holy Week is very important here too, with processions in the streets. One of the most popular festivals in the town is the Día de la Pipa, which takes place on May 3rd. On that day all the people of the town head out to the countryside to eat bread rolls with hard-boiled egg in the centre, drink and have fun. The annual Feria takes place during the second week in August. Christmas has a special flavour to it in Colmenar, with groups of local people going through the streets singing and playing an odd collection of instruments, including an empty bottle of aguardiente used as an instrument. One of the principal features of the festivals in the town is the presence of verdiales and flamenco groups.

GASTRONOMY AND CRAFTWORK
The most traditional dishes of the area are chickpea soup, bean omelettes, gazpachuelo, porra and fried breadcrumbs. Cold gazpacho is eaten in summer, and every dish is accompanied by a glass of home-made must wine. The olive oil and honey used here is of a very high quality, as are the pastries made by the local people. And as in most towns in this region, pork and its derivatives are used extensively in the local cooking.