Surface Area: 9.3 square kilometres
What the natives are called: Totalatenses or Totalateños Nickname: Rebotaos
Outstanding Sights: Santa Ana parish church, Cerro de la Corona dolmen, Las Cascadas
Geographical Location: in the western part of the La Axarquía region, adjoining the municipalities of Málaga, Moclinejo and Rincón de la Victoria. The village is 290 metres above sea level and is 22 kilometres from Málaga and 13 from Rincón de la Victoria. The area’s average precipitation is 540 litres per square metre and the annual average temperature is 17.5º C.
The small municipality of Totalán is crossed north to south by the stream of the same name, and spreads its irregular and elongated surface between the La Axarquía region, to which it belongs, and the Hoya de Málaga (Málaga Valley). As might be expected of such a frontier between two zones its landscape shows some characteristics of each, but it can be seen that the Málaga Mountains slightly predominate.
This is, then, a terrain mainly of hills and ravines whose plant cover is made up primarily of olive and almond trees, brush and pastures, and only along the riverbanks are there a few orchards and market gardens. This small territory is surrounded by such low to medium elevations as the Salazar (512 metres), Vareno (501 metres) and Las Herrerías (664 metres) hills. The Totalán stream only flows part of the year but sometimes has very high water.
There are very few historical records available with which to reconstruct the history of Totalán before the Christian conquest, and they are not plentiful even after that event. It is known to have belonged to the "alfoz" (district) of Málaga, and it is also known that there was a tower of which practically nothing remains today. It is documented, however, that in 1483, a few years before the fall of Málaga, El Zagal defeated within the boundaries of this municipality part of the Christian army that advanced along the route of the Totalán stream towards this area from Antequera to attack the Muslim force camped near Moclinejo. The Arabs received timely warning about the Christians’ approach and emerged victorious from the confrontation.
There is one popular theory that the village’s name is Arabic for "torta" (a kind of pastry). There are also a number of documents that note the existence of several small communities in the area called Tortela, Tortila and Tortalán, which according to this theory indicates that in one or more of these places this typical Andalusian confectionery must have been produced. So far, however, no trace of the existence of such a craft has been found.
There is also the belief that the Totalán stream had a strong current during the Muslim period, which explains the existence of an olive oil mill in this territory. In any case, given the lack of documentation of any kind of any important event in this municipality, there is every reason to believe that the history of Totalán beginning with the Christian conquest followed the same path as that of the adjoining villages. Its history was so similar that it suffered, and suffered greatly, from the phylloxera pest in the late nineteenth century that destroyed all the grapevines that had been the base of the area’s economy.
The destruction of Totalán’s main resource, the grapevine, resulted in the gradual abandonment of farmsteads and lands. The greatest population exodus, however, came about in the 1940’s, well into the post-war period, when many of its residents moved to the Málaga neighbourhood of El Palo in search of a livelihood in the provincial capital.
The exit for Totalán via the MA-179 is shown by signs on the Mediterranean Expressway (A-7; N-340) at Rincón de la Victoria.
Full graphical path: http://bit.ly/tcehUW
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