Cuevas de San MarcosAyuntamiento, Plaza Luis De Armiñán, 32, Cuevas de San Marcos, 29210
Cuevas de San Marcos is a municipality in the region of Nororma, in the province of Malaga. It is between the Sierra Camorro and the Genil River, and near the Iznájar reservoir, the largest in Andalusia.
Active tourism aficionados and all travelers wanting to be in contact with nature can enjoy a fantastic range of activities and places to visit, such as the Sierra Camorro Fault.
NOT TO MISS IN CUEVAS DE SAN MARCOS
The most important archaeological site of Cuevas de San Marcos is in Sierra Camorro: The Medina de Belda Site, where the old medieval city settled.
On the other hand, the Cave of Belda brings together a larger number of speleologists each year. The interior contains interesting karst formations, stalactites and stalagmites, and three inland lakes. This cave also denotes the presence of prehistoric settlers thanks to the discovery of some remains.
In the beautiful setting of the town, we can also visit two outstanding civil constructions, the Aceña waterwheel, from the eighteenth century, and Luis Armiñán Bridge, built in 1910.
The Municipal Archaeological Museum helps us to become aware of the great historic and prehistoric heritage of Cuevas de San Marcos. Highlights are the Punic-Roman pieces, a diverse collection of Hispano-Muslim and Visigoth ceramic materials.
In the town center stands the church of St Mark the Evangelist a part baroque, part neoclassical building built in the seventeenth century and remodeled in the eighteenth century.
Also from the eighteenth century is the chapel of Carmen, small temple that combines Neo-Gothic and neo-classical influences and has a unique hexagonal shrine.
HOW TO GET TO CUEVAS DE SAN MARCOS FROM MALAGA
There are 82 km between Malaga and Cuevas de San Marcos. If traveling by car, we can get there in just over one hour by the A-45, taking exit 82 onto the A-7300 towards our destination.
In Cuevas de San Marcos, we cannot miss the Sierra Camorro fault. This space is listed as a natural monument of Andalusia. Its karst landscape with grottos and caves would move any visitor. Here is the Belda Cave, a refuge for a large colony of bats.
From the Sierra del Camorro we can see the Iznájar Reservoir, the largest in Andalusia, with more than a hundred kilometers of shoreline. The north face of this mountain is also of great scenic interest, with many areas of pines and holm oak.
April 25 is the festival of St Mark, a great opportunity to enjoy a day in the countryside and witness the tradition of "tying the devil", symbolically joining two dandelion flowers.
Also in April is a must-see event for dog lovers: the Fair of the Andalusian Hound and Maneto. Cuevas de San Marcos is home to renowned pedigree for this breed of dogs.
Cuevas de San Marcos Fair is in August: endless recreational activities take place at the village; there is also a day dedicated to the emigrant.
Holy Week and Corpus Christi in June and the Virgen del Carmen in July are other religious holidays with prestige in the municipality. Especially the latter, as the Virgen del Carmen is the patron saint of the village.
Finally, on the night of December 7 the village streets are filled with bonfires made by the neighbors around which you eat and drink: this is called the Noche de las Candelas.
We cannot go leave Cuevas de San Marcos without tasting the 'cocido sobreusa' (a stew made with beans, eggs and coriander), minced purple carrot (typical of the area), or porra (a cold cream of tomato, pepper, bread and olive oil, which is often accompanied by boiled egg, tuna or ham). Other typical dishes are pork and hornazo.
And to sweeten our experience, what better than a "wine donut", some embustes (a strange name for a delicious sweet, similar to a donut) or come manoletes (pastries filled with citrus fruit). Also delicious are fig bread, tortas de aceite ("oil cakes") and roscos sosos.
The earliest settlers in Cuevas de San Marcos were prehistoric men, as attested by the archaeological evidence found in the Cave of Belda. In the Chalcolithic period, the area was occupied by several civilisations leaving their marks. The menhir "El niño de piedra" (Stone Boy), Iberian ceramics, axes and other Bronze Age tools are some of the remains found.
Ptolemy mentions the village of Belda in 298 BC. This is proof that an early settlement existed in the area even before the coming of the Romans. Evidence from this historical period includes Early Roman coins, a bronze coffin, amphorae and tessellae forming a mosaic fragment. All this evidence points at Belda as one of the most affluent villages in Hispania Baetica.
The land now occupied by Cuevas de San Marcos was the setting of turbulent events from the Arab invasion to the tenth century. Umar ibn Hafsun had one of his fortresses built in Cerro del Camorro, and the area became one of the centres of resistance in the rebellion of the Christian leader of anti-Umayyad dynasty forces.
In the early years of the fifteenth century, the mayor of Antequera put together a 350-strong army to conquer Belda. He did not have enough men for a garrison, so he had all houses and the fortress destroyed. Later, King John II attached the pastureland of Belda, divided into four farmlands or cortijos, to the regional capital. Two of the cortijos then became Cuevas Altas (Cuevas de San Marcos"s former name); the other two made Cuevas Bajas.
The Church of San Marcos Evangelista was built in the seventeenth century, while the Shrine of El Carmen was raised in the eighteenth century. The two temples are dedicated to the village"s patron saint and Patroness. The Luis de Armiñán Bridgedates back to 1910, as part of the road connecting northern Málaga with southern Córdoba.
Legend has it… in Cuevas de San Marcos
In times of the Reconquista, the devil lived in the Cave of Belda, at least according to legend. People could even smell the sulphur coming out of the cave. Several Christian knights tried to get him out, to no success. Frightened to death, one after another ran away without looking back. In the face of all the failed attempts, the governor of Antequera sent a friar to put an end to so much Mephistophelian mischief. The pious man tied the devil up with a wall-rocket rope, crying "With this cross, I tie you down". Every year in April, the people of Cuevas de San Marcos remember the feat with a ritual they call "atar al diablo" ("Tying the Devil up").
- Inhabitants (2,501-5,000)
- Inland area