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Costa del Sol Guide - Nerja

Nerja Information

Nerja is the easternmost municipality in the province of Malaga, lying between the foothills of the Sierra Almijara and the coast. There are two main areas of population: the town of Nerja itself and the little hamlet of Maro. At the entrance to the town of Nerja from the western end, on the N-340 main road, there stands a sculpture by Aurelio Teno known as the Rapto de Europa (the abduction of Europe), which was set up to commemorate Spain's entry into the European Community in January 1986. At the southern tip of the town a famous promontory, known as the Balcón de Europa, hangs over the sea. It was built on the spot occupied by the Guards' Tower in Moorish times and constituted the starting point for present-day Nerja, which began to develop as a settlement about 500 years ago, in the reign of Queen Juana la Loca (Joan the Mad). This was after the last Moors, who lived at the Castillo Alto farmstead in Naricha (the old name for Nerja), about two kilometres up the Frigiliana road, had finally left. One of the main historical buildings in the town is the Church of El Salvador, built at the end of the seventeenth century (1697) on the site of the old castle chapel.

Enlarged in 1770, it now houses a magnificent mural of the Incarnation on a Nerja beach by one of the great masters of new European painting, Francisco Hernández, and a bronze Christ, like the statue at the entrance to the town, by sculptor Aurelio Teno. The original atmosphere of an Andalusian Mediterranean village is preserved in the streets in the old part of the town. Another attractive feature is the Verano Azul (blue summer) Park - named after a TV series filmed here, which brought fame to the area - and the boat, El Dorado, belonging to the main character, "Chanquete". The River Miel flows out into the sea in this area, with an old paper mill standing near the mouth. It was built at the end of the eighteenth century by Manuel Centurión Guerrero de Torres, who was Governor General of the overseas province of Guayana in the reign of King Charles III. On the road between Nerja and Maro you will pass by a beautiful piece of engineering work, erected at the end of the nineteenth century. This is an aqueduct that was used to transport water from a spring in Maro to the San Joaquín de Maro sugar factory.

Map of Nerja

Map of Nerja

Nerja Caves is just one kilometre inland from here that Nerja's great natural wonder lay hidden for thousands of years - a huge cave, where music and dance festivals are held every summer. Designated a national monument, it is visited by over 500,000 people a year. The archaeological remains are among the most important in the western Mediterranean while the paintings span the period from the Aurignacian culture to the Copper Age. The dwelling of Cro-Magnon man, the cave is now home to a research institute. In winter, pot-holing is practiced here for organised groups.

The Church of El Salvador Built in 1697 over the ancient chapel of the Castle of Nerja (Balcón de Europa). Designed in the Mudéjar and late Baroque, it was enlarged in 1770. Inside there is a mural by the painter Francisco Hernández and a statue of Christ in bronze by the sculptor Aurelio Teno.

The Hermitage of Las Angustias is a shrine to Nuestra Señora de Angustias (Our Lady of Anxiety), completed at the beginning of the eighteenth century and first used in 1720. The outstanding feature here is some extremely beautiful frescoes on the subject of the Pentecost and attributed to the Granada school.

Acueducto del Aguila is a beautiful piece of engineering work, erected at the end of the nineteenth century, this aqueduct was built to transport water from a spring in Maro to the San Joaquín de Maro sugar factory. It can easily be seen from the N-340, before arriving at the autovía, close to the Nerja caves.

Nerja has 14.5 kilometres of coastline, with 12 delightful coves and beaches. One of the places worth visiting is the El Pinarillo at El Esparto Spring and Los Cahorros in the upper reaches of the River Chillar, in the Sierra Tejeda-Almijara Nature Park. There is a path for ramblers, which follows the River Chillar and takes about five hours. Pools of water remain in the river even in summer, and along the pathways one can find tropical plantations of avocados and chirimoyos
Pre-historic and Archaeological Museum. Nerja caves (Maro).

The fair, a great tradition in the town ever since 1804, is held in honour of the patron saint, Nuestra Señora de Angustias, between October 8th and 12th. Tourists, foreign residents and the local people all mingle at this event. The romería (semi-secular, semi-religious parade) for the feast of St Isidore the farm hand is held around May 15th and is one of the most eye-catching of all the local ones. It starts out from the Balcón de Europa and ends outside the cave, where a big country party is held attended by up to 10,000 people. There are many more special festivities but one that must be mentioned is the carnival. Lasting five days in February, it is one of the best on the Costa del Sol. The maritime procession in honour of the Virgen del Carmen is on July 16th. The festival of Maro in honour of San Antón is a century-old tradition, and in September there is the festival of the patron saint, Nuestra Señora de las Maravillas, where the townspeople congregate beside their Virgen de las Maravillas.

Maro, forming part of the municipality of Nerja, has some beautiful cliffs reaching almost to the province of Granada. Its origins go back to Roman times, when Detunda, as it was known in those days, lay between the nearby Roman towns of Sexi (present-day Almuñécar) and Clavicum (present-day Torrox), beside the Roman road from Cástulo (which was near present-day Linares in the province of Jaén) to Malaca (Malaga). Maro's little church is typical of those found in Mediterranean villages. At present, the cliffs of Maro are a very popular route to the beaches, one of which has a chiringuito (beach bar) and which can be reached by car. The other beaches are for the more adventurous types, and have to be reached on foot by signed pathways. Nudism is permitted on some of them but camping is prohibited.

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