This small white village, embedded in the mountain range of the same name, is found in
one of the most enviable locations at the western end of the Lecrín valley. The people
are hospitable and friendly, inhabiting the three barrios of Alto, Bajo and La Loma.
Streets are narrow and filled with their medieval history and unique picturesque corners;
a stroll through the barrios fills one with the murmur of the nearby river accompanied
in the Spring by scents of jasmine, orange blossoms and lilies as well as the beauty
of abundant almond blossoms. Daily life moves at a slow pace here and much of the old
ways are still existent: farm animals (mules, chickens, pigs, turkeys) and pets (dogs and cats)
live in the lower floors of village houses; at summer´s end, balconies are filled with chillies
and tomatoes drying while at the start of the year, hams and sausages are cured. Meanwhile,
ceramic pots filled with bougainvillea, jasmine, carnations and geraniums fill the same
balconies with a flurry of color from Spring through Autumn. The old craft of plaiting
esparto grass into baskets is still practiced today, juxtaposed by the rumble of trucks
delivering bread, fish and supplies and the smell of freshly baked bread in the air.
For those preferring the mountain range, the Sierra de Albuñuelas is indeed the "Lungs of
the Lecrín Valley " (Pulmón del Valle de Lecrín). The land is replete with pines,
olive trees, wild flowers and aromatic,medicinal plants and natural springs. Thanks
to its lush vegetation, the area is also a natural reserve for numerous wild animals
such as pheasant, doves, rabbit, wild boar, deer, thrushes, and mountain goats.
It is thus not difficult to understand why this majestic natural setting, clothed in
its mild Mediterranean climate, attracts various sports to be enjoyed: paragliding,
rock and mountain climbing, speleology, fishing, mountain biking, hiking and riding
horseback on the numerous rural pathways.
The name Albuñuelas is derived from the Arabic and signifies "Pretty Thing" or "abundance, while the name Lecrín Valley comes from the Arabic "Valley of Happiness." Caves discovered within the heart of the town indicate the existence of humans in prehistoric times. Dating back to the 10th and 11th centuries, this was the ancient route of the Arab traders taking them from the Mediterranean coast to parts inland. In the 16th Century, there was strong resistance to the reconquest by the Catholic Kings (Reyes Católicos), but with their advent, Albuñuelas reached it maximum splendor, evidenced today in the archives and architecture of some houses. Unfortunately for us today, an earthquake in 1884 destroyed about 360 buildings and over 100 lives were lost.
Today, Albuñuelas continues to be a quaint Spanish mountain village, still blessed by its remarkable climate and topography. It is a frequent stop along the way by hikers, wanderers, and sports-loving tourists who can enjoy her local cuisine. Especially favored dishes are those of goat, stews, tortillas, home-made cheeses, olive oil and local sweets and desserts.
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