Cartama is one of the most important towns in the administrative district of Guadalhorce as far as the conservation of historical heritage is concerned. Its population of more than 14.700 inhabitants is distributed between two urban centres: Cartama Pueblo and Cartama Estación, apart from the nine other rural centres.
Cártama is the main town in the Guadalhorce Valley and currently one of the fastest growing in the province of Malaga. It is an attractive traditional town lying on the south side of the Mijas Sierra and to the west of the river. It’s small with sime shops and other services. The main attractions are the old quarter and the Remedios shrine. Parking is difficult in the town.
Estación de Cártama lies on the east side of the river, some 3km from Cártama itself and is a busy and modern town, based around Cártama train station. Services are good and you can buy just about everything . There’s a large health centre and sports facilities. Sunland International School is just outside Estación de Cártama.
The castle-fortress of Cartama has been the privileged witness to the passing of different civilizations through these lands. The Phoenicians found at the top of El Cerro de la Virgen, a hill-fort which had been inhabited by the Iberians. During the time in which both civilizations were co-habiting the area, the primitive hill-fort was reformed and grew, emerging under its protection a city called Carth-Ma, which means hidden city and mother. The Romans, under the command of Marco Poncio, transform the hill-fort into a castle and extend its area; but however, it is under Arabic rule when the castle reaches the splendour with which we know it today. The final capture by the Christian troops takes place in 1485.
Apart from this silent witness to the town’s history worthy of visiting are the remains of an ancient Roman road and the Shrine of Ntra. Sra. De los Remedios, from the Seventeenth Century built on top of another original one from the fifteenth Century, from which time is also the image of the town’s Patron saint; the Church of San Pedro, which dates from 1502; and remains from the Roman era like the columns from the Second Century with the Cruz Humilladero placed at the town’s entrance, welcoming visitors to Cartama.
In April, Cártama Pueblo celebrates its festivities in honour of La Virgen de los Remedios, being Fiesta de Interes Turístico Nacional, whilst Cartama Estación celebrates, in mid-May its festivies in honour of San Isidro Labrador.
Cártama is currently experiencing property boom, mainly spurred on by the new dual-carriageway to Malaga, which has made the area very attractive to commuters from Malaga. Property prices have risen by as much as 50 % over the last year. New construction, mainly townhouses is intense around Cártama town and Estación de Cártama, although foreign buyers tend to prefer country properties.