There is a white pearl hidden in the south of Spain that not many people know about. Located 58km away from the city of Malaga, between the Mediterranean Sea and the mountains, you can find Frigiliana, a small white town I visited some time ago and absolutely loved.
If you are in the area and you have time, I definitely recommend you to pay a visit. You can do a day trip from Malaga and you won’t regret it. You will get lost in the tight white streets filled with small restaurants, handicrafts shops, museums, churches and a lot of history.
The Old Town
The Old Town is where you have to go to discover the magic of this place. I loved walking around. Every corner is pure magic. The Old Town has an interesting history, especially if you are an art and history lover like I am. The town was growing around the primitive farmhouse. Already in prehistoric times, Frigiliana was inhabited, the archaeological signs testify it, however, from the urbanistic point of view it is purely Moorish, the layout of its streets, alleys, adarves, etc. is preserved.
The old town is located to the southwest of the slope of the hill that hosted the Arab castle and there far, at his feet, about three or four kilometres, the Mediterranean, sea. The Mudejar neighbourhood has a singular beauty, not found in any other municipality. Its adarves, where the lantern lit before the cross is a tradition that comes from the sixteenth century; The Hernando el Darra street with the Corralón, with its beautiful arch and the Tunnel. There is a magnificent viewpoint with great views of the new part. From the viewpoint, you can also see the mountains, the sea and the countryside. Don´t miss it as it will leave you breathless.
The streets Bitterness and High (Barribarto) that retain very old doors that explain the passage of time by the different hands of painting and by the locks, as has been changing the size of the key; The Zacatín, with its infinite steps; the alley of “Las Ávilas” (Santa Teresa of Avila), full of plants and flowers, gives way to the small square of the alley of the Church, Santo Cristo. The alley of the Church and the Souls with its tiny and secluded squares connected by the narrow Alley of the Inquisitor, a name that remembers the times when not following the precepts and standards was punished, sometimes even with the death.
Calle Real, with its artistic pavement, begins at Los Pósitos and ends at the Plaza de la Iglesia. It leads to narrow alleys and streets.
In “la Lomilla”, begins the street that goes to the ring road and The sports hall Villa de Frigiliana, and the alley of the Lord, where according to the tradition, the lanter in front of the cross, has never been turned off.
The Torreón, to the left of the entrance, is the birthplace of Antonio Navas, mayor of the town for many years, many of the improvements are due to his mayoralty. In front of the Torreón Town Hall, finally, we arrived at the Plaza de la Iglesia, a meeting place of locals.
TOP 6 PLACES TO SEE IN FRIGILIANA
–Palace of the Counts of Frigiliana (Palacio de los condes de Frigiliana)
One of the greatest peculiarities of this palace and of Frigiliana itself is that it has the only honey cane factory in Europe. Also known as “El Ingenio”, it was built in the XVI century following notoriously the Renaissance style. Niches, balconies and a sundial are part of the decoration of the interesting facade that has remained almost intact since its construction.
-Church San Antonio de Padua (Iglesia de San Antonio de Padua)
A church, built in the XVI century, whose facade doesn´t convey what it really hides inside. It is quite larger than it looks, even if from the outside looks small.
In whitewashed walls, the exterior of the building is still preserved intact since its constructions. Inside it hides the transition of religions in the history of Frigiliana.
What most attracted my attention is a showcase that is under the altar or shrine of the left cross, which renders worship to the Jesus of Nazareth. This showcase contains 12 Centennial masks, which represent the face of the 12 apostles who accompanied Jesus on Holy Thursday night.
These masks, in their day, were acquired by wealthy families who, during the Muslim occupation, had to hide them so that they were not destroyed. Little by little, with great effort, the church of Frigiliana has been recovering the masks, which are exposed in this case.
Every year, a member of the family who owns the mask parades with it in the processions of Holy Week, recreating even more (if possible) the religious scenes of the Bible times. And act in such a realistic and extreme way, that Judas, for example, only comes out on Holy Thursday.
-The Archeological Museum
A total of 125 pieces are found in this small but beautiful museum. All of the object were found in Frigiliana, and are exposed in chronological order to facilitate the understanding of the visitor. One of the highlights is the skull of a child, dated in the Neolithic, between the years 4000 and 5000 BC. Very interesting is also a Moorish dagger of the sixteenth century, found in the fort and perhaps used to cut off the life of some Christians during some important battles that took place there.
Particularly unique are the Phoenician vessels because of their good state of conservation, as well as their characteristics and designs.
-The old fountain (La Fuente Vieja)
Built in the XVII century by the fifth Lord of Frigiliana, the fountain bears his coat of arms. The fountain can be found in Plaza de la Fuente Vieja.
-Ecce-Homo Hermitage (Hermita Ecce-Homo)
A small hermitage built honoring the Christ of the cane dates from the XIX century.
Is a pit on a farm that was used to store grain and fodder in the years of good harvest, or distribute it in the years of bad harvest. It´s believed it was built during the XVII century. Nowadays the brick arcades and the basements are still well preserved.
WHAT TO EAT
You can´t miss the amazing cuisine that Frigiliana has to offer. As mentioned before, the only honey cane factory in Europe is located here so is not wonder why is the main ingredient in many of its recipes. A collection of products based on the honey like the arropia, a fried plate elaborated with honey cane and bicarbonate, the sweet potato with honey, the cakes of San Juan, The frames and the Muscat wine.
In addition, they are typical dishes like Las Migas, a dish prepared with pieces of bread dampened in water and fried in oil or fat with other ingredients and seasoning, usually bacon and garlic. Is a typical dish in many different Spanish regions, varying in each one the type and quantity of ingredients.
-Choto in almonds sauce, chicken or other meat covered in this delicious sauce.
THE HONEY CANE
The sugar cane honey “Ingenio Ntra. Sra. Del Carmen”, is 75 years old. Its factory in Frigiliana continues with the tradition of the elaboration of the honey, that was introduced by the Arabs in Spain, from the sugar cane. It is a complete food and rich in glucose, sucrose, proteins, calcium salts, ferric salts, vitamin B and other minerals.
You can buy this “souvenir” in many shops around the Old Town.
HOW TO GET THERE
The cheapest and fastest option to get there is by bus. By the time I went there, only one bus a day was covering the route, leaving at 9,30am and arriving 10,30am, and leaving back to Malaga at 8,30pm arriving at 9,30pm. Price was 10€ both ways.
For me was one of the most beautiful and charming towns I visited in the area. A hidden pearl that not many know about.
Follow the author: