Just 17 kilometres from Málaga is the town of Cártama in the Guadalhorce Valley. The town is famous for its citrus and meat product production and has a long architectural and cultural legacy. It"s located strategically within the province, bordering eight other towns and with very good links to the capital. This well connected location has resulted in different groups of people throughout history settling in its territory, starting with the Phoenicians. The Arabs were the group who gave the town its current name and changed Cártama into an economic, political and military focus point.
Its main city centres are Cártama Pueblo and Cártama Estación.
MUST SEE SIGHTS IN CÁRTAMA
The various civilisations that settled in Cártama built a town that now has a very unique and interesting map. One of the first significant buildings you will discover upon arrival in this town is the fort. The Castillo de Cártama was built by the Romans, remodelled and reused by the Arabs and employed by the Christian soldiers during the Reconquest. From the castle, you will see a unique panoramic view of the meadows of Guadalhorce.
Another high up location with fantastic views is the chapel of Nuestra Señora de los Remedios, built on the Monte de la Virgen. The shrine has been declared a Location of Cultural Interest and dates back to the 16th century. Also from this era, is the image of Nuestra Señora de los Remedios, which, according to legend, was found by a local shepherd. The region"s devotion to the Patron Saint of Cártama means that the pilgrimages in her name are among the most important religious events that take place.
So strong is this devotion, that the Patron Saint also has a museum in her honour. In 2007 the Nuestra Señora de los Remedios Museum was opened during the Patron Saint's festival. You will find it next to the parish of San Pedro.
Following our route we come to the church of San Pedro, built in the 16th century on a site that, at the time, housed a mosque. This church combines various architectural styles including Mudejar, Gothic and Renaissance elements, and conserves the old mosque"s minaret, which today has become a tower.
It has also has a large 20th century iron bridge. This bridge over the River Guadalhorce serves to link the two city centres: Cártama Estación and Cártama Pueblo. Lastly, other points of interest in the town include: a house museum about the poet and rhapsode, González Marín, the house of José Alarcón Luján and a 16th century fountain.
Cártama is about 20 kilometres from the city of Málaga, or about a half-hour by car. the best way to get there is to take the A-357 motorway towards the Coín road/A-7057 until you get off at exit 54. After that, continue straight on the A-7057 until you get to town.
Cártama is situated in the Guadalhorce Valley whose fertile earth means that a large part of the terrain has been dedicated to orchards. On the hillsides around the river, poplars and eucalyptus trees can be found alongside the native shrubbery: oleanders, canes and brambles. Lovers of adventure tourism will find various hiking and cycle trails in Cártama to beautiful countryside areas such as Torrealquería, the sierra de Los Espartales and the Ermita de las Tres Cruces.
Cártama has two festivals designed for those specifically interested in the local music. In April the Concierto de Primavera is celebrated, and in May it is the turn of the Festival de Verdiales. Towards the end of the year, Cártama celebrates the Festival de Flamenco José Hurtadi Ramoliche which has been taken place for the last 12 years.
The zeal that the inhabitants of Cártama and region in general have for the Virgen de los Remedios means that the month of April is one of the best times of years to visit the town. These festivals start with a Romería (pilgramage) from the Ermita de Nuestra Señora de los Remedios to the San Pedro church, during which the Virgen is placed in the church and is available to visit until the end of the festivities. The Estación de Cártama district also celebrates a busy Romería along the River Guadalhorce. These festivities are dedicated to San Isidro Labrador, and take place in May.
Other festivals that take place in Cártama are: Carnaval, the Gala del día de Andalucía, both of which are celebrated in February, San Juan, which is specifically celebrated in the Gibralgalia district, and the Santa Ana andSan Joaquín festival. On this day, commonly known as the "Día de los Canastitos", the townspeople of Cártama prepare picnics to enjoy down by the river.
Closely linked to the agricultural character of the area, Cártama celebrates its Feria de Ganado in honour of San Miguel towards the end of September.
Cártama is famous for its production of sausages and Iberian cured meats, such as its black pudding and Cártama style chorizo. As well, its patatas viudas (spiced, stewed potatoes), soups including cachorreñas (a soup with bread, cod and orange) and asparagus, are three of the most famous dishes of Cártama"s traditional gastronomy. Regarding sweet things, the pestiños (originally an Arabic dessert bathed in honey), fritilas (fried dough tortillas served with condiments such as jam or cinnamon) borrachuelos (sweet pasties), roscos (doughnuts) and Cártama cake (with oil and almonds) all stand out.
Cártama"s strategic location in the Guadalhorce valley, connecting Málaga"s coastal area with the hinterland, made it a place coveted since ancient times. The Iberians, the Tartessians and the Phoenicians all settled here. In fact, it was the latter who gave it the name Cartha, meaning "tucked-away city".
In 195 BC, the Romans established Carthima as a municipium with a strong defence. Traces of those years are the column at the entrance to town, the aqueduct and the bridge on the road to Alhaurín el Grande. With the arrival of the Visigoths, prosperity came to an end. The city then fell in the hands of the Arabs.
The Islamic invaders built the castle and the enclosing walls that transformed the village into one of the strongest defensive bulwarks in Málaga Province. However, it was not enough to stop the forces of the Christian Reconquista, who seized the fortress and the village in the name of King Ferdinand the Catholic in 1485. The castle then fell into disuse until the Peninsular War, when it was used as a military base by the French soldiers.
Cártama"s local economy was based on grape growing and wine making. The phylloxera plague affecting the south of Spain in the nineteenth century forced local farmers to turn to almond trees. Since the village continues to be the gateway to Málaga"s hinterland, and given its proximity to the river Guadalhorce, it is a major hub of trade and culture at the regional level.
Legend has it…: Our Lady of Good Remedy
The Chapel of Nuestra Señora de los Remedios was built in the eighteenth century. There used to be an older temple on the site where it now stands, dating back to sixteenth century. Legend has it that a shepherd found the image of Our Lady of Good Remedy there. Locals first referred to Her as "Our Lady in the Mountain", but Her name changed to "Good Remedy" when She brought a plague to an end after being carried in a procession. In April 2002, the bishop of Málaga, Antonio Dorado Soto, crowned Our Lady of Good Remedy as Cártama"s Eternal Mayoress.
Cártama is known for producing cold and cured meats like Cártama-style blood sausage and chorizo, pork loin in lard and manteca colorá.
The patatas viudas, sopas cachorreñas, sopas hervías, asparagus soups, along with sardine soups, are some of the most traditional recipes in this Valle del Guadalhorce town.
The sweetest recipes in this town that you can’t miss are the pestiños, borrachuelos, doughnuts, torrijas (similar to French toast) and the torta cartameña, a pastry showing off the town’s Arab roots in one small bite.
- Near the airport
- Inhabitants (10,001-25,000)