Until the 1970s, La Resinera was home to the resin industry in southern Andalucia
This little-known industrial site, the resinera de Fornes located in Arenas del Rey, is unique. It is directly linked to the inhabitants of the Sierra de Almijara. A place to discover!
In the article you will find old photos as well as recent ones.
The Sierra de Almijara crosses the provinces of Granada and Malaga. More precisely, it concerns the comarques of Alhama and Axarquia. It roughly encompasses the villages of Alhama de Granada to Nerja. The Sierra de Almijara forms part of the Sierras de Tejeda, Almijara and Alhama Natural Park.
At the bottom of the article, you will find all the locations on a map.
One often thinks of the sugar cane industry, with the azucareras that can still be seen along the Costa del Sol or the Costa Tropical. However, this industry had its glory days in the 20th century, and employed up to 300 workers, depending on the period between 1902 and 1975.
The Resinera of Arenas del Rey
This former industrial site was dedicated to forestry, with one part dedicated to the sawmill and the other to the extraction of resins from the pines of the Sierra de Almijara.
The resin harvested, was distilled. Rosin (solid residue) and turpentine (liquid residue) were obtained.
Products made from the production of Resinera
Turpentine has many uses, in oil paints or as a stain remover or cleaner.
Rosin also has many uses. It was used as a component in glue. Rosin is also used in some paints.
It is also used by players of bowed string instruments (the wick of bows is rubbed with rosin to ensure the best vibration of the strings). However, rugby and handball players have also had the opportunity to put it on their hands before a competition !
Generally speaking, what was produced at the Resinera was used to make varnish, paint and soap.
The origins of the Resinera de Fornes
Originally, the Resinera de Fornes, as in other places, carried out this activity in an artisanal way and simply allowed for survival. From 1902 onwards, it became an industrial activity and improved the living standards of the workers.
Until 1936, the workers lived in shacks in the vicinity of the factory.
La Resinera during the civil war
Production came to a virtual standstill during the Civil War and also during the Second World War.
The Guardia Civil was watching the whole of the mountains for Republican rebels (Roberto’s guerrilla) hiding there. All inhabitants of the mountains found themselves trapped and deprived of movement. The mountains were gradually emptied.
Some even left their homes to go to the coast. For others, the village was completely closed and emptied of its population. The dramatic story of the village of El Acebuchal, just outside Frigiliana, is very interesting.
La Resinera de Fornes from the 1950s
During this period, the site became like a small village. Houses were built all along the factory walls. These were the best years of production.
A chapel and a school will even complete the site. This is a case of a factory that has become a village!
The Guardia Civil built its barracks a hundred metres from the factory. It is also in ruins today:
It was a real “economic lung” for the region. Several villages had activities related to the Resinera. For example, La Venta del Vicario was the pottery site where the clay pots were made to recover the resin production.
The 1975 fire in the Sierra de Almijara
In 1975, a huge fire destroyed 12,000 hectares of forest belonging to the factory.
Locally, 1975 is known as the year of the “quemao”. It is known that this fire is of criminal origin. In fact, several fires started simultaneously. These fires took place in Arenas del Rey, Jatar, Competa, Frigiliana and even Nerja. The fire…The fires were a fatal blow to the Resinera. It closed for good in 1982.
The Junta de Andalucía bought the site in 1986. It is a very interesting place for “industrial tourism”.
This is the only Resinera that can be seen today in Andalucia. All the buildings seen in the photos can be seen on the site (except for the workers’ houses which have disappeared). All other Resinera have totally disappeared in Andalucia.
The surroundings of Arenas del Rey
Arenas del Rey is of course worth a visit to the Resinera. However, the reservoir of Los Bermejales which is also located in the municipality of Arenas del Rey is a must-see. The landscapes are magnificent. Arenas del Rey is only 25km from the fabulous Alhama de Granada.
Map with Arenas del Rey and Sierra de Almijara
In this link, you’ll find a cortijo where sleeping (with view on the famous reservoir) : cortijo rural el Molinillo
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