Surface Area: 21.2 square kilometres
What the natives are called: Vallesteros
Outstanding Sights: Antigua Posada (old inn building), Palacio de los Condes de Corbos (Palace of the Counts of Corbos), San Lorenzo parish church, Madre Petra convent, Cristo de la Sierra hermitage and La Peana (Roman pedestal), Museo Etnográfico (Ethnographic Museum)
Geographical Location: in the southern part of the Antequera region, on the boundary of the Guadalhorce valley region. The locality is 340 metres above sea level and is 50 kilometres from Málaga. Average rainfall in the area is 600 litres per square metre and the average annual temperature is 14.4º C.
The territory of Valle de Abdalajís is almost completely encircled by the extensive municipality of Antequera and only a small part of it- just a narrow corridor-opens onto the Guadalhorce valley. The mountains that are named after the village rise imposingly behind the urban district, which is protected by a formidable limestone wall. On the opposite side, the landscape is much gentler, being made up of rounded hills covered with grain fields and olive groves. The Las Piedras stream runs through this area between fertile gardens and orchards that are a hint that the Guadalhorce valley is near at hand.
This municipality’s location on the border between the Guadalhorce valley, the natural route between many of the hinterland regions and the provincial capital, and the Antequera lowlands, which are an indispensable hub of communications between Upper and Lower Andalusia, has made Valle de Abdalajís a vital pass since man first trod its soil. A large number of prehistoric relics, such as stone axes, ceramic and flint tools, have been found in this area.
Iberians, Celts, Greeks, Punics and Romans were later to leave their mark on this territory also. The existence of an Iberian settlement has been proven, and it came into contact with Phoenicians and Punics as can be easily deduced from studying the El Cuero del Castillo and El Nacimiento archaeological sites, where fragments of Greek ceramics from the fifth century B. C. have been found. The Cerro Pelao archaeological site is also extremely interesting, and there are historians who link it to the Torres de Aníbal (Towers of Hannibal). A small terra cotta statue of Demetra, the goddess of agriculture, a bas-relief with the image of a bull (which has been destroyed), and especially the "Dama Oferente de Abdalajís" (Offering Lady of Abdalajís, third or second century B. C.), are excellent examples of pre-Roman Iberian art that have been found in this municipality.
Enough facts have come to light through archaeological studies to establish that on the site now occupied by the village stood the Roman city of Nescania, which was declared a Municipium Flavium in 70 A. D. in the time of Vespasian. Also some 25 epigraphs, which have been found in the dig sites, furnish information about the social life of Nescania in those times. One of these epigraphs is dedicated to Jupiter and may help to prove that there was a temple dedicated to this god. The Peana-which we will get back to later-is dedicated to Trajan, and another of the epigraphs refers to Seneca. Some sources speak of at least 15 statues being found in Nescania, among the most important of which are those of Seneca and Trajan and a Bacchus that is in the Museo Arqueológico Provincial (Provincial Archaeological Museum) in Málaga.
The Vandal invasion in the fourth century levelled the Roman city and the area was unpopulated until the arrival of the Arabs, to whom the village owes its present name. It comes from Abd-el-Aziz, the son of Muza, the first Muslim to take up residence in this area. It is curious that during the entire long presence of the Arabs in this area (699 years) there was no urban area of significant size. The Muslim population was scattered about in farmsteads and irrigated areas and the only important construction in those times was the Hinz-Almara castle, which was built over the ruins of an Iberian town and formed part of the Antequera chain of defences. Only a few stones remain of this fortress today.
The origins of the present village date back to the sixteenth century when, as a result of the first land distribution immediately after the Christian conquest and the expulsion of the Moors, the lands of Valle de Abdalajís were ceded to Alfonso Pérez de Padilla y Corbos. His descendents governed the village until 1811 (when the Cortes de Cádiz outlawed the feudal system). The feudal policies would not be totally abolished until 1833, however, the date that the last Count of Los Corbos became just another citizen, but one with huge amounts of land.
The route starts from the city of Málaga, which can be reached from any point on the Costa del Sol by way of the Mediterranean Expressway (A-7; N-340). Take the A-45 expressway towards Antequera. You must go into that city and find the departure route for El Torcal via the A-343, which is very well marked, but instead of going all the way to that Nature Park stay on the A-343, and after 18 kilometres you will arrive at Valle de Abdalajís.
Full graphical path: http://bit.ly/sBJonn
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