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|HISTORY AND LANDSCAPEThe lands of Torrox mainly extend through the Torrox valley. In the northern extreme they narrow with the valley, flanked by the Coscoja mountains (545 m.) and the Rávita de Torrox mountains (696 m.), which mark the roof of the municipality, but on exiting the domains of the Loma de la Rávita hills the municipal district widens to extend over two other hollows: the Seco river to the east, and the Manzano brook to the west, the former being separated from the Torrox river by the Gordo and Pastora hills, and the latter by the Palagares and Dehesa hills.The bottoms of the valleys are generally covered by plots which offer a strong contrast with the hillsides of the surroundings which are covered with olives and vines, or in their absence with thickets and pastures.The plots to the north of Torrox, in the Torrox valley, present a special scenic attraction, as the plots on the banks of the rivers are joined by others which climb the steep hillsides of the nearby hills in terraces, forming huge green ‘staircases’ of vegetables and fruits among which there are subtropical crops. When the valleys open up to the coast, the agricultural landscape extends from east to west of the municipality, but here, the hard competition of the touristic exploitation reflects the forced crops by means of greenhouses, a system which allows the sale of high market value products for being on offer out of season. The result of all this is a strange panorama in which the plastics of the greenhouses cohabitate with the coastal touristic development, contrasting with the beautiful landmarks offered by the interior of the municipality and especially in the town of Torrox.To the north of the village in the area of Los Caserones, neolithical remains have been found, but it is posible that the moment in which these lands began to meet an important population presence was during the time of the colonizations.The existance of a Phoenician nucleus near the coast seems to be documentally confirmed. Nevertheless, the first important historical traces correspond to the Roman era. In the area of Punta de Torrox, next to the lighthouse and the mouth of the Torrox river, ruins of many houses, a necropolis and baths have been found. Parts of a mosaic from this place are in the museum in Malaga and others are exhibited in Barcelona, where there are also numerous ornamental objects and household objects found in this necropolis. This site corresponds to the Roman town of Clavicum or Caviclum, founded in the 1st century and which was inhabited until the 8th century, as visigode coins have been found there too.During the Arab rule it acquired considerable importance, outstanding as a handicraft and commercial centre in the trade of silks and dyes.Two days after the taking of Velez by Fernando el Catolico in 1487, the villa and farmstead surrendered, nevertheless, the following year it was conquered by the leader El-Zagal and returns to the catholic king’s hands that same year, receiving the title of “very noble and very royal village”.After the events of the Moorish uprising, Tolox had a special importance, the economy was very affected and the abandonment of the eight Arabic towns began, which existed in what is today the municipal district: Alhandiga, Almeida, Arcos, Benamayor, Cajanja, Lantín, Lugarejo and Periana (which was a different one to the present Periana).
Places to Visit
The Roman remains found in the coastal area of the lighthouse. There are the remains of a village, a necropolis, baths, basins and common kilns.
In the town, of Arabic origin, there are the remains of turrets and walls. The urban structure of Torrox is totally Moorish, with narrow, steep and windy streets, and steps. There we can find unexpected corners with the typical contrast between the whitewashed walls and the flower filled pots.
The church of the Encarnacion is interesting, built over the mosque in the 16th century, although it was reformed in the 17th century. It has a baroque structure, three naves, as well as a square based tower.
It is also worth visiting the church of San Roque, from the 16th century, and the chapel of Nuestra Señora de las Nieves, from the same century and in Mudejar style, founded by the Padres Mínimos de San Francisco. An exponent of the ancient commercial splendour of the city, is the Aduana or Casa de la Moneda, from the 18th century.
The Casa de la Cultura (culture centre), erected in 1863, housed the king Alfonso XII during a visit he made becuase of the earthquake which afflicted a part of the Axarquía. The hospital of San José is in ruins and only conserves its facade.
The old craftsmen are trying to make their art endure through young apprentices. There are craftsmen who work with lace, leather and wood, but above all there are works with cane, esparto grass, and textiles for domestic use.
Many of the dishes which are typical of the Axarquía, receive a special touch in Torrox, as with the ‘migas’ breadcrumbs fried with garlic, ‘gachas’ porridge, ‘maimones’ bread and oil soup, ‘patata o lo pobre’ which literally means poor potatoes, ‘ajoblanco’ cold soup, etc. There is also ‘zoque’ or ‘gazpacho de tomate’ cold soup, and the ‘ensaladilla ariero’ literally muleteer salad.
On the coast there is the more common sardine kebabs. Among the sweets there are ‘buñuelos de viento’ sticky buns, and ‘arropía’ syrup. The wines of the terrain are very famous: one is medium-dry, and another is called “aguapié”, which has less alcohol.
FESTIVITIES AND TRADITIONS
The festivity of the Virgen de las Nieves is celebrated in August, and San Roque in October. Between the 7th and 8th of September they celebrate Candlmas: they light candles in the country house. A month later, from the 4th to the 7th of October the major festivities of the municipality take place.
The festivity of the ‘Migas’ and the terrain’s wines has been turned into a modern tradition, being celebrated the Sunday before Christmas. On the 24th of June they burn the “juas”, a day in which the people keep the tradition of going to the town’s fountain to wet their head and ask for three wishes. The May Crosses take place on the 2nd and 3rd of May and the Carnival is celebrated on the last week of February.
Finally, there is the Easter, a tradition which is celebrated with the same devotion as in other towns of the Axarquía.