Yunquera is a photogenic white village sitting on a high plateau overlooking a patchwork of fields and dramatic sierras.
In fact at 790 metres above sea level Yunquera is the highest village in Málaga province. But its climate is mild, and ideal for growing wine grapes, citrus fruits, olives and almonds.
This is still very much an agricultural area, but in common with many other of Málaga’s inland villages, Yunquera is beginning to attract the interest of northern European expatriates looking to invest in rural properties a reasonable distance from the hustle and bustle of the Costa del Sol.
Lying in one of only two natural passes through the eastern mountains of the Serranía de Ronda, and blessed with an abundance of water, it is hardly surprising man has inhabited the area around Yunquera for centuries.
There was a certainly a Roman settlement here, as the remains of a number of Roman villas and small houses and two bridges on the road to Ronda confirm. Historians believe the Roman settlement was called ‘Juncaria’, translating as ‘marsh’ or ‘meadow of reeds’, from where the village’s name stems. The layout and architecture of Yunquera are unmistakeably Moorish in origin however, typified by narrow streets of little white washed houses with tiled roofs.
At the end of the 9th and beginning of the 10th centuries, the village was part of the eastern Andaluz kingdom of Omar Ben Hafsun, a Christian convert to Islam, whose Bobastro castle stronghold is thought to have stood in or near the Serrania de Ronda. In 928 Bobastro fell following the defeat of Omar’s sons by Córdoban caliph, Abderraman III, and Yunquera became part of the Caliphate of Córdoba.
The village was captured by Diego de Barrasa on behalf of the Catholic Monarchs in 1485. By the mid-16th century the remaining Moslim converts to Christianity, or Moriscos, had been expelled and Yunquera was repopulated by 16 Christian families from Estepa in Seville.
The most important remnant of Yunquera’s Moorish past is the Mozarabic chapel, situated about half a kilometre outside the village on a hill next to the road to El Burgo and Ronda.
The most important site in the village itself is the 16th century Encarnación Parish Church, which was remodelled in the 17th century. It has three naves and a tall tower, the top of which is decorated in glazed ceramic tiles, and is the biggest church in the Sierra de las Nieves region.
Also of interest are the Abela and Viuda de Sola ancestral homes, dating from the 18th century.
There are various hermitages in Yunquera municipality. The hexagonal Cruz del Pobre hermitage, built in 1866, stands next to the cemetery. The Nuestra Señora de Porticate hermitage is five kilometres outside the village. Built in the 18th century, the building underwent extensive renovations in 1929.
The Sierra de las Nieves Natural Park is right on the village’s doorstep, a breathtakingly beautiful mountain area, from where there are amazing panoramic views of the Guadalhorce Valley, and plenty of opportunities for hiking.A completely renovated 16th century watchtower just outside Yunquera, known locally as ‘El Castillo’, serves as a visitors’ centre for the park and houses the tourist office.
Must-buys in the village are items made from esparto grass and wickerwork, and the excellent cold cured meats and hams.