Riogordo

Basic data
Size: 40.60 Km²
Population: Approx. 2,700
Residents known as: Riogordeños
Monuments: Church of Nuestra Señora de Gracia, Shrine of San Sebastián.
Geographical situation: In the Axarquía, 35 kilometres from Malaga and Vélez, at 400 metres above sea level.
Tourist information: Town Hall, Plaza de la Constitución, 14. 29180. 
Phone: 
952 732 154 Fax: 952 732 380


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Calle Agua

Riogordo is in the Axarquía, equidistant at 35 kilometres from Malaga, Vélez and Antequera. It has two quite separate barrios: the Barrio Alto, or Cerrillo, and the Barrio Bajo, or The Plaza. The houses on both sides of the hilly streets are low with interior patios, wells and stables. The town has a number of old family homes dating from the 18th and 19th centuries, and many of those houses in and around the central square have niches built in, housing virgins, saints or the image of the Crucified Christ. The most traditional of the old streets are calle Deán de Rojas, calle La Santa and calle El Horno. The name of the town – the Fat River – would suggest an origin in the dense vegetation along the banks of the Río de la Cueva, rather than the volume of water that flows through it. But the more accepted theory is that the name derives from the rich mineral water that comes out of an interior cavity, making the water seem fat. It is also believed that this was the very reason for the first Neolithic settlers choosing this place. Remains from this period have been found in the Tajo de Gomer, with Bronze Age remains discovered in the Cerro de la Capellanía. There is evidence too of Phoenician settlement in the region, while Roman mosaics have been found in the Villas of Auta, dating from the third century. It was the Moors, nevertheless, that were responsible for the economic growth of the town and the strengthening of the Castle of Aute as a defensive fortress. The present location of the town is due to it having been the spot that the Catholic Monarchs camped on while conquering Vélez. The town was active in the fight against the French invaders during the War of Independence, one of the local heroes of the time being a man known as The Priest of Riogordo, whose reputation as a guerrilla fighter spread far and wide.

Places to be visited
Church of Nuestra Señora de Gracia
This church, built in 1490, has two naves with semicircular arches supported by pillars. The ceilings are of particular architectural interest, showing elements typical of the period.
Hermitage of San Sebastián
The Hermitage of San Sebastián was built at the end of the 17th century, and documentation about it dates from July, 1681. It is a curious structure in the centre of the town, designed in a single nave covered by a richly decorated barrel vault. The most interesting item inside is the Camarín (small room) of Nuestro Padre Jesús Nazareno, and authentic jewel of Baroque architecture.
El Tajo del Gómer
This is one of the most beautiful areas around Riogordo, where a trekking route takes us to the Tajo (Gorge) at the Río de la Cueva.
Personalities. El Cura de Riogordo
José Antonio Muñoz Sánchez, better known as "El Cura de Riogordo" (The Priest of Riogordo) has gone down in local history as the priest who fought the French in the War of Independence, reaching the rank of captain in a cavalry regiment. He was particularly good at harassment, and ingenious in strategy, we are told. Some of his feats of valour include an attack on the supplies depot of Arenas on March 5th, 1812, and his amazing escape from four columns of French soldiers, made up of 1,500 men, in Tollox on November 7th, 1811. He also punished those who took advantage of the war to plunder and steal.
Museum of popular Arts
C/Cinco de Noviembre, s/n .Tel: 952 732 154. From 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Open mornings only on Saturdays and Sundays.
Where to eat 

Hospedería Retamar. Specialising in typical cuisine of the Axarquía area. C/Partido del Bujeo, 30. Riogordo Tel: 952 031 225 and 952 031 209.  
Bar-Marisquería El Niño. Specialising in fish and seafood. C/Real, 1. Tel: 952 732 116.
Bar Pernías. Specialising in tapas. C/Real, 2. Tel: 952 732 245.
Bar La Era. Specialising in snails. C/San Jacinto, 2. Tel: 952 732 320.
Bar-Terraza Andalucía. Specialising in barbecued meats. C/28 de febrero. Tel: 629 570 633.
Cortijo de Veleta. Specialising in meats and traditional cooking. Partido la Molina (Road to La Viñuela). Tel: 952 111 260.
Where to sleep 
Hotel Retamar. C/Partido del Bujeo, 30. Riogordo. Tel: 952 031 225 and 952 031 209. 
Molino las Tablas Grandes. Situated beside the river on 10,000 square metres of ground, surrounded by fruit trees. Tel: 952 276 229.
Rural Accommodation in the province of Malaga (in Spanish)
Links 
http://www.terra.es/personal2/ramain Personal web page of the municipality

View of the Olivar Bridge

FIESTAS
The festive calendar in Riogordo begins with the traditional Cabalgata de Reyes (Procession of the Three Kings) in the month of January. A month later, the carnival takes place. During Holy Week in Riogordo, the Paso de Riogordo takes place on Good Friday and Easter Saturday, this being a tradition that was recently recuperated in the town and which attracts more and more visitors every year. The Feria de Ganada (Cattle Fair) takes place from May 27th to 29th, in the Camino de Magiaza area. This fair coincides with the Veladilla, which is a gastronomic tradition in which the snails of the area are tasted, a typical dish of the area. The Feria takes place in the middle of August, when the image of Ntro. Padre Jesús Nazareno is brought from the hermitage of San Sebastián to the parish church, a tradition dating from the 17th century.
The Río del Cante Flamenco Festival takes place on August 14th, and on September 7th is the Night of the Candelas or Festival of the Candil, in which bonfires and candles are lit.

GASTRONOMY
The most typical dishes of the town are snails, cooked in a liquid sauce and available in all of the local bars and restaurants during the months of May to August. Other traditional dishes in Riogordo include chickpeas, porra and mushrooms. Fried bread crumbs and gazpacho are popular here too, the gazpacho made from tomato, fennel, peppers, onion and bread, all finely chopped with olive oil, vinegar and salt to taste. Vegetable dishes are part of the local gastronomy as well, due to the rich land around the riverbanks and the irrigation of the Río de la Cueva. There are olive oil co-operatives here, producing the highest quality oil, and pork products that are well known all over the region.