Arriate is one of the towns which makes up the Ronda highlands in Malaga, located in the lower region of the Ronda Depression. Its name corresponds to the flower beds usually found in gardens and window sills, although its original Arabic meaning is a direct reference to an orchard. This is not surprising, since Arriate is located in an exceptional natural environment. One cannot avoid travelling around the valley and its surroundings to discover spots such as the "Arroyo Oscuro" (meaning obscure stream) or the Roman ruins of Acinipo. The Guadalcobacín valley makes up the backdrop of this area, overlooked by the Cumbres Mountains and the Salinas Hill.
This town also stands out for its traditional carpentry. Whilst strolling through its winding streets, one can admire the handcrafted wooden doors on many of its houses, and, of course, the marvellous views of the valley, seen from the various viewpoints scattered around the town. The town also holds its own Holy Week, declared a Provincial Touristic Singularity.
THINGS NOT TO MISS
The first thing to discover in Arriate is the town"s viewpoints. There are many watchtowers from which one can admire the marvellous landscape which makes it such a unique place to visit. After strolling along the river bank, one arrives at the Estacá viewpoint, which provides a beautiful view of Arriate and its surroundings. The climb up to the viewpoint in La Habana Street offers another option for a great panoramic view.
The Station Promenade (Paseo de la Estación) and the Main Square also merit a visit, and make up the centre of the town"s activity.
The main architectural reference point of Arriate is without a doubt the Church of San Juan de Letrán . The building dates from the Andalusian Renaissance and stands out for its mudéjar carpentry and the bell-tower, which, despite being a recent construction (1960), has become the emblem of the city and a key point of reference in the town"s skyline.
Arriate is almost 100 kilometres from Málaga. To get there, take the A-357 to Ardales. Then take the diversion towards the A-367 that goes through Cuevas del Becerro until you reach Arriate.
Arriate is located in the lower region of the Ronda Depression and is surrounded by the Cumbres Mountains and the Salinas Hill. As such, Arriate offers several opportunities to enjoy nature and discover the beautiful landscape of the Guadalcobacín valley.
Sport lovers will enjoy Arriate"s many hiking trails. Of varying difficulty, these trails lead to some unique spots, such as the stream ("Arroyo Oscuro"), the Roman ruins of Acinipo and the Ventilla Bridge.
The ideal time to visit Arriate is during its Holy Week (Semana Santa), declared a Provincial Tourist Singularity. Its two brotherhoods have an extensive history. The Brotherhood of Santísimo Cristo de la Sangre y Santo Entierro de Cristo dates back to the 16th century, whilst the Brotherhood of Nuestro Padre Jesús originated in the 17th century. Arriate"s neighbours are divided between "Christians" and "Jesuits" according to whether they belong to one or the other respectively. Another peculiar fact about this Holy Week is that it is the only one in Malaga with a procession on Holy Saturday.
The following festivals, taking place throughout the rest of the year, are also worth noting:
February: In February, Arriate celebrates Carnival, during which fun and good humour are the central protagonists. Over the course of the festival, costume contests are organised and puppet shows and comedy sketches (called "chirigotas") take place.
Lent: 14 days before Palm Sunday, the inhabitants of Arriate celebrate the Day of the Old Woman ("el Día de la Vieja"). On that day, the inhabitants of Arriate go out to the fields, just like their ancestors, to eat a traditional lunch. Its name originates in the expression "partir la vieja" (to break with the old), which refers to the break with the rigours of "Old Lent", marking a pause in the process of fasting and abstinence imposed upon the faithful by the Catholic Church in liturgical times.
June: Arriate is unusual in that it celebrates Corpus Christi on two separate days. This custom is due to a papal bull issued by Pope Clement XIV in 1769. Due to the fact that many inhabitants where cutting wheat at that time, it was decided that the day would also be celebrated every 29th June. The religious events belong to the festival of San Pedro, which takes place between June and July. Arriate"s streets are adorned with flowers and carpets, and altars are installed along the procession route for the Holy Sacrament. The festival"s programme includes all kinds of activities, from horseback rides and bull taming exhibitions, to music shows.
May: In May, Arriate organises the pilgrimage of the Cross. It originates in the celebration of the May Crosses which used to take place in the village, but no longer does. During this pilgrimage, various carts accompany the main one which carries the May Cross. These carts make their way until they reach "los Pinillos del Marqués", where they stop to eat and spend the afternoon. When they return to the village, an open air celebration takes place in the fairground.
The main ingredients of traditional Arriate gastronomy are farmed meats and game, vegetables, olive oil and flour. "Arriateño" stew, garlic rabbit and fried breadcrumbs (migas) are amongst some of the most traditional dishes. The dishes usually eaten during times of abstinence, such as hard boiled eggs, sweet lemons, light tomato soup (salmorejo), breadsticks and the cakes eaten in Semana Santa, are also very typical. In this town of the mountainous region of Ronda, one can also find excellent cold meats (chorizo and salami are of fantastic quality), good wine and a home-made drink made of spices and brandy, called "mistela". In terms of confectionery, "perrunas" (a kind of biscuit) and wine doughnuts or "rosquillos de vino" (one of the region"s most delicious Christmas treats) merit special attention.
Archaeological evidence found in the caves on the banks of the river Guadalcobacín (stone axes) reveals that man came to Arriate in prehistoric times (Palaeolithic Age). Early settlers must have felt attracted by the mild terrain, the nearby woods and the existence of abundant water resources.
The earliest historical record for Arriate is the Battle of Arriate, in 1407. When the governor of Cañete la Real left for Setenil, which was under the threat of the Moorish troops, he left his son in charge. The Muslims charged, seized the fort and killed the young man. In reprisal, Hernando de Arias set an ambush for them in Arriate, a village whose name is derived from Arriadh, meaning "garden".
In 1630, Arriate was granted independence from Ronda, but five years later it was annexed to it again. Autonomy came on 14 February 1661, after the villagers paid 352,739 reales to the King of Spain.
The cocido arriateño, garlic rabbit and migas are the main recipes you can find in Arriate.
Easter Week is a pivotal festival on the calendar with plenty of recipes just for this time of year, such as hard-boiled eggs, sweet lemons, salmorejo pobre, rosca de pan and the Easter Week cakes.
The cured meats, wine and a homemade drink made out of spices and moonshine called mistela are signature local products. When it comes to dessert, the perrunas and wine doughnuts are the most common delicacies.
- Inhabitants (2,501-5,000)
- Inland area