Archidona

Situated to the north of the province and at a distance of about 50 km. from the Málaga capital, Archidona stretches by the side of the “Sierra de Gracia”, which dominates the vast fields at its dot.

lthough at present, its population exceeds 10.000 inhabitants, the population boom of the sixties provoked a substantial emigration towards other more developed cities in northern Spain and Europe.

The local economy is based on a modest cattle-breeding business, an incipient industry and, above all, the olive grove crops, which produce an olive oil of excellent quality.

In order to learn about the historical origins of the town, we have to go back to the old “Escua de los Túrdulos”, a punic word which means “Principal Head”. The name was later arabized, resulting in the name of Arjiduna. It is precisely during the time of its muslim naming when Archidona reaches its moment of greatest splendour, becoming the capital of the Rayya region (equivalent to what is nowadays the Province of Málaga). After some years of turbulent uprisings and revolts, the capital of the region is passed on to Málaga during the period of the reign of Taifas, iniciating a gradual decadence which would culminate with the conquest of the castle on 28th July 1462 by Don Pedro Téllez Girón, “Gran Maestre de Calatrava”.

Once peace was installed to the region and after the conquest of the Arabic Kingdom of Granada, the city would expand beyond the walls that enclose the upper part of the town area and would extend towards the foot of the hill, constituting the origin of its present position.

Archidona maintains rich, historical and artistic heritages, headed by its majestic castle and its well preserved walls; the shrines of “La Virgen de Gracia” and “San Antonio”, the church of “Santa Ana”, the building of “La Cilla”. The convents of “Santo Domingo” and “Las Monjas Mínimas”, “La Plaza Ochavada”…

Three dates stand out in the city’s calendar of festivities: The February Carnaval, Holy Week in Spring and the local festivities in August, all of which have great popular appeal.

In its cuisine we find numerous delicacies: the Moorish casserole, the egg stew, “la porra archidonesa”, the ochavada soup and the must or grape- juice pap. From its confectionery, the fried doughnuts, “pestiños”, “los aceitados” and the butter- based bread rolls are its main offerings.