La Malahá

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La Malahá is located at the foot of the mining hill of Montevives, between the Río Santapudia and the Río Salado rivers, whose waters were used in the salt mines. It is part of the municipality of Granada. Its name has changed a great deal over the centuries and has been called Malá, La Malá, La Malaha or La Malahá, and you will see all of these spellings, depending on what way you enter the town.

The Río Cacín that runs between impressive rocky ravines is close to the town. The streets have the quiet atmosphere of a rural village. Many wells are dotted around the labyrinthine streets, making it one of the most interesting and beautiful inland towns in Andalucía. To the north of the town you can visit the lovely area of the Baños (Baths), the spring of the healing waters set within a circular wall, the legacy of the Romans and Muslims. The open landscape before it reaches out to the plains of Granada.

Amid gently rolling hills, there are many fields and olive groves. La Malahá has a simple layout and its tidy districts all converge at the oldest part of town where the local church, the Iglesia Parroquial de la Purísima Concepción stands.

This region received a significant number of Arab settlers shortly after the Muslims settled in Spain. Quemple is its old name that comes from the Arabic tribe called the qaysíes, who arrived with Syrian troops led by General Baly in 740. It used to be part of the district called Ilbira, which was made up of a dozen farmsteads including La Malahá.

In the surrounding areas interesting Prehistoric remains were found showing that this place was inhabited during the Roman occupation, when the local salt mines were intensively mined. The Greeks called the town Malka and the Romans Misarza, (which means the mild valley or the relief of suffering) and created a spa here. After the Gothic period the town was called Mizarza, referring to the benefits of the spa’s thermal waters. Roman remains of a large and well preserved cistern, thermal baths and a necropolis still can be seen today. Its current-day name comes from the Arabic, Al-malaha, the salt mines. The Muslim settlers created a complex irrigation system here and developed the salt mining industry. At this time the town was quite important and had a population of more than 3000, many of whom were also involved in the production of silk.

The Malahá developed its salt, agricultural and forestry industries until the time of the Reconquista. The Catholic Monarchs handed over the rights to the salt mines to Moulay Abdallah ‘El Zagal’ when he surrendered Guadix and Almeria in 1489. For years, the town had many Muslim inhabitants who were later expelled after the revolts and were replaced by Christian settlers from other regions.

During the 19th century the town experienced an extraordinary boom because of the popularity of the spa.

The Malahá specialities include its traditional Puchero, Migas and Papas a lo Pobre (slow fried potatoes with peppers and onions). The local meats are also excellent.

For dessert you can enjoy doughnuts, Alfajores, cakes and biscuits. In winter and at Christmas it is worth trying the local Polverones and the Christmas Rocos.

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Information about the Municipality

Region: Granada and its surroundings
Postcode: 18130
Distance from Granada (km): 16
Number of inhabitants: 1679
People: Malaheños
Web: www.lamalaha.es

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Excursions

Iglesia parroquial de la Inmaculada Concepción

La Malahá

The parish church has a single nave with and an excellently preserved framework. It is dedicated to the cult of the Immaculate Conception. It was built in the 16th century and has certain Moorish elements and a timber framework. It [...]

Roman watchtower and bridge

La Malahá

This construction dates back to the Roman times. The bridge gives access to the municipality’s salt mine.

Capilla de San Vicente

La Malahá

This is a family house, otherwise known as the Casa del Santo (House of the Saint), located near the local parish church and in whose prayer room, supposedly, the mummified body of St Vicente is kept. There is a coat [...]

Thermal Arab baths

La Malahá

Situated in the outskirts of La Malahá, opposite the salt wells, lie the thermal Arab baths. The stone cupolas and the thermal swimming pool are still in good condition. The town’s heyday was in the Nasrid period, when it was [...]

Day of ‘Los Puchericos’

La Malahá

During the day of San Anton the villagers of La Malaha go out to the field to taste the popular pots, in the traditional day of Los Puchericos.

Day of San Marcos

La Malahá

During the day of San Marcos, the villagers of La Malaha go to the field in romeria and spend the day in contact with nature, enjoying the typical hornazo, homemade bun with a boiled egg inside.

Patron celebrations in honour of San Isidro

La Malahá

San Isidro Labrador is the subject of a wide devotion in this village and its celebration is very popular. The day of the celebration of the patron there is a mass and a procession in its honour.

Almorvids and Almohads route

The Route of the Almoravids and Almohads passes through three geographical areas. It starts in the so-called “pueblos blancos” or whitewashed villages of Cadiz, many of which have the words “of the border” in their names, an indication of the [...]

Patron celebrations in honour of San Isidro

La Malahá

San Isidro Labrador is the subject of a wide devotion in this village and its celebration is very popular. The day of the celebration of the patron there is a mass and a procession in its honour.

Day of ‘Los Puchericos’

La Malahá

During the day of San Anton the villagers of La Malaha go out to the field to taste the popular pots, in the traditional day of Los Puchericos.

Day of San Marcos

La Malahá

During the day of San Marcos, the villagers of La Malaha go to the field in romeria and spend the day in contact with nature, enjoying the typical hornazo, homemade bun with a boiled egg inside.



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