Almachar is a town in the county of Axarquia built on a hill with rivers on two sides. This white village and its winding streets, which follow the slopes of the terrain, evoke the towns Al-Andalus past.
Known for its fine quality currants, Almachar is also the home of the ajoblanco - a cold soup based on olive oil, garlic and almonds - one of the symbols of the county's gastronomy and of the entire province of Malaga. A unique festival is held every September In tribute to this famous soup.
MUST-SEE SIGHTS IN ALMACHAR
MONUMENTS AND BUILDINGS
Of special interest are the gardens of El Forte, above all for the panoramic views it offers. From this vantage point one can take in the view of the river Almachar and the entrance to the Cueva del Moro. According to a local legend, this cave conceals a treasure hidden by the Moriscos.
In the Plaza del Santo Cristo is the Museo de la Pasa, which invites us to learn about the process of one of Almáchar's most classic products. The museum has information panels and a collection of old utensils and tools.
The Las Cabras quarter, also in the old town of Almachar, is the best example of Arab-inspired town planning. Passageways, steps, and cobbled hallways alternate between the winding streets, edged with white facades decorated with flowers. The calle de los Mártires, which runs alongside the church of San Mateo, is one of the most picturesque places in the town.
Built in the 16th century, it stands in the centre of Almachar. The church blends the late Gothic and Renaissance styles, although its tower is mudejar In two rococo alcoves one can see the images of La Dolorosa and the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and together with the central altarpiece, the venerated Cristo de la Banda Verde.
The fastest and most direct route to Almáchar from Malaga is via the A-7. Take the exit for Benagalbón and then continue along the MA-3200, MA-3119 and MA-3114 until you get to Almáchar.
It will take you about 45 minutes to drive the 35 kilometres.
The vineyard-covered hillsides are the characteristic feature of Almachar's landscape, interspersed with orchards, cornfields, olive groves and almond trees. Nestled in the Axarquía, this municipality stands out for its traditional cabins where the graves are sun-dried to become currants.
Almachar is an essential point on the trail that traces this product. This is the Ruta de la Pasa, which winds its way through six towns in the county, all of which are closely associated with vine growing.
Over the first weekend of September, Almachar hosts the Fiesta del Ajoblanco to pay tribute to this centrepiece of its cuisine. Declared of Natural Interest of Andalusia, this celebration includes tasting, exhibitions, depictions of the rural world and performances of troupes of verdiales and flamenco musicians and dancers.
The other major event of the year is the festival in honour of the Santo Cristo de la Banda Verde, an image of great devotion in Almachar. Following the religious procession of the ""town's protector"", the bands arrive to fill the town's streets with music, dancing and fun.
Other popular events in this Axarquia town are Carnival, the mid-year Cultural Week and the Pastoral Singing Contest in December. Worthy of special mention is the Romería de San Isidro, held in the countryside in May, and the fair in honour of Nuestra Señora del Amparo, at the end of July.
Almachar also stages the musical cycle called the Reviso Flamenco, in the months of May and June.
Although no other dish better represents Almachar's gastronomy than the ajoblanco, a cold soup made from crushed almonds, olive oil and garlic. Also traditional are gazpacho (the cold soup made from tomatoes and other vegetables), fritillo gitano (chunks of pork cooked in a vegetable sautee), roast pepper salad and berzas (cabbage). No traditional menu would be complete without the so-called yellow soups (made with pumpkin and carrot, generally), maimones (garlic soup) and bacalao con naranja (cod with orange), which are a perfect match for the local wine.
You can't leave Almachar without tasting the designation of origin muscatel wine grape and the sub-tropical fruits that have been grown in this municipality for some years.
The origins of Almáchar can be found in the settlements recorded in this part of La Axarquía during the period of Muslim domination. Its Arabic past is reflected in the urban layout of its roads and its name, which comes from Maysar or Machar, meaning "land of meadows". It was one of the Four Villages that, together with Cútar,El Borge and Moclinejo, lived in the shadow of Comares" protective castle. In fact, it depended on Comares even after the Christian reconquest of the area in 1487. The cession of the finest lands in this outlying area to 64 Christian commoners four years later sparked feelings of unease and led some of the Moriscos to abandon the village.
These lands had been highly prized since ancient times on account of their fertility and the lexia raisins made there. In 1556, Almáchar and El Borge took off as the highest producing areas for these raisins. Two hundred years later, the locality suffered a series of seismic movements that forced the inhabitants to leave their homes and seek refuge in nearby country estates.
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the village of Almáchar was famous in this region and elsewhere for the quality of the canvases made in its artisan looms. The destruction of the parish archive in the Civil War meant that part of the village"s documented history was lost forever to the flames. However, there are still written testimonies dating from 1537 and 1573, when the first christening and the first religious marriage took place in the village.
Legend has it that a cave by the River Almáchar guards a fabulous treasure buried by the Moriscos who fled from these lands following the Christian invasion. Another popular tale tells that the venerated Christ of the Green Band saved sailors from certain death when their ship was wrecked. The survivors searched for the image of Christ in every village until they found it in Almáchar. To show their gratitude, they presented the village with two silver lamps.
In addition to its most famous product – the raisin – Almáchar is also considered the birthplace of ajoblanco, the dish that best represents the village’s culinary tradition. Homage is paid to the cold soup made from almonds, olive oil and garlic in the village each September with a special festival in its name.
Other dishes in the traditional cookbook are gazpacho, fritillo gitano, roasted red pepper salad, cabbage, sopas amarillas, maimones and cod with orange. All these dishes pair perfectly with the local wine.
You mustn’t leave Almáchar without enjoying a glass of its designated origin muscatel wine and tasting the subtropical fruits grown in the municipality.
- Inhabitants (1,001-2,500)
- Inland area