The while village Pujerra is located at the top of the Valle del Genal, 770 meters above sea level. This municipality encapsulates all the charm of Andalusia together with the ecological riches of the Serranía de Ronda. Walking along its streets, you can feel centuries of history: old architecture, with steep vertical streets, and newer forms combine, taking you on a journey through the history of the province. According to several experts, Pujerra dates back to the 2nd century.
THERE'S NO GETTING LOST IN PUJERRA
Pujerra also forms part of the Ruta de Fray Leopoldo, an itinerary named after the most venerated saint in Andalusia. This rural tourist route passes though the municipalities of Alpandeire, Júzcar, Igualeja, Cartajima and Faraján. Pujerra is filled with trails through lush forests that are sure to delight hiking and active tourism enthusiasts.
Due to the abundance of chestnut trees in the municipality and the importance of this product in the local gastronomy, Pujerra is home to the Museo de la Castaña. Here visitors can learn about objects and ways of life from the 18th century, as well as techniques and tools used for harvesting chestnuts.
When you arrive to the main square in Pujerra, you"ll see the Iglesia del Espíritu Santo. Built in the 16th century, this church is home to the image of San Antonio de Padua, the local patron saint. It is one of the most emblematic buildings in Pujerra. You"ll have the chance to observe its curious façade and the baroque bell town built on one of the corners. Just a few kilometres from this religious site is the San Antonio de Padua chapel, a popular spot among residents.
In the placilla vieja (old small plaza), you"ll come across the bust of King Wamba, erected in 2006 to honour the legend that this Visigoth ruler is originally from Pujerra.
Pujerra is about 110 kilometres from Málaga. Take the A-7 motorway towards San Pedro de Alcántara. Then take the A-397 towards Ronda and then the MA-527 until you reach town.
Pine and chestnut forests will give you a warm welcome as you approach Pujerra. This municipality in the Serranía de Ronda is situated between the Sierra Bermeja and the Valle del Genal.
In summer, the chestnut forests are a sight to be seen, providing shade with their splendid green leaves. If you like hiking, from Pujerra there are several routes and trails to nearby municipalities that you can enjoy on foot or by bike. We also recommend that you climb Guaitará mountain. With an altitude of 958 metres, the views of the region are unparalleled.
The most important fiestas in this municipality in Malaga are in held in honour of San Antonio de Padua and Virgen de Fátima, the village"s patron saints. The first is celebrated in June with food, fun activities and open-air orchestras. Virgen de Fátima is in October, coinciding with the Fiesta de la Castaña (Chestnut Festival). Residents prepare different recipes, sweets and products using this typical local fruit.
During Holy Week, Pujerra celebrates the unique traditions of the Niño del Huerto (Baby of the Vegetable Garden) and the Quema del Judas (Burning of Judas). On the Day of Resurrection, the locals build a hut in which they stage the meeting between baby Jesus and the Virgin, and then a puppet is burnt as revenge for the apostle"s betrayal.
Over the centuries, Pujerra"s traditional gastronomy has always had a knack for combining local seasonal products to provide a rich balanced diet. The local dried chestnuts are of exceptional quality. The villagers either eat them roasted or use them as the basic ingredient in many different recipes, such as croquettes, rice dishes, stews and sweets.
The highlights of the local culinary tradition are warm gazpacho and migas during the winter, and fresh gazpacho in the summertime. At any time of year, you"ll be able to try the olla, a popular dish cooked with chickpeas, vegetables and a little bit of blood sausage, chorizo and pork loin. To accompany your meal, grape juice and mistelle are the two refreshments that you"re sure to find in the home of any local. You can"t leave Pujerra without trying the buñuelos (sweet fritters) and roscos (doughnuts).
There is very little evidence of Pujerra"s foundation and development. No big events took place in this village in Serranía de Ronda either. A Muslim village known as "Bentamín" was reported to exist in the area before the Reconquista, but it just disappeared afterwards. Some historians mention another remote village, Cenay, where you can see the ruins of Molino de Capilla (Chapel Mill) today. Legend has it that is was here that Wamb lived before being crowned king.
Scholars believe Pujerra"s fate was similar to that of other villages in the region. Its current layout reveals its Islamic past. Many house façades, however, bear christograms (they symbol of early Christian tombs), which could mean that the area had been converted to Christianity before the arrival of the Arabs.
In historical documents, Pujerra is cited as "Poxera", "Puxerra", even "Pugerra". The name could be linked to "Alpujarra", but the evidence is not strong enough to prove the hypothesis correct. In the eighteenth century, the local economy was based on agriculture and mining. In 1814, King Ferdinand VII granted Pujerra the title of village, as a reward to the brave behaviour of the population during the French invasion.
Legend has it…: King Wamba
Upon the death of the King Reccesswinth, the throne of Visigothic Spain was vacant. The council of elders came to the conclusion that the successor had to be a shepherd from Pujerra called "Wamba". A retinue of political and religious authorities came to meet him, finding him by the old mill.
At first, Wamba declined, saying he was too old and illiterate. But the men insisted, invoking the will of God. Wamba replied, "When this stick I"m holding blossoms, I"ll become King of Spain." As soon as he drove the stick to the ground, it got green with leaves and flowers. This is how he became the King of the Visigoths.
Well into the twenty-first century, the forests of chestnut trees still play a key economic, environmental and cultural role in Pujerra and Serranía de Ronda at large. They lose their leaves seasonally in winter, only to blossom again in spring. The flowers appear in June and form four-lobed calybiums, which ultimately grow completely together to make the brown hull, or husk, covering the fruits. The fruits are contained in spiny (very sharp) cupule, also called "burs" or "burrs". Around the time the fruits reach maturity, the burs turn yellow-brown and split open in two or four sections. Expert hands are needed to remove the fruits.
Chestnuts are picked up in November, which gives rise to traditional cookouts and associated festivals, known as "tostones". In Pujerra and other, neighbouring villages, they roast the chestnuts and eat them, washing them down with anise liqueur, eau-de-vie or other spirits. At present, chestnut groves cover 4,000ha in the Genal valley.
The local pilonga chestnut is of excellent quality. Locals will roast them and include them in a variety of dishes, like croquettes, rice, stews or sweets. You can also enjoy the olla stew, a popular dish with chickpeas, vegetables and some blood sausage, chorizo ??and pieces of pork loin. People will drink must and mistela, the obligatory drinks you'll have in any local household.
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