Árchez, nicknamed the Jewel of Merinita in the twelfth century, is a Moorish town set on the foothills of the Sierra de Tejeda and Sierra de Almijara. Its urban landscape and gastronomy reminiscent of the Arab era are a constant reminder of the past of this small town in the Axarquía.
A stop you can"t miss on the Ruta Mudejar, this town is also known for the delicious wine made with the grapes from the vineyards that dot its territory. A perfect place to enjoy the nature, History and customs of rural Malaga.
IN ÁRCHEZ DO NOT MISS
Árchez also preserves the remains of an ancient wall and three ancestral flour mills. The most famous is that of Doña Fidela, located in the basin of río Turvilla, near the centre of town.
Walking through the narrow winding streets of Árchez you can also admire the popular architecture that evokes the Moorish past of this village of the Axarquía.
The minaret of the fourteenth century iglesia de Nuestra Señora de la Encarnación, is the most precious jewel of Árchez and a great example of Almohad architecture. Built in red brick, it is 15 metres high, has a square structure and diamond-shape decoration with plant motifs. It was declared a National Monument in 1979 for its historical and artistic value.
The tower is the only element that is preserved from the old mosque on which the iglesia de la Encarnación was erected. This Moorish style temple has a single nave with wooden frame, three dressing rooms behind the head and alcoves with images on their walls.
Árchez is about 54 kilometres from the city of Málaga. Take the Mediterranean Motorway (A-7) going on the diversion towards Algarrobo near Vélez-Málaga on the A07206. Pass through Sayalonga and then continue on the MA-104, the MA-11 and finally the MA-5104 that ends in Árchez.
Árchez is located on the banks of the río Sayalonga, on the foothills of the Sierra de Tejeda and Sierra de Almijara. Due to its geographical location, it has an attractive natural environment, especially for hiking and outdoor activities.
Hills covered with olive trees and vines surround this village of the Axarquía, where local wine is one of the most typical products. Árchez has an equestrian centre that organises horse riding through the most interesting scenic places allowing you to discover the surrounding area.
Semana Santa is one of the most significant events in Árchez's calendar of festivals. Noteworthy for their solemnity are the processions of the Virgen de los Dolores y de Nuestro Padre Jesús Nazareno. Although the parade of Jesús Resucitado is also particularly striking, whose image is paraded by the women of the village.
The other big event of the year is the Feria en honor a Nuestra Señora de la Encarnación, held between July and August. When the fairground is opened, fun takes over the town, which hosts activities as diverse as a pilgrimage or a traditional corridor de cintas.
The Fiesta de San Antón, in January, also enjoys great popularity in Árchez. The procession, the animal blessing and a lively meal in the esplanade of río Turvilla are the main events of the day.
In June, we have Noche de San Juan, Corpus Christi and Noche Andaluza, an event full of cultural, sporting and folkloric activities. And in September is the celebration of Candelas, a festival characterised by the fires that are lit at the farms in the area. Around the fire, the locals eat, sing and dance the ""zambomba"" and ""la rueda"" (traditional songs on said dates).
Not only did the Arabs leave their mark on the architecture and urbanism of Árchez, they also influenced the gastronomy. Dishes such as potaje de hinojos (fennel stew) or pollo al estilo Mudejar (Moorish style chicken) are some of the Andalusian-inspired dishes.
Other delicacies to try are cod tortillas with honey and toasted bread crumbs accompanied by sardines and herring, not forgetting the chickpea stew with cod and ajoblanco, one of the gastronomic icons of the Malaga summer composed of almonds, garlic, oil and vinegar, all beaten, and accompanied with grapes.
This town in the Axarquia region also produces its own wine and sells raisins, avocados, almonds and olives.
The origins of Árchez could be in an old Morisco farmstead. The history of the village undoubtedly dates back to the period of Arabic domination. The layout of its streets, the architecture of its houses and the Minaret from the 14th Century representing the emblem of the village leave no room for doubt. This monument, of great historical value, indicates that the village, included in the Mudejar Route, enjoyed a certain importance during the Muslim period. Furthermore, owing to its geographical situation, it must have played an important part in the Morisco rebellion that took place in La Axarquía.
Árchez was conquered in 1487 by Christian troops and came under the control of Don Diego Fernández de Córdoba. Later it would pass into the hands of the Marquis of Comares. After that, there is no other chronicle that sheds any lights on the history of the village until the 19th Century. After this time, we know that there were looms in the village making blue and white canvases, three distilleries, two flour mills and four oil mills. This indicates significant economic activity for a village that never had a large population.
The legend of the bell
On one of the bells in the church of the Incarnation tower there is an inscription that reads: "I was made by D. Ramón Rivas, when D. Ildefonso Tomé y García was the priest and D. Antonio García Azuaga was the mayor. Year 1876". Legend has it that, during the process of making the bell, a lizard became incrusted into it. Since then, it is said that any person "of marrying age who is single" can climb up the tower and touch the lizard and they will find love within a year.
Árchez's cuisine has a significant Arab influence. Dishes such as fennel stew or Mudéjar-style chicken are some dishes that take inspiration from Al-Andalus. You can't miss the cod omelettes with molasses, migas with sardines and herring, but don't forget the chickpea stew with cod and ajoblanco. This municipality in the Axarquía region cultivates wine and sells raisins, avocados, almonds and olives.
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