Surface Area: 31.6 square kilometres
What the natives are called: Genalguacileños
Outstanding Sights: San Pedro de Verona parish church, Museo de Los Encuentros de Arte del Valle del Genal (Genal Valley Art Seminars Museum) , Los Reales de Sierra Bermeja fir forest
Geographical Location: in the Lower Genal district in the southern part of the Ronda region. The village spreads over a hill at an altitude of 520 metres and is 45 kilometres from Ronda and 150 from the city of Málaga. The average rainfall-one of the highest in the province- exceeds 1,300 litres per square metre and the average temperature is around 14º C.
By the time the traveller enters the municipality of Genalguacil he will have realised that the landscape opening up to him, is dominated by large areas of forest and that the greenery intensifies and the plant cover becomes more lush the closer he comes to the environs of this village, where dense and leafy vegetation is the normal state of affairs. Almost 90% of the municipal territory is covered by woods.
Because of their location between the River Genal and the Sierra Bermeja range these lands display a complex and varied terrain that greatly enriches a landscape abounding with pine, chestnut, cork oak and gall oak trees. Without a doubt, however, the most prized plant species in this area is the Spanish fir. It was in the Los Reales de Sierra Bermeja fir forest that the Swiss scientist Edmond Boissier discovered this tree for the science of botany in 1837.
was named a protected natural area in 1989 and a Bird Protection Special Area in 2002, since golden eagles, peregrine falcons, eagle owls, Bonelli’s eagles and booted eagles live in the area, which lies in the municipal territories of Estepona, Casares and Genalguacil. There are a great many scenic viewpoints from which the visitor can enjoy spectacular panoramic views of the entire Costa del Sol. On one of the highest places there is the Refugio de Agustín Lozano, in a recreational area with wooden benches and barbecues. Numerous trails start there, including that which leads to the lookout of Salvador Guerrero.
Besides the forests, there is an abundance of water in this region that makes possible a large number of orchards. Down below, where the River Genal widens and flows tranquilly, market gardens and orange groves appear. Outside these places that have been tamed by man, however, most of the municipality can be considered one of the best-preserved territories, from an ecological standpoint, in the entire province of Málaga. So much so that Genalguacil offers a closely-woven trail network passing through spots of unrivalled beauty.
The discovery of some hand mills for crushing precious metals proves that Phoenicians and Greeks –for the artefacts are from those cultures– settled temporarily in Genalguacil for the purpose of exploiting the gold and silver mines of the area called Reales Chicos. Aside from this fact, little is known about this village until the arrival of Islam. The origin of the village’s name is the Arabic expression "Genna-Alwacir", which means "gardens of the vizier" or minister. This indicates that some high Muslim official established his residence in this village.
After the conquest by the Catholic Monarchs, the Muslim population continued to live in Genalguacil, but only until the mid-sixteenth century. This village joined the Moorish rebellion, as did so many others and its residents, as a result, were driven out. The lands were repopulated by Christians from other places and granted as feudal holdings to the Duke of Arcos, and remained in this status until the law abolished these privileges.
Los Reales de Sierra Bermeja
Starting from Estepona on the Costa del Sol (AP-7 or N-340 expressways) take the MA-557. Once past Puerto de Peñas Blancas you have a choice: either continue on the MA-557 through Jubrique or take the MA-558. Both routes lead to Genalguacil. If you are coming from Ronda, take the A-369, which connects that city with Algeciras, and go to Algatocín. Genalguacil is some 12 kilometres from that village by the MA-536.
Full graphical path: http://bit.ly/sxwNWa
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