Surface Area: 25.7 square kilometres
What the natives are called: Borgeños
Geographical Location: in the western part of the region of La Axarquía, adjoining the Málaga Mountains. It is 24 kilometres from Vélez Málaga and 28 from the provincial capital. The village sits some 240 metres above sea level. The average annual rainfall is 580 litres per square metre and the average temperature is 16.6º
Any reference to El Borge is necessarily a reference to raisins, since it is not for nothing that nearly half its municipal territory is devoted to this crop, making it one of the pillars of its economy. In fact, the moment you enter these lands the first thing you notice is the abundance of vineyards, although there is no shortage of olive groves.
The village sits at the foot of the Cerro Cútar hill, which rises to 595 metres, and next to the river that bears the same name as the municipality. This territory, situated between the Málaga Mountains and the La Axarquía region, is remarkable for the many hills that cross it, most of which have been contoured into terraces to permit grape cultivation. Grain fields are to be seen on the more level areas, and along the river citrus groves, fruit orchards and vegetable gardens proliferate.
The configuration of the village can be attributed to the unwritten but customarily followed rule of the wise and distinctive traditional architecture of the mountainous regions of Andalusia: that a terrain that does not permit easy development for human use must be adapted to the activities of its inhabitants. This explains the steep ramps and even the use of steps to connect one street to another. These are architectural devices that, without trying, impart to the urban layout the charm of the spontaneous and even at times the almost unbelievable.
The village’s origin, or at least its name, which derives from the Arabic Al Burch (tower or bulwark), dates from the Muslim era. Nothing is known of earlier settlements, and there are no archaeological sites to show the sign of earlier civilisations. It is reasonable to think, nevertheless, that the history of this locality has played out in very similar circumstances to that of the nearest villages, such as Cútar, Comares and Almáchar, which made up the judicial district of Cuatro Villas (the Four Royal Burghs).
The chronicles do, however, record the stubborn resistance that the inhabitants put up to the Christian presence after the conquest, a resistance that translated into emphatic support for the sixteenth century Moorish uprising. Help was provided from El Borge for the rebels to flee to the Alpujarra Mountains of Granada, and some of its residents even came to be spokesmen of the rebellion. It all ended with the corregidor (magistrate) of Vélez Málaga, Arévalo de Zuarzo, sending a detachment to put down the continuing challenges to authority.
With the final expulsion of the Moors the village was practically abandoned and it was necessary to repopulate it with long-time Christians who came from other regions, including Bilbao, Segovia and Asturias, and this caused a long-term slowdown in the economic activity of the region.
In the mid-seventeenth century the locality suffered the ravages of the plague, which decimated the population, and in the last third of the nineteenth century when the village had its greatest density of population the appearance of the phylloxera pest on the one hand and the "Andalusia earthquake" (1884) on the other negatively impacted the development of the municipality.
Outstanding Sights: Nuestra Señora del Rosario church, Arco de la Pasa, El Cuerno fountain, El Rinconcillo neighbourhood
There are several ways to get to El Borge; all are to be recommended for their scenery but some are none too comfortable for the number of curves they have. The most advisable route is to get off the Mediterranean Expressway (A-7; N-340) onto the A-335 in the direction of Vélez-Málaga. Once you are past that city, take the MA-145 and later the MA-178 to the vicinity of Almáchar, and turn there onto the MA-148, which leads to El Borge.
Full graphical path: http://bit.ly/pd8Eik
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