Day Trip to Archidona

Archidona is a white town that is located about 50 km north of Malaga and 20 km from Antequerra, on the road to Granada. It is an agricultural town and has a population of about 8800. In 1980 it was named as a Historic-Artistic Site because of its Baroque architecture and artistic treasures. It is one of the hidden gems of Malaga.

Archidona is famous for the mollete archidones, which is a delicious round bun. Other typical foods are the porra, migas con chocolate, bollos de manteca, pestiños, empanadillas, aceitados, and mostachones. Many people from Malaga go to this town especially to buy these pastries. One can also buy convent sweets at the Convent of the Monjas Minimas.

History

Archidona was settled about 6 centuries B.C. by Iberian tribes. Later came the Romans and the town became known as Arcis Domina. The Moors conquered the town in 713 and the town became a Moorish stronghold with the name of Arsiduna. During the Caliphate of Cordoba, the town became the first capital of the province of Malaga, until Malaga became the capital later on. The Christians under Pedro Giron (head of the Order of Calatrava) conquered the town in 1462.

The castle on the highest point of the town was constructed in the 9th century by the Moors and was one of the most important castles in Andalusia at that time, considered to be impregnable. The Moorish king Alhamar restructured the castle in the 13th century. There were three walls, but only the two inner walls remain. The castle had a mezquita, which now is a Catholic chapel.

Plaza Ochavada

The most important place to visit in Archidona is the Plaza Ochavada. This is an octagonal plaza built between 1786 and 1789, the most important building constructed in the 18th century. Its style is the Spanish Baroque. The builders were the local master builders Francisco Astorga Frias and Antonio Gonzalez Sevillano. The plaza is totally enclosed and has three arches that allow communication with the outside world. Each of the eight facades is different but harmonic with the whole. The walls of the buildings are whitewashed, but there is red brick that gives a contrast. This structure is considered one of the most important Baroque buildings in Andalusia, and one of the most beautiful. The plaza was used for bullfights until 1960. Today it contains the Town Hall and the Tourism Office beside it. The plaza is used for cultural purposes for Holy Week, the August Fair, and the Dog Fair. In 2007 it received the title of First Marvel of the Province of Malaga.

 


Sanctuary of the Virgen de Gracia (Ermita de la Virgen de Gracia)

The old Mezquita was reconverted into the Sanctuary of the Virgen de Gracia and this is located in the castle and this dates from the 9th century. This is located on the highest hill of the town. One has to go up a narrow road with many sharp curves. There is a wonderful view of the town from this sanctuary, an eagle's eye view, because the chapel is 900 meters high. The Mezquita is only one of two that are conserved in the Province of Malaga. The other one is in a farm in Antequera. The Mezquita is dated to the 9th and 10th centuries. When the Christians conquered Archidona, the Mezquita was converted into the first Christian chapel of Archidona.

Today the chapel has three naves. One enters the chapel using the patio in front of it. This chapel has a beautiful altarpiece dedicated to the Virgen de Gracia, which was made in the 18th century. There is plenty of devotion to this Virgin because in the 17th century she was made the patron saint of the town. The image of the Virgin is in a painting that was created in the middle of the 15th century. Beside the image of the Virgin are a pair of angels. The chapel as a baptismal font made of baked clay and with a green color, made in the 15th century.

 

Church of Santa Ana

The Church of Santa Ana, located at the Plaza de la Iglesia, dates from 1505 and has the late Gothic style. It has a Baroque stone entrance from the 18th century. The church has been renovated several times. There are three naves and the vaults are Gothic. The space at the head of the church is polygonal. The tower has a unique triangular shape. The main altarpiece was created in the middle of the 18th century and is gilded. In the center of the altar there is the figure of the Virgin of the Rosary and there is also a sculpture of Santa Ana showing the Virgin Mary how to read. On either side are polychromed statues of St. Peter and St. Paul. The choir has 24 chairs that were carved from wood in the beginning of the 18th century. On one side of the altar is a large format painting, the Lamentation over the Dead Christ, painted by the local artist Eugenio Lafuente in 1927 when he was studying in Rome. The pulpit is Neoclassic. There are four side altars on either side of the main nave, which contain many historic statues.

Convent of the Monjas Minimas

The Convent of the Monjas Minimas de San Francisco de Paula was founded in 1551 in a property that belonged to the Conde de Ureña on Calle Nueva. The church was constructed in 1618, and was reformed in 1760 and has only one nave. The vault is hemispherical. There is a tower that was constructed in 1789. The tower and the facade of the church was the work of Francisco Astorga Frias and Antonio Gonzalez Sevillano, who were responsible for constructing the Plaza Ochavada. The top of the tower has geometric zigzag designs in green and white tiles and has a Mudejar style. The vault of the church is semicircular in shape. On the ceiling are designs of stars with eight points. The main altarpiece was made of wood during the 18th century, and has two levels and three divisions. The first level has statues of San Francisco de Paula and San Antonio on the sides. In the middle is the image of St. Michael conquering the devil. On the upper level there is a large crucifix of Christ. The church has the famous image of the Virgen del Fuelle, which has the Virgin holding the Christ Child in her arms, done in wood. This is a work of the Renaissance from the 16th century and comes from Flanders, donated to the church in 1736.

Church of La Victoria

The Church of la Victoria is located at the Plaza de la Victoria. The church dates from the 17th and 18th centuries and has an entrance in the mannerist style. At the top of the main facade there is a double arch, topped by a smaller arch. There are three naves that are separated by pillars. The central nave has a semicircular vault and there is a cupola too. One of the first side chapels has a large painting of the Final Judgment (painted at the end of the 17th century), with the Virgin Mary presenting the souls to the Holy Trinity. There are also twelve murals from the 18th century that present the life of San Francisco de Paula. The main altarpiece is white and gilded and comes from the 18th century and has the Rococo style, and in the center there is a statue of the Nazareno del Dulce Nombre (Nazarene with the Sweet Name), created by the followers of Pedro de Mena in 1675. The altarpiece is also decorated with 13 paintings, 12 of the Apostles and one of the Virgin Mary. The church has a statue of the Virgen de la Victoria, created by Dube de Luque in 1986.

Sanctuary of the Nazarene (Ermita del Nazareno)

The Sanctuary of the Nazarene is located on Calle Carrera, near the corner of Calle del Colegio. The chapel was constructed in 1688 and remodeled in 1778. Later the Escuelas Pias (a school for the boys of the most prominent families of Andalusia) incorporated the chapel into the school. In the 1990's, the chapel was again remodeled. There is only one nave in the chapel. The main altar has the Rococo style and contains the sculpture of Jesus Nazarene. The sculpture has been attributed to Diego de Vega and was sculpted in 1580. There is widespread devotion to this image of Christ. The chapel has a painting of the Virgen del Carmen, and another of San Juan Nepomuceno. Other artwork in the chapel are a painting of the Virgen de Gracia, a painting of the Apparition of the Virgin Mary to San Juan de la Cruz (18th century), and other chapel altarpieces.

Municipal Museum

The Municipal Museum is located at the Plaza de la Victoria and the building is called El Posito or "La Cilla". The building was constructed in 1580 to store agricultural products and belonged to the Duke of Osuna. It was reconstructed and the facade was given a Baroque look. In 1985 it was remodeled to hold the Town Hall, and a salon for ceremonies was created. Today the building is used as the Municipal Museum, and it shows the history of the town. The order of the exhibits is done chronologically. There are ceramics, documents, seals, coins, silver pieces, and other things that show the customs and local traditions. There are two beautiful men's red medieval costumes that are used during the Holy Week processions. The museum also shows a large painting of the Virgin of the Rosary, which was recently restored.

Practical Information

It is best to go to Archidona using a car, especially if one wants to go to the Sanctuary of the Virgen de Gracia. One can also take the bus from Malaga, but one needs to look at the schedule first.

Good Restaurant

A good restaurant in Archidona is the Restaurante Central. This is a large restaurant that has existed since 1960, with moderate prices. It is located at Calle Nueva, 49.

Visiting Hours:

Sanctuary of the Virgen de Gracia:

April to September: 08:00 to 14:00/ 18:30 to 21:30H.

October to March: 10:00 to 14:00/ 16:00 to 18:00H.

Church of Santa Ana (Open during Mass):

October to March: Wednesday and Friday: 19:00H.

April to September: Wednesday and Friday: 20:00H.

Sundays: 12:00H.

 

Convent of the Monjas Minimas:

09:00 to 13:00H.

Sale of convent sweets: 10:00 to 12:30H/ 17:00 to 19:00H.

Church of La Victoria (Open during Mass):

October to March: Saturday, 19:00H.

April to September: Saturday, 20:00H.

Sanctuary of the Nazarene:

19:00 to 21:00H.

Municipal Museum:

Winter:

Tuesday to Saturday: 11:30 to 13:30/ 16:30 to 18:30H.

Sunday and holidays: 11:30 to 13:30H.

Summer:

Tuesday to Saturday: 12:00 to 14:00/ 17:30 to 19:30H.

Sunday and holidays: 12:00 to 14:00H.