AREA: 9,70 KM² ALTITUDE ABOVE SEA LEVEL: 86 metres AVERAGE ANNUAL RAINFALL: 610 l/m²
AVERAGE ANNUAL TEMPERATURE: 185 ºC POPULATION, CENSUS 1994: 4,761
HISTORY AND LANDSCAPE
The municipality of Algarrobo extends over the Axarquía mountains situated at the east of the valley of the Vélez river, and looks out over the sea by the narrow strip of coast which goes from Mezquitilla to the Caleta de Vélez.
The Algarrobo-Sayalonga river, which runs down from the Sierra Almijara, crosses from north to south through a valley flanked with low ridges covered with the traditional olive trees, vines and almonds, is being transformed into another terrace for growing vegetables and subtropical fruits. The winter pastures ascend the hillsides which are crowned with tanks and irrigation deposits, which look out to the sea through shreds of horizon left by the turistic architecture. And before the valley opens up to the coast, over a small hillock embraced by the river, is Algarrobo, amid the tradition of its popular architecture and the plots in the bottom of the valley and the recent landscape of the coast.
The small area of the municipality contrasts with its great history, which notably starts up in the Bronze Age. The Morro de Mezquitilla shows the first signs of mans presence in this era, but the most important findings belong, without doubt to the Phoenician civilization, whose primary example is the Trayamar Necropolis, near the coast.
Although the area enjoyed a time of prosperity with the arrival of the Romans, it seems that the founding of the town in its actual location is due to the Arabs. The expultion of the Moors, practically left the area abandoned, and it was repopulated years later.
This town, with an urbanistic layout of steep and narrow streets, corresponding with its Arab past, climbs the Ejido hillside, where there is an esplanade with the chapel of San Sebastian, patron saint of the area, which was built in 1976. Among the singular buildings there is the parish church of Santa Ana, erected in the 17th century in the central part of the town on a cross base and with a bell tower. The interior has woodwork and a circular dressing room on the side from the 18th century.
Nearby are the archaeological remains of Trayamar, a complex of paleopunic tombs - some could be from the 8th century B.C. - which are considered to be one of the most important signs of Phoenicians in the west. The findings during the excavations - jewels, utensils, etc.. are in the Museo Arqueologico Provincial de Málaga.
In the municipal boundary there are two watchtowers, Torreladeada and Torrenueva, the first from the Islamic era and the second is a 16th century military fort.
As there are no handicraft activities apart from the odd carpintery, the visitor can buy the popular Algarrobo cakes.
The native cooking is based on kid in sauce, local stews and 'ajoblanco' cold soup, etc.. in the town and on the coastal area there are sardines cooked on skewers and fish cooked in the fire. Oil cakes, and dried fruits such as dates, almonds and raisins, plus a sweet home-made wine complement the offers. There are various establishments which sell 'mosto' unfermented grape juice, as well as cakes and dried fruits.
FESTIVITIES AND TRADITIONS
The most loved traditions are the 'verdiales de Algarrobo' which are danced in country houses after the grape treading. The musical instruments used are the guitar, castanets, mortar and percussion with an empty anisette bottle.