AREA: 40 km² ALTITUDE ABOVE SEA LEVEL: 435 metres AVERAGE ANNUAL RAINFALL: 590 l/m²
AVERAGE ANNUAL TEMPERATURE: 18 º C POPULATION CENSUS 1994: 2.175
History and Landscape
The largest part of the Frigiliana territory extends over the mountain range of the Almijara Sierra, giving the municipality a notable scenic showiness, which has one of its main exponents near the town in the gorges of the Higuerón river. Further east, in the valley of the district's principal river, the Chillar, which acts as the limit with the nearby municipality of Nerja, the river which fits between the marble and the dolomite of the sierra has formed impressive defiles and gorges, which contrast with the stillness of some pools in the lower part of its course. Outside the sierra there are many fruit orchards and plots near the town. The water from the sierra, irrigates the terraces of Frigiliana placing a green border around the white houses.
The archaeological excavations made in the district have demonstrated the existence of settlers in prehistory, the main exponent being human remains, ceramics and lithics found in the open air and in the Cueva de los Murciélagos (bat cave), belonging to the neolithic period. Later the Phoenicians would arrive and leave the testimony of their presence in the Tejar hills, known as the Cerro de las Sombras (shadow hills). The remains of a paleopunic necropolis have appeared here.
The Romans have also left their mark in the ruins of the fort they erected, as well as with coins which have appeared from the 1st century. The towns name seems to have Latin origins as it would come from "frexinius" (the name of an unkown character) and of the termination "ana" which together with a proper noun means villa, so originally "frexiniusana" would mean - villa of Frexinio.
The Roman frexiniusana would have been known in the Arabic era as Fixiana and it would be in this era that the settlement was consolidated around a castle (nonexistant today) which existed on the top of the cliff. Frigilianas importance would grow during this period until it reached a notable influence in the neighbouring towns.
After the conquest by the Christian troops in 1487, the Moors of Frigiliana lived in peace with their co-neighbour Christians until the revolt in the 16th century put an end to this situation. There they escaped the decisive battle of Peñon de Frigiliana, described with all the pathos of the situation by the chroniclers who witnessed the attack by the Christian troops. After the hard battle in 1569, the Moors were sold and expelled, and the location was repopulated with old Christians from the neighbouring provinces.
Places to visit
There are many towns in the province of Málaga which enter the group of those said to the the prettiest in Spain. Well, one of them is without doubt Frigiliana, especially the Moor nuclei which snakes in narrow streets, passages and even hallways, in order to climb, stepping on the same floor as the ancient Moors, to the top of the mountain where the town stands, and there, there is an impressive panorama of the valley and the nearby coastal area.
Of the four or five historic-artistic buildings in Frigiliana there is the outstanding parish church of San Antonio, built in the 17th century (1676) and reformed the following century. It consists of three naves separated by pilasters and covered in a wooden armour up to the transept, where there is a semi-espheric vault crowned with a lantern. The front is simple, with an arch stretched over a shield of Fray Alonso de Santo Tomás. The bell tower has the singularity in which the last two bodies of three present double arches.
In the old part of town there is also a building which was a real silo of the ancient granaries, built in 1767, and the palace of the counts of Frigiliana, a farmstead from the 16th century, which later would be converted in to an ingenuous sugar refinery.
Apart from the mentioned archaeological vestiges, there are the remains of El Fuerte, from the Roman and later eras, and the Castillo de Lizar, the medieval fort which existed on the top of the town.
In certain squares and streets of the old part of town, twelve glassed ceramic mosaics have been placed which tell the story, in the form of Romance, of the history of the Moorish rebellion in this town. The artistic creation is due to two craftswomen, the potter Amparo Ruiz de Luna and the glass painting artist Pilar García Millán.
Apart from the shops open to tourists, where you can buy anything you can find on the coast, in Frigiliana they make ceramic objects and derivatives of vegetable fibres, olive brances, tiles, painted glass, etc. The local Muscatel wine can also be bought.
The gastronomy is based on popular local creations and dishes common to the Axarquía. The most representative dishes are the "ajocolorao", kid baked in oil, floyr breadcrumbs and Easter broth. Among the confectionaries there is the molasses, yams with cane honey, San Juan cakes or 'hornazo sanjuanero', cane honey and Muscatel wine.
Festivities and traditions
The patron saint's festivity is on the 20th of January. At Easter there is the procession of the Soledad and feetwashing of the Apostols. The 3rd of May is the festivity of the Cross and the 13th of June are the main festivities dedicated to another patron saint, San Antonio. The 24th of June, San Juan, is also celebrated in Frigiliana with the tradition of the "sanjuaneo", going to the countrysiede to eat 'hornazo'. On the 7th of September, finally, they celebrate Candlemas in the countryside.