AREA: 94, 80 km² ALTITUDE ABOVE SEA LEVEL: 315 metres AVERAGE ANNUAL RAINFALL: 750 l/m²
AVERAGE ANNUAL TEMPERATURE: 17 ºC POPULATION CENSUS 1994: 2.944
HISTORY AND LANDSCAPE
The municipality of Tolox, although it forms part of the Guadalhorce valleys region in which most of its lands are, holds one of the most significant spaces in the Ronda highland: the territory between the Puerto de los Pilones, and the Pico de la Terricilla (1.918 m.). Here, the important scenic landmarks of the mentioned peak, and the Alcazaba hills, are joined to the presence of some centenary gall-oaks which have miraculously adapted to the hard climatic conditions of the area.
All this forms a spot which, when it snows, is converted into one of the principal natural attractions of our province. It isnt the only point of interest which the municipality of Tolox presents, as in the north of its territory, the sierra descends in deep gullies, first by the Cañada de las Carnicerías and further ahead by the Horcajos river, between pine forests which seem to hang from the hillsides.
And once in the town, uphill from the Caballos river's valley, the landscape returns mountainous, to look out among pine groves over the Golondrinas port and the most spectacular and majestic sight of the Sierra de Tolox, crowned by the Torrecilla peak.
On exiting the sierra, the gullies and torrents give way to a hilly relief covered in olive groves, and which on becoming smoother, turns into cereal fields and as it descends until the plains of the river Grandes banks, becomes a landscape of vegetable plots and fruit trees which seek the Guadalhorce river.
The municipal district must have been inhabited since remote times, judging by the neolithic remains found in the Tinaja cave. Tolox was in the territory influenced by Tartesides, although it seems that the first nucleus was established during the Roman rule. The fort of this era, of which there are still remains of the wall in the Castillo suburb, was extended during the military rebellion of Omar Ben Hafsun, until it was destroyed by the loyal troops of the caliphate from Cordoba, Abderramán III.
After the Christian conquest in 1485, Tolox was the scene of the fights caused by the Moorish rebellion in the mid 16th century. The defeat of the rebels and their later expulsion caused the depopulation of almost the whole municipal region, until it was repopulated with colonies from Castilla, Galicia, and other areas of Andalusia in the era of Felipe II.
Places to Visit
The most outstanding feature are the remains of the castles walls, of Phoenician origins, which later fell in Roman hands, and in 883 was occupied by the rebel leader, Omar Ben Hafsun, who converted it into one of the most important ones in his kingdom.
This town also has a typical Arabic outline, with narrow and windy streets, and whitewashed houses full of flowers. The visitor must pass by the Rinconado del Castillo suburb, in which there are examples of its Arabic past.
The parish church of San Miguel is also worth visiting, in which there are three naves separated by arches which date from the 16th century. It also has an interesting elliptic vault over the choir in the main nave with decorative motifs.
In handicraft material, there are works with esparto grass, and decorative objects such as figures made with date bread and decorated with almonds. There is also wood work.
The main typical dishes are tolita soup, bolo, kid stew, and gazpacho cold soup. And the date bread is typical of Tolox.
FESTIVITIES AND TRADITIONS
The local festivities are celebrated on the 2nd of May and the 16th of August, the latter being the festivity in honour of San Roque, patron saint of the town, which closes with fireworks, where two thousand dozen rockets are let off in a couple of hours.
On the 8th of December is the "Día de la Cencerrada" charivari day, where the youngsters of the town make noises with shells and ring cow bells through the street. It is believed that this festivity goes back to the time of the Moorish expulsion.