Valle de Abdalajís is a picture postcard white mountain village on the southern border of Antequera region, overlooked by a huge rock face and the mountain range of the same name. In the other direction the scenery is somewhat gentler, but no less pretty, with hillsides covered with olive trees and fields of cereals.
Water abounds in the municipality, earning it the nickname ‘paradise of springs.’ The fertility of the land around the village means agriculture has been the lynchpin of the local economy for hundreds of years, and specifically the cultivation of oats, wheat, barley, almonds and olives.
In recent years however tourism has becoming increasingly important. Partly with this in mind, there has been significant investment in basic infrastructure in recent years, including improvements to roads and the installation of signposts. There have also been notable efforts to smarten up the village.
Valle de Abdalajís is positioned in a natural pass between the Guadalhorce valley and Málaga and the Antequera plain. Its strategic location has meant there have been settlements in the area since prehistoric times. Phoenician, Greek and Roman remains have been found; the discovery of a Roman villa in 1981 points to evidence of the existence of the old Roman town of Neskania.
Another remnant from the Roman period is ‘La Peana’ – the pedestal of a statue dating back to 104AD and with an inscription dedicated to Caesar Trajano in Neskania, which was taken from the villa to the ‘Arc of Antequeras’ Giants’ in 1585 on the orders of the Magistrate of Antequera, Juan Porcel de Peralto, but which now stands in the Plaza de San Lorenzo in Valle de Abdalajís.
The name of the village is believed to derive from the Moor, Abd-el-Aziz, and Valle de Abdalajís’ Moorish origins are clearly evident in the maze of narrow, winding streets and typical one or two-storey, white-washed house, some with internal patios and areas where animals were kept, in the oldest and highest part of the village.
The Moors built a number of fortifications when they arrived in Valle de Abdalajís, although nothing remains of the castles today.
The village as it exists now began to be established in the 16th century after the Reconquest, and there are a number of buildings still standing from this period, the ‘Posada’, or inn, in calle Real among them. Believed to be one of the oldest buildings in Valle de Abdalajís, the Posada has been fully restored.
There are a number of other examples of 16th century architecture close by, including the well preserved Palacio de los Condes de Corbo. Also of interest are the San Lorenzo Parish Church in Calle Pio XII, which was built in 1559 and then reformed in the 18th century, and the 19th century Madre Petra Convent in Calle Madre Petra, which is now an old peoples’ home.
For impressive bird’s eye views of the village it’s worth going up to the Cristo de la Sierra hermitage on the side of El Picacho, accessed from Calle Calvario, which was built in the 1950s. And for all-round panaramic views of the municipality go on up even further to the Gangarro viewing point.
Valle de Abdalajís offers outdoor types plenty of activities, including hiking, mountain biking and climbing. And for a really uplifting experience, you could always try hang gliding.
Valle de Abdalajís is known as the ‘capital of flight’, the meteorological conditions and thermal currents, as well as the outstanding panoramic views, making this the perfect area for free flying all year round, whether wing delta or para-gliding.