that belonged to the Gálvez family palace
Macharaviaya is 27 kilometres from Malaga and 25
from Vélez, and one reaches it by the Autovía del Mediterráneo or the
N-340, in either case the road signs showing clearly the way. It forms part
of the white villages in the Axarquía, and its highest peak is the Cerro de
la Capellanía. It is watered by the Ibero stream, which rises in the
Vallejo area and passes by Benaque. Beside
the stream we come across a house with a gallery supported by arches, which
probably belonged to the Gálvez family at some point in the past. The
surrounding area is quite hilly, with the two streams that provide the town
with water, the Macharaviaya and the Fuente Horno, flowing through gorges
between the mountainous terrain. Much of the land around here is planted
with vines, the basis of the agricultural industry in the municipality, and
these plantations contrast beautifully with the typical Mediterranean
woodland in the same area. This is especially worth visiting from March to
May, when the springtime colours are a magnificent sight.
To visit Macharaviaya is to take a trip back in time to the 17th
century, since the layout of the town has hardly changed in the intervening
period. The narrow and winding streets and paving stones show an obvious
Moorish past, although probably laid down in the 18th century.
Most of the houses are low, with a maximum height of two storeys, and are
made of rubble and brick, whitewashed on the outside. This urban landscape
has enchanted artists and lovers of all things romantic for many
The most important street in the town, and also the longest and widest, is
calle Real de Málaga. The biggest old family homes are here, their touch of
nobility evident in their coats of arms that can still be seen over the
to be visited|
of San Jacinto
The Church of San Jacinto was built in 1505, before the town
itself was founded in 1572, and it was re-constructed two
centuries later under the supervision of José Ortega Monroy and
Miguel del Castillo. The ground plan is in the shape of the Latin
cross with a single nave. Of particular interest inside are the
doorway and the crypt beneath the church, where we can see statues
of members of the Gálvez family, the most important family in the
area in the 18th century.
Fábrica de Naipes
This old playing card factory could hardly be described as a work
of great architecture, but it does hold an important position in
the history of the town and its economic development over the
years. It belonged to the Gálvez family, five brothers who went
to America and made their fortunes there. The American link
between the town and the Americas became quite strong, reinforcing
the local economy to such an extent that it became known for a
time as "The Little Madrid." It helped, of course, that
the factory in Macharaviaya held the monopoly on the sale of
playing cards to America two centuries ago. The building is at
present used for residential purposes.
House of Salvador Rueda in Benaque
Benaque is a small hamlet two kilometres from Macharaviaya, and
there we can see the house that the poet Salvador Rueda was born
in on December 2nd, 1857, and which he described in one
of his poems as a "poor house."
Macharaviaya has become home to a sizeable number of artists and
craft-persons in search of peace and tranquillity in the heart of
the countryside. The town has a textile workshop that makes
blankets, rugs and tapestries, and there is also a ceramics
workshop that specialises in hand-painted tiles.
Bar El Candil.
Home cooking. C/Tránsito, 13. Tel: 952 400 002.
Bar Las Piedras. Specialising
in barbecued meats. C/Tránsito, 9.
Hotel Macharaviaya. On the Macharaviaya-Benaque road.
Tel: 952 110 399.
Accommodation in the province of Malaga
A typical street in
The big festival in Machartaviaya is in
honour of its patron saint, San Bernardo, and it takes place in the first
week in August during Macharaviaya’s Cultural Week. Various exhibitions
and cultural events are organised at this time, and there are musical and
dancing performances and competitions, the most important of which are the
traditional verdiales. The classical music performances are held in the
church, and there are also street processions in honour of the patron
The most traditional dishes in Macharaviaya
are the maimones, a type of soup with bread; gazpacho and grapes in
aguardiente. Game like rabbit, hare and partridge are also very popular
THE GÁLVEZ FAMILY
Don José Gálvez y Gallardo (1720-1791),
Marqués de Sonora and Minister of the Indies, was born into a well-off
family that knew how to make the best use of personal contacts reaching up
to the king himself, Carlos III. He was thus granted the royal privilege
of establishing a settlement in Texas that came to be known as Galveston,
and thus too was established the link with America. His five sons never
forget their roots, and maintained personal contact with the town
throughout their lives. It was through their influence and money that the
church was re-constructed in the 18th century, that the
playing-card factory was established and the local economy developed. At
one point, production in the factory reached the figure of 30,000 packs
each year, a large amount for its time, and made with special paper
produced in Benalmádena. The factory closed down in 1815, and the
building became private houses numbered 15 to 23 in calle Real de Málaga.
Thanks to Miguel
Gálvez, ambassador to the court of Catherine the Great in St. Petersburg,
the empress tasted the wines of the area, liked them and approved their
exportation to Russia.