El Borge

Basic data
Size: 25,70 Km²
Population: 1,071
Residents known as: Borgeños
Monuments: Church of Nuestra Señora del Rosario, Rinconcillo Barrio.
Geographical situation: Between the Mountains of Malaga and the Axarquía, 24 kilometres from Vélez Málaga and 28 from Malaga.
Tourist information: Town Hall, Plaza Constitución, 1. 29718 Málaga.
Phone: 952 512 033 


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View of El Borge

The municipality of El Borge, popularly known as the Raisin Capital, is roughly equidistant from Malaga (28 kilometres) and Vélez-Málaga (24 kilometres).
The village itself is 237 metres above sea level, lying in the valley of the River Borge, between two mountains, and climbing up the sides of a hill known as Egido, not far from the Santo Pitar peak, which measures 1,019 metres.
El Borge has the typical appearance of Axarquía villages: one or two-storey houses made of plaster, brick and slate slabs, with sloping roofs covered with Moorish tiles. The walls of the houses are whitewashed, with splashes of colour provided by geraniums on window sills and balconies. It is worthwhile taking a wander round the narrow winding streets - they are cool, too, a heritage from the days of the Moors. This legacy is especially marked around the El Rinconcillo quarter, the most picturesque part, where steps have been built on the steepest stretches.
The Arabic origin of the village is obvious from the original name, Al-Borg, but very little is actually known of the history of the municipality. What is known is that a community of Moors living under Christian rule resisted the occupation fiercely. When the inhabitants of the Axarquía organised an uprising El Borge was the centre of the rebellion against the re-conquerors. The rebels fled to the Alpujarras mountains, in the provinces of Granada and Almeria, with the help of supporters, and the Governor of Vélez-Málaga, Álvaro de Zuazo, ordered a garrison to be sent to El Borge to quash the uprising.
The title of the Raisin Capital was not given to El Borge for nothing since over 40 per cent of the land in the municipality is under production. Thus, the landscape is largely vineyards surrounded by holm oak trees, rockrose and broom.

Places to be visited
Church of Nuestra Señora del Rosario
The most interesting building, as in most villages in the area, is the church. As in most villages in the province of Malaga, too, in El Borge it was built in the early sixteenth century, on the orders of Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand, on the foundations of an old mosque. Dedicated to Our Lady of the Rosary, it was consecrated on May 25th 1505 by the Archbishop of Seville, Diego de Deza. Architecturally it is one of the most interesting churches in the Axarquía region, being designed in an original combination of Gothic and Renaissance. The church tower, however, is baroque. Although its base is rectangular, further up the tower becomes octagonal, being topped by a roof of vitrified ceramic tiles. On one side of the square where the church stands there is a fountain decorated with tiles representing the Virgen of Lourdes.
The Rinconcillo Barrio
One cannot visit El Borge without taking a stroll down the streets filled with genanium pots in the windows. Particularly beautiful is the barrio of El Rinconcillo, the streets themselves stepped in places to accommodate the lie of the land.
El Bizco de El Borge
In the days before communications were so fast or so easy the village was home to one of the most famous bandits in the province of Malaga - El Bizco del Borge (the cross-eyed man from El Borge). Described as bloodthirsty, depraved and treacherous, he was born on September 2nd 1837 and died in Lucena, in the province of Cordoba, in a confrontation with Civil Guards, on May 21st, 1889. The scene of his most famous deed was the village of Alfarnate, where he murdered a gallant young man known as El Chirrina, who had given El Bizco away when he was planning an attack. The bandit was twice wed but neither of the marriages was particularly happy, due to his lifestyle.
Museum of Popular Arts. C/Río, 3. Tel: 952 512 133. Visits on appointment.
Where to eat 

Bar La Plaza. Plaza de la Constitución, 2. Specialising in tapas and home cooking. 
Bar de Paco. C/Guillermo Pérez. Home cooking. Tel: 952 512 168. 
Bar "El Canijo". (Open evenings and nights only). Varied tapas and sea foods. 
Where to sleep 
Rural houses in El Borge. www.seneca-web.com/borge/casas.htm
Rural Accommodation in the province of Malaga (in Spanish)

The church tower

HOW TO GET THERE 
Access to El Borge by road is not particularly difficult. The best way from the city of Malaga is along the Autovía del Mediterráneo, turning off on the Benagalbón and Moclinejo road at Rincón de la Victoria. From Vélez-Málaga, take the the C-335 road in the Benamocarra direction.
The town’s geographical position allows us to enjoy rural and beach tourism at the same time, since it is only fifteen minutes from the beaches of Torre del Mar and Rincón de la Victoría.

FIESTAS
The main festivity in El Borge is held on September 24th, celebrated as Raisin Day. Thousand of visitors flock to the village to drink the wines and eat the grapes. Other local specialities include two types of gazpacho, one made with broad beans and one with cucumber. The feast of the patron saint of the village, St. Gabriel, is celebrated on Easter Saturday, Sunday and Monday, with the procession to the Camposanto. The celebrations begin after mass, when the church bells ring out. Another popular festival here is the Sanmarqueo, unique to this place, which takes place on April 25th. The romería in honour of San Isidro is on May 15th, when the saint’s image is carried in procession through the streets. And finally there is the San Juan festival at the end of June, with the Noche de las Candelas, the Night of the Candles.

GASTRONOMY 
The gastronomy of El Borge can be enjoyed at any time of the year, although it is best to go there on a gastronomic trip during the Día de la Pasa, Raisin Day, when visitors can taste the different varieties of grapes, the aguardiente or the gazpacho soup with beans or cucumber, a speciality of the area.