Macharaviaya

Basic data
Size: 7.20 Km²
Population: Approx. 360
Residents known as: Macharatungos
Monuments: Small temple in memory of the Gálvez family, Church of San Jacinto.
Geographical situation: 27 kilometres from Malaga and 25 from Vélez, the highest point being the Cerro de Capellanía at 481 metres.
Tourist information: Town Hall, C/Real, 12. 29791.
Phone: 952 400 042 Fax: 952 400 026


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Drinking trough 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.
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 generations.
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 elegant doorways.
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.

Places to be visited
Church 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."
Craftwork
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.
Where to eat 

Bar El Candil. Home cooking. C/Tránsito, 13. Tel: 952 400 002. 
Bar Las Piedras. Specialising in barbecued meats. C/Tránsito, 9. 
Where to sleep 
Rural Hotel Macharaviaya. On the Macharaviaya-Benaque road. Tel: 952 110 399. 
Rural Accommodation in the province of Malaga (in Spanish)

A typical street in Macharaviaya

FIESTAS
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 saint.

GASTRONOY
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 dishes here.

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.