Located between the Sierras de Tejeda and Almijara in the heart of the Axarquía region, Sedella still conserves an air of its Arab past. White houses adorned with flowers and quiet streets are the hallmarks of this village surrounded by breath-taking landscapes.
Sedella forms part of the Ruta Mudéjar, a route that gives visitors the chance to go back in time to the Al-Andalus period and enjoy the legacy stored up in this stunning destination in inland Malaga.
THERE"S NO GETTING LOST IN SEDELLA
The former mansion fortress belonging to Señor de Sedella, known as Casa Torreón, is one of the village"s architectural gems. Built in the 16th century in a Mudéjar style, it once belonged to Diego Fernández de Córdoba, a servant to the Crown of Castile. The most outstanding feature of this now privately owned building is its fortified tower, which mixes a Renaissance style with a Moorish aesthetic.
The Iglesia de San Andrés was built over a temple from the same era. The only surviving part is the old bell tower. Inside this church, there are interesting sculptures, a pyx and objects of worship from the 17th and 18th centuries.
On the outskirts of the village, you can see the Ermita de la Virgen de la Esperanza, a chapel from the 17th century. Adorned with images of Nuestra Señora de la Esperanza and San Antón, this sanctuary forms part of the remains of the old Arab castle of Sedella.
It is worth checking out the public wash house located at the entrance to the village. This spot was once the epicentre of social life.
The best way to get there from Málaga is to drive along the E-15, with the journey taking about one hour and 12 minutes.
Sedella is one of the entry points to the Parque Natural de las Sierras de Tejeda, Almijara y Alhama, which is sure to amaze visitors with its extraordinarily rich landscapes and ecology. This is the habitat of one of the largest mountain goat populations in Spain. It is also the perfect place to get lost among the trees, rocky outcrops, rivers and streams. Its total surface area is 40,670 hectares and altitudes oscillate between 300 and 2,065 metres.
For hiking and adventure sport enthusiasts, the surrounding areas include appealing mountain passes, caves, trails and peaks such as Salto del Caballo, Cueva Horeada, Camino de Arrieros or Pico de la Maroma. The municipality also has three streams, two of which join together at Cerillales de la Fuente, forming the Sedella river.
In January, the fiestas in honour of San Antón mark the beginning of Sedella"s commemorative calendar. The religious procession and traditional blessing of the animals lead into the popular open-air dance and horse races on the village streets.
The most peculiar occurrence during Holy Week in Sedella takes place on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday when the villagers are called to mass to the sound of traditional instruments called carracas. Early in the morning on the Day of Resurrection, gun salutes and fire crackers fill the air.
During the Feast of Corpus Christi, Sedella holds the procession of Santa Custodia. The village streets are decorated with flower-lined carpets on which residents place their homemade altars.
With August comes the time for the fiestas in honour of the Virgen de la Esperanza, during which there are plenty of games, contests, sporting competitions and musical shows. The procession of the patron saint of Sedella is the most touching moment of all the festivities.
The most typical dishes of the local gastronomy are potaje de hinojos (fennel stew), choto al vino (kid goat with wine sauce) and chivo al ajillo (goat with garlic sauce). In Sedella you can also try migas (a simple yet delicious dish made with toasted bread and fried pork cuts) and parpuchas (cod fritters with cane syrup). This Axarquía village also produces its very own delicious sweet, dry and semi-sweet wines.
As for traditional pastries, the highlight is roscos tontos, a sweet with an unmistakeable Arab origin.
Coins, pottery and other archaeological evidence found in the area suggest that Sedella was a place of Phoenician and Roman settlements. The Romans are believed to have coined the name of the village, from the Latin word sedilia, meaning "country estate" (Early Roman Empire). Before the Arabs, the village was already being called "Sedille", as attested by a seventh-century map.
The Arabs changed the name to "Xedalia". In 1487, Sedella fell to the power of the Christian troops and became known as "Villa Castillo", courtesy of the fort adjoining the town centre. This fort became the home of the Lord of the village, Diego Fernández de Córdoba, who got this title as a reward from the Catholic Monarchs for his service in the military campaign. In 1543, the town mayor, Gabriel de Coalla, acquired the Lordship. He had bought the village for 30,000 maravedís, taking advantage of the monarchy"s fundraising campaign for the war.
In the sixteenth century, Sedella was one of the earliest foci of rebellion against the Christian rulers when a monfí (Moorish outlaw) became the leader of a rioting group. The rebels were crushed in 1569 with the tragic battle of the Frigiliana Rock, where the troops commanded by Luis de Requesens emerged victorious. Two years later, King Philip II had the Muslims expelled. As a result, the village was almost empty, so old Christians were transferred from La Mancha and Carmona.
In December 1884, an earthquake shook Axarquía and destroyed part of Sedella. Fortunately, there were no casualties. The village received reconstruction aid for 19,000 pesetas.
Legend has it…: The name "Sedella"
Popular legend traces the village"s current name back to the times of the Reconquista. Queen Isabella of Castile was reported to refer to a clash between the Muslims and the Catholics in Arroyo de la Matanza with the words, "Sé de ella" ("I know about it"). Pronunciation did the rest, blending the words together.
Local dishes are fennel stew, choto in wine and garlic kid goat. Other dishes include the migas and parpuchas, cod cakes with molasses. This town also produces a delicious sweet, dry and semi-dry wine. Among the desserts, the roscos tontos, a sweet with Arab origins stand out.
- Inland area
- Inhabitants (501-1,000)