Macharaviaya best things to see and do
The royal cards game factory
Macharaviaya, a small village with an incredible history
In this article you will find the essential information to visit Macharaviaya
- A few words about Macharaviaya
- The origins of the village
- Visiting Macharaviaya, what to see?
- What to do in Macharaviaya?
- idea for a guided tour
- Where is Macharaviaya?
- Book accommodation
- Some useful links
- Experiences to discover in the province of Málaga
A few words about Macharaviaya
Macharaviaya is located in Axarquia in the province of Malaga. The modern history of Macharaviaya cannot be separated from that of the Galvez family and the United States of America.
The village is twinned with the city of Pensacola in Florida. This is linked to the history of the Independence of the United States.
Bernardo de Gálvez, born in 1746 in Macharaviaya, succeeded in taking Pensacola from the English in 1781. This victory is considered one of the most decisive for the final triumph of the American troops over the English army…
Finally, a town in Texas, in the Gulf of Mexico, is named Galveston, in homage to Bernardo de Galvez.
The origins of the village
I am obliged to make a confession…I have been passing by Macharaviaya for 30 years without ever going there.
Yet every time I passed the highway exit “Macharaviaya”, the name reminded me of Mexico. I knew nothing about the history of the village, but the sounds of the word reminded me of mariachis, sombreros, “viva zapata“, and Guadalajara !
I was surprised to learn that the name of the village Macharaviaya, was the hispanization, in 1572, of its old Arabic name: Mashar-abu-Yaha…
Visiting Macharaviaya, what to see?
The church of San Jacinto
This church is beautiful, both inside and out. In fact, there is a dovecote on one side and a sundial on the other.
The entrance to the church of San Jacinto :
The old public school
This village has another peculiarity: the Galvez family founded the first free, mixed public school in Spain in 1782 (article in Spanish).
In this school corporal punishment was also forbidden. This school still exists today, although it has of course changed since that time.
The Royal Card Factory – Real fábrica de naipes
This village (360 inhabitants today) has known a certain opulence thanks to the Galvez family. Indeed, by their statutes they obtained to install the royal factory of card games in the village, with monopoly of sale of the packs of card games in the Americas.
During this period, the opulence generated by this monopoly earned it the nickname “Little Madrid”.
In its own way, this card factory contributed to the development of the village of Maro in the municipality of Nerja, since a paper mill was built on the banks of the river Miel to produce the paper needed to make the cards. This paper mill, now abandoned, can still be seen next to the beach of the same name (playa del molino de papel).
The Galvez family museum and temple
The Galvez family and the village of Macharaviaya share the same history. In the village you can visit the Galvez family museum. There is also the mausoleum of the family and a bust of Bernado de Galvez.
The main members of the family with their titles in the 18th century are :
- Don José Gálvez y Gallardo. Representative of King Charles III, founder of the Texas town of Galvestown and Secretary of the Council of the Indies
- Matias Gálvez, Viceroy of Mexico
- Miguel Galvez, Spanish ambassador to Russia
- Bernardo de Galvez (son of Matias), Governor of Louisiana, Captain General of Cuba and Viceroy of Mexico, who drove the English out of the Gulf of Mexico and helped the Americans gain their independence (article in Spanish about this battle).
To have a drink in Macharaviaya
The tavern El Candil is the ideal place, it has a small terrace outside.
Inside, on the walls you will find the history of the village as well as many tools that were once used in the fields. It looks like a small museum!
And just next to Macharaviaya: Benaque
This small village is worth a visit to discover a rather incredible church: the church of Nuestra Señora de la Encarnación.
This church built on a former mosque is really impressive to see. Here is the link to find out more about Benaque.
A final word on the Galvez and the province of Malaga
The Galvez have been true ambassadors, especially of a typical product of the province of Malaga.
The Galvez were the first promoters of the famous Málaga wine, made from Muscatel grapes, on European tables and especially in Russia.
What to do in Macharaviaya?
In the surroundings, it is possible to find very nice activities:
- horse riding, on the beach or in the mountains
- diving in Nerja and Torrox
- guided tours (villages of Axarquia, Cordoba, Alhambra,…)
- via ferrata (Caminito del Rey,…)
- hiking (El Saltillo with the hanging bridge,…)
- canyoning (in the rio Verde,…)
- visit of caves
Use the following link to access all the activities to do. during your holidays. This link provides you with all the details of each activity.
Ideas for guided tours of the area
A very good local guide, Cipriano, offers thematic and seasonal guided tours of the villages of Axarquia.
For example, Cipriano organises the Frigiliana and El Acebuchal Tour, the famous hamlet that was forgotten for 50 years!
The themes of the tours are: the white villages of Axarquia, the wine route, the raisin route, ….
The guided tours are always done in small groups (2 to 8 people max.) to discover the authentic Axarquia.
In the following link you will find all the details and prices of the tours he offers.
Here you can find all the guided tours in Axarquia from Torrox, Nerja and Torre del Mar.
Among the fiestas and ferias in Macharaviaya, the Fiesta del 4 de Julio is exceptional and unique. This fiesta celebrates the close relationship of this village with the United States of America and their accession to independence.
On this occasion, all the inhabitants dress in the costumes of the time to commemorate this date.
- Fiesta de la Independencia de los Estados Unidos, 4th July
- Feria de Macharaviaya y procesión de San Bernardo, 1st weekend of August
- Encuentro Provincial de Corales en Macharaviaya, mid December
Where is Macharaviaya?
Please enter the desired dates to check availability.
Some useful links
Here is a great car rental agency in Andalusia and more specifically at Malaga airport : book a rental car.
If you are in Andalucia as part of a tour with several major cities to visit, here are some links that may be of interest:
- Discover must-sees before visiting Cordoba
- Visit Malaga on foot.
- All you need to know about Granada, the Alhambra, the Albaicin neighbourhood before visiting Granada
- If you are passing through the geographical centre of Andalusia, then you can visit Antequera, with the incredible natural site of El Torcal right next door.
Experiences to discover in the province of Malaga
Find more ideas for visits to authentic Andalucia: see the blog pages on Andalucia.
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