A plan to enhance the cultural patrimony of La Axarquía
In 2010 the historical landmarks of La Axarquía will be the target of an impressive restoration and enhancement project as part of the Assembly of Andalusia’s Sustainable Tourism initiative. A total of sixteen projects are planned in as many municipalities in the region. Most are directly concerned with improving the state of preservation of historical landmarks and archaeological sites in La Axarquia.
One of the most important projects is that to restore the El Águila Aqueduct in the municipality of Nerja. This impressive infrastructure was built in the late nineteenth century to carry water to the old sugar mill in Maro. The enormous red brick structure was completed in 1880 and was a work by the local architect Francisco Cantarero. It still brings water from the eastern edge of the municipal sub-district of Maro to the fertile irrigated lowlands of Tetuán.
This landmark was designated a Property of Cultural Interest (BIC, in Spanish), but several of its arches are badly deteriorated. Until 2005 it belonged to the Sociedad Azucarera Larios sugar company, which donated it for the token sum of one peseta to the Nerja Town Hall. Since then the need for its restoration has been considered, and it will become a reality this year as part of the planned investment of 4.3 million euro in the aforementioned Sustainable Tourism Plan. This specific project will cost about 800,000 euro, of which 70% will be provided by the Assembly of Andalusia as in the case of the other works to be performed and the remaining 30% by the various town halls.
Another of the more ambitious projects will be the construction of a learning centre at the Roman ruins of Faro de Torrox, which date from the first century BC to the third century AD.
During the Roman Era there was an important settlement called Clavicum in the vicinity of the mouth of the River Torrox. The ruins of thermal baths and a necropolis and several dwellings and ovens and facilities for producing garum and salted fish have been preserved.
The project has a total budget of more than 600,000 euros and includes construction of a learning centre in this setting as well restoring, protecting and highlighting the archaeological remains.
The Sustainable Tourism Plan also includes the creation of a 10.6-kilometre “Camino de Cornisa” (Rim Road) over the slopes of the La Axarquía Mountains to connect the municipalities of Iznate, Macharaviaya, Moclinejo, El Borge, Almáchar and Vélez- Málaga. In addition to this road a series of scenic overlooks will be built in villages in the interior of the region, with the South Overlook in Moclinejo and the overlooks of La Peña in Periana, Puerta de la Martina in Iznate and La Vendimia in Cómpeta.
As far as strictly historical and cultural heritage is concerned, there will be actions to highlight the attractions of the El Cantal Cave and the Mediterranean Archaeological Park in Rincón de la Victoria. Completion of the Vélez-Málaga archaeological and monumental complex, which dates from the ninth and tenth centuries, will also receive top priority.
In Macharaviaya, which is very close to the city of Málaga and was the birthplace of Bernardo de Gálvez, the Viceroy of New Spain, a remarkable project will be carried out to restore the public fountains that were sponsored by this illustrious native son. The specific fountains and springs that work is planned on are those of El Horno, Fuente de Abajo, El Pilar de Arriba and an area of thermal springs along the river.
Another aspect worthy of special note in this plan is the revitalization and improvement of the historical districts of a number of municipalities in the interior of La Axarquía, including Alfarnate, Totalán y Salares. The improvements to be made at the site of the sixteenth century San Sebastián Hermitage in Algarrobo close out this list of projects.
La Axarquía now boasts its first visitor welcoming centre
Since early last summer the La Axarquía region on the eastern Costa del Sol has had its first visitor welcoming centre, in the area of the La Viñuela Reservoir. This was one of the projects carried out in the eastern part of the province with funding from the regional development plan promoted by the Malaga Provincial Delegation along with the Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Commerce and the Assembly of Andalusia’s Council of Tourism, Commerce and Sports. With a budget of more than four million Euros, it enabled numerous actions to foster and improve the quality of tourist services, develop the natural and urban environments, augment and diversify products and guarantee sustainability of the territory’s natural resources.
This new service centre is located in the municipality of La Viñuela, whose Town Hall is responsible for operating it. It lies next to the recreational zone at the reservoir and will serve the dual purpose of attending to tourists while offering information about all the towns in the region.