Discover the Alpujarra and the incredible villages of Pampaneira and Capileira
The Alpujarra is a historic region of Andalusia with a unique architecture of its villages. The Alpujarra straddles the province of Granada and the province of Almería. This is known as the Alpujarra Granadina and the Alpujarra Almeriense.
If you are staying in the area for a few days, you will find a selection of 10 great things to do in the province of Granada and the Alpujarra at the bottom of the article
You will discover a small region that is a journey within your Andalusian journey. As you will see, it is unique.
Its name comes from the Arabic word ‘al-bugscharra’ (later Spanishised to Alpujarra) which means land of pastures.
This region is geographically located on the southern side of the Sierra Nevada.
It is renowned for its exceptionally beautiful landscape of mountains, valleys and ravines. The Alpujarra also has some of the most beautiful villages in Spain, such as Pampaneira and Capileira.
Finally, it is one of the most legally protected areas in Europe! It belongs to :
- Sierra Nevada National Park.
- Sierra Nevada Natural Park
- Barranco de Poqueira Historic Site
- Historical Site of La Alpujarra
Let’s discover the most beautiful of the Alpujarra Granadina
You will discover it through :
- a brief history
- the many photos of the superb villages of Pampaneira and Capileira
- its handicrafts: the famous jarapas
Its main villages are located halfway between Granada and the coast. It takes about an hour to drive from Motril or from the fabulous beaches of Nerja..
The history of the Alpujarra in a few words
It was populated by the Iberians and Celts, then the Romans and Visigoths until the period of Al-Andalus.
After 1492 and the reconquest of Granada, a number of Moriscos (Spanish Muslims who converted to Catholicism) opposed to this obligation, took refuge in the Alpujarra. They revolted in 1568 with the aim of “taking back” Granada. For almost 80 years they continued to live with their customs, religion and language in this isolated and difficult-to-reach region.
This revolt was led by Fernando de Valor y Cordoba (Christian name) whose Muslim name was Muhammad ibn Umayya. This revolt also took place on the coast, in Axarquia in the beautiful village of Frigiliana. Locally this revolt is called the Battle of the Rock of Frigiliana.
This revolt, which began in 1568, ended in a heavy defeat in 1570 and led to the expulsion and dispersal of all the Moriscos. The kingdom repopulated the villages with inhabitants from Asturias, Galicia and Leon.
What makes the identity of the Alpujarra
The influence of the Moors is easily observable: there are many similarities with the culture of the Berbers of the Atlas Mountains in Morocco: agriculture with terrace cultivation, the architecture of the houses, the cuisine, the names of the places (especially the toponyms) and the carpet making.
What differentiates the houses of these villages from those of the Atlas is only the white lime paint on the walls.
The typical dish today is “plato Alpujarreño”. It is a mountain dish, and you have to be very hungry to finish it! It is mainly composed of “patata a lo pobre”, blood sausage, pork loin, onion, pepper, fried egg and chorizo!
The main villages of the Alpujarra
The name of the village is of Latin origin, and comes from “pampinus, pampinarius” which means producer of vine leaves. It was a place known in Roman times for its vineyards.
Pampaneira is located in the famous barranco (ravine) of Poqueira. This village, like those of Bubion and Capileira, remained isolated for a long time, which allowed a different and unique culture to develop. Under Arab rule, it was an important centre for silk production. The Barranco del Poqueira is one of the most visited natural areas in the province of Granada.
As with the neighbouring villages, it consists of two parts. The upper part of the village was inhabited by shepherds and the lower part by farmers.
Important remains from the Al-Andalus period have been found, such as those of Alayar and Belezmín. The latter was the first settlement of the Taha de Poqueira. It is one of the few Taha (administrative district of the kingdom of Granada) that was founded by Yemenis.
Pampaneira enjoyed great wealth and influence during the Nasrid period, thanks to the silk trade for which it was famous.
If you wish to stay in this village, you will find below some rural houses:
The name of the village is of Latin origin ‘capitellum’ which means ‘summit’. Capileira is the highest village in the barranco de Poqueira. It is the second highest village in the Iberian Peninsula after the neighbouring village of Trevelez. It is located at an altitude of 1436 metres.
Capileira has 12 fountains, as in the neighbouring villages. They had different functions such as washing clothes, drinking, irrigating, or serving as a watering place for animals.
If you want to stay for a weekend in the beautiful village of Capileira, you can find some ideas below!
Bubion is located 2 or 3 km from both Capileira and Pampaneira. It is also very beautiful. You can visit the “casa alpujarrena” museum.
The village is described as follows: “In Trevelez tocaras el cielo”. In Trevelez you will touch the sky!
It is the highest village in Spain, at 1746 m. above sea level. The habitat is particularly characteristic of this region, like the other villages: flat roofs with a chimney, balconies (tinaos), narrow and steep streets,
The highest peak in the Iberian Peninsula is in the municipality of Trevelez: Pico Mulhacén, with an altitude of 3479 m. The name of this peak comes from the name of the Nasrid king Mulay Hasan. The story goes that he was buried on top of this peak. He was the second last Nasrid king, his son Boabdil abdicated in Granada in 1492.
This village is very famous for its hams.
This village is known as “The Gateway to the Alpujarra”. Its reputation is due to the quality of its mineral and medicinal waters.
In the village you can visit a curious museum….the Water Museum! It is built on an old water mill and its architecture is a total success.
If you are interested in discovering and booking a stay, a weekend in the famous spa of the town : Balneario de Lanjaron
The Moorish influence is very marked in the village, also in its architecture. It is the largest town in the Alpujarra. Its church is of absolute beauty.
A small village, part of the “Alpujarra balcony” that has remained typical. Its church and the village square next to it are of great beauty.
The witches’ village. This village became the village of the witches when it was repopulated after the reconquest by villagers from the north of Spain. They came with their beliefs and legends.
Jarapas, the symbol of Alpujarra craftsmanship
Jarapas are multicoloured carpets made by hand in these villages on looms.
This craft developed after the expulsion of the Moors who left behind the looms used to make silk. The mulberry fields, at that time, surrounded the villages to feed the silkworms.
Jarapa is a coarse fabric, which is therefore used to make carpets, but also blankets, bedspreads and curtains.
In the beginning: from old clothes and rags, threads were taken to make these famous jarapas.
Today, the process has remained the same, except that the threads from old clothes and rags are no longer used. Instead, the threads from overstocks of towels and other such items are used to make jarapas!
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