La Vinuela

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Lake Vinuela History

Image The River Guaro valley, which has been turned into a reservoir, is the axis of this municipality, whose territory borders the Colmenar corridor on the north and the La Axarquía Mountains on the south. These two geographic features form different landscapes. Thus, while the former area exhibits low relief that is ideal for grain fields and olive groves the latter terrain, south of the reservoir, becomes more uneven due to the presence of hills whose plant cover is composed mainly of brush and a few stands of evergreen oaks, but olive groves and vineyards are also found there. 

In the central part of the municipality is the La Viñuela reservoir, the largest in capacity in the province of Málaga and one of the main tourist resources in the region. From its shores can be seen a broad landscape dominated by the formidable mass of the Sierra de Tejeda range and the whimsical shape of the Boquete de Zafarraya mountain pass. Despite this, there are no great elevations in the municipality of La Viñuela, as its highest point does not reach 600 metres. The most notable peaks are the hills of Ballesteros (361 metres), on the border of Alcaucín, Castaño (316 metres) and Agudo, which at 558 metres, ranks as the highest elevation in the municipality and serves as the dividing line with Vélez Málaga.

La Viñuela was founded, as a village, in the eighteenth century, making it the most modern locality in La Axarquía but, paradoxically, this was one of the first areas of human settlement, which occurred at least as far back as the Paleolithic period. This is not surprising because this area is a natural pass to the northern territories and has also always been rich in water.

More than ten archaeological sites were excavated before being covered by the reservoir waters, but the most notable prehistoric signs are along the River Guaro, where remains dating from the Neolithic period to the Roman era have been found: cane and adobe huts, a bronze smelting oven and stone tools, as well as bell-shaped vessels and decorative motifs. Judging from the finds corresponding to the Roman era, there is every indication that the economy of the time was based on olives, grapes and grain crops, much as in the present day.

Apparently, this locality sprang up around an ancient inn on the Royal Road from Vélez-Málaga to Granada at a place that in the early seventeenth century was called La Viñuela (the Little Vineyard) in reference to some small vineyards in the vicinity, and which has been converted into today’s La Plaza bar. As time went on other buildings began to be built near the inn, and thus the village was formed. Its first mayor, Lucas García del Rey, took office in 1764.

In the nineteenth century La Viñuela had some 700 residents, most of whom were engaged in agriculture and particularly the raising of cattle. With the phylloxera pest of the late nineteenth century, the vineyards were levelled and replaced, where the land was suitable, with citrus groves

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Surface Area:

27.3 square kilometres
Population: about 1,500
What the natives are called: Viñoleros. Nickname: Polacos
Monuments: the San José church, La Virgen de las Angustias hermitage, Torre de la Atalaya (watchtower), archaeological sites, and the La Viñuela reservoir
Geographical Location: in the central part of the La Axarquía region north of Vélez-Málaga. The locality is 151 metres above sea level. It is 10 kilometres from Vélez Málaga and 40 from the provincial capital. The municipality registers an average rainfall of 570 litres per square metre and the average annual temperature is 17º C.
Tourist Information: Town Hall, Calle Vélez-Málaga, 23 (29712)
Telephone: 952 519 002; Fax: 952 519 088

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