Parauta is a municipality with Moorish origins located in the western part of the province of Malaga, in the Valle del Genal. With its white-washed streets, richly fertile valley and privileged location within the Parque Natural de la Sierra de las Nieves, Parauta is a unique destination to relax and tune in to nature. In this municipality you"ll discover the millenary holm oak tree, considered one of the oldest in the world.
THERE'S NO GETTING LOST IN PARAUTA
In Parauta we recommend that you take a stroll around its cobblestone streets dating back to Moorish Spain and enjoy the fresh water fountains fed directly from the Valle del Genal.
Parauta boasts two natural monuments with immense ecological value: the Pinsapo de la Escalereta (a Spanish fir tree) and the Encina Valdecilla (a holm oak tree). This part of the Parque Natural de la Sierra de las Nieves is home to some of the oldest living fir trees. It is estimated that the Pinsapo de la Escalereta is between 350 and 550 years old. This not to be missed specimen reaches over 30 metres in height and the perimeter of its truck measures 9 metres.
You don"t need to leave the town centre to stumble across the Encina de Valdecilla. This 20-metre-high tree has a diameter of 3 metres. Although its exact age is unknown, its characteristics and size have led some experts to argue that it could be one of the oldest holm oaks in the world.
As for interesting architecture, a highlight is the Iglesia de la Inmaculada Concepción, dating back to the 16th century. At this church you can see the San Pascual Bailón, a polychrome wooden sculpture that found its inspiration in a work by Pedro de Mena, as well as a Virgin of Sorrows from the 18th century.
Parauta is south of the Serranía de Ronda, just over 100 kilometres from Málaga. Take the motorway towards Ronda by going on the Mediterranean motorway (A-7) and the A-397 road. Then go the MA-525 and then the MA-519 until you reach the town of Parauta.
The nature surrounding Parauta forms part of the Sierra de las Nieves. This natural park was declared a Biosphere Reserve by Unesco thanks to its immensely rich ecology. For hiking and cycling enthusiasts, this municipality in the Serranía de Ronda is an ideal destination. You"ll come across steep cliffs, ravines and trails, while observing some of the oldest trees on the planet, including fir trees and the famed Escalereta specimen.
To experience the local fiestas, we recommend that you visit Parauta during the patron saint festivities in honour of the Virgen del Rosario, held in August. December is also a month for festivities, this is when the municipality"s other patron saint, La Inmaculada, is celebrated.
If you want to enjoy a fiesta that has received a local tourism award, you can"t miss the Fiesta del Conejo (Rabbit Festival), celebrated every year in November. Residents cook traditional recipes and products using locally hunted rabbit meat. The Panda de Verdiales (local musicians who sing in a uniquely malagueño flamenco style) also take part in this fiesta.
During Holy Week, Parauta celebrates the local traditions of the Niño del Huerto (Baby of the Vegetable Garden) and Quema del Judas (Burning of Judas). On the Day of Resurrection, residents make a vegetable garden in the town square and adorn it with an image of the baby Jesus. A procession of the Virgin Mary culminating at the vegetable garden and the burning of Judas mark the close of Passion Week.
Parauta is famous for its unparalleled gastronomy, all thanks to the fertile soils in the Valle del Genal and excellent hunting in the sierras. During your visit to this white-washed municipality, we recommend that you try the tomato soups, rice with rabbit, gazpachuelo (a subtle fish-based white soup), boiled soups (similar to garlic soup) and the traditional olla (stewed legumes, vegetables and meats). The local sweets and chestnut-based products are also of outstanding quality.
Parauta was founded by the Arabs. The history of this village runs parallel to that of Ronda and other towns on the south of Serranía de Ronda. A hamlet close to Hisn Autha (the toponym that became "Parauta") could have been the birthplace of Umar ibn Hafsun (854), the Christian leader of the anti-Umayyad forces, scattered across most of Andalusia.
Ibn Hafsun dedicated his life to fight the Umayyad Emirate of Córdoba, dying in Bobastro in 917. Before his death, he had become a Christian, being christened as Samuel. His place of birth is controversial; different historians point to different towns in Málaga Province.
During the Reconquista, Parauta fell to the Castilian Army at the same time as Ronda. After the conquest, the Mudejar population shrank and the area was repopulated with old Christians from Cádiz and Seville. Parauta has remained quite the same as it looked in the days of Al-Andalus – a traditional Islamic village with a few later additions, like the archway on Calle Altillo or the Church of Inmaculada Concepción.
Parauta has the Valle del Genal's fertile lands and game as the source of its cuisine. Typical dishes include tomato soups, rice with rabbit, gazpachuelo, the traditional olla and boiled soups. Their desserts with chestnuts are also of excellent quality.
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