AREA: 84,40 km² ALTITUDE ABOVE SEA LEVEL: 30 metres AVERAGE ANNUAL RAINFALL: 464 l/m²
AVERAGE ANNUAL TEMPERATURE: 195 ºC POPULATION CENSUS 1994: 14,816
History and Landscape
Here, the mountain and the sea meet and form a coastal landscape which is unique in the province of Malaga: the Acantilados de Maro. Their singularity has earned the declaration of a natural space protected as a Natural Park. These cliffs which are quite deformed in places becuase of the tuneless presence of the N-340 road, all together conserve an important scenic quality which is emphasized in a special way with the Cerero de la Caleta and the Loma de la Torre de Maro, as with the numerous creeks, often watched by lookout towers which add a singular touch of history.
When the mountain separates from the sea, first the small agricultural plots and then the quiet plain of Nerja, smoothen the landscape with plots which little by little are being invaded by the touristic constructions and second residence houses. An architecture of leisure and rest which dominates the Nerja surroundings on both sides of the N-340 road and which even ascend the first sides of the sierra. A sierra which covers the main part of the territory with deep ravines, slashes, scarps, and crests marking the roof of the municipal district in the peaks of Navachica (1.832 m.) and Cielo (1.508 m.)
The first vestiges known of the presence of man in these lands corresponds to the upper paleolithic and were found in the Cueva de Nerja. From the Roman era there is knowledge of a town settlement called Detunda, situated where the present Maro now stands. There are also some remains of the Roman road Sexi-Caviclum or Coladilla de Cazadores in the Maro gully further up from the Aguila aqueduct and close to this is the Coladilla pathway.
The depopulations in the area were not only produced by the Moor expulsion, but also because of the frequent attacks by the Berber pirates on the coast, who made the inhabitants emigrate to the interior on more than one occasion from 1505 to 1515. The attacks which continued after the previously mentioned expulsion, produced the reinforcement of the coastal fortifications with new watch towers.
Places to visit
Among the obligatory visits in Nerja to the famous caves (one of which is not accessible to the public) which have been baptized as a Prehisoric Cathedral, and the no less know Balcon de Europa, which is a splendid lookout situated in the centre of the town. Apart from their magnificence, the caves have 22 paintings which have been declared as a National Historical-Artistical Monument.
The city also has other monumental richnesses, such as the parish church of El Salvador, built at the end of the 17th century - the era to which the Mudejar coffering and choir belong - and extended in the 19th century. It is baroque, with three naves, in which the central one still conserves its wooden armour. The chapel of the Angustias, also baroque, offeres a simple belfry sticking out of the nave.
In Maro, a small location three kilometres away from the town centre, is the church of Ntra. Sra. de las Maravillas, built at the beginning of the 17th century and later reformed.
Although there is no handicraft market, it is worth mentioning the works with skins and leather. There is also a considerable number of commercial establishments which offer all types of products to the visitor.
The local food has its touristic side, with high class restaurants, and the local gastronomy sometimes mixes country products with fruits from the sea: red pepper with fish and clams, migas breadcrumbs fried with garlic with sauce and clams, noodle and fish broth, ajoblanco with grapes, ajocolorao, sea bream from Burriana (one of the coves in the area) grilled, imaroga salad, pumpkin, etc. There are also the traditional sanjaunera cakes, made with flour, oil, sugar, anise, and eggs. The food offered in the Parador Nacional is of a high quality.
Festivities and traditions
The 15th of May and the 10th of October are the patron saints festivities, dedicated to the Virgen de las Angustias and San Miguel Arcángel. A great pilgrimage is celebrated for San Isidro from the parish church up to the saints chapel. In July is the procession dedicated to the Virgen del Carmen. The festivals of dancing, music and flamenco which are celebrated inside the caves have become a modern tradition. Regarding the folklore, there are the verdiales singing and dancing, and the fandangoes.