Rio Gordo

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Image Although it is not very large the municipal territory of Riogordo contains three different natural areas that even the most inattentive visitor will not fail to notice. The northern part, the most rugged, is crowned by the Tajo de Gómer (Gómer cliff, 1,129 metres) and the Sierra del Rey mountains with the Castejón peak (972 metres). Between these mountain masses flows the River La Cueva, whose headwaters are in El Borbollón de Auta and which forms a small valley abounding in grain fields and grazing lands. Farther south is a landscape of gentle hills covered with olive trees, which continues to be the main plant cover of the municipality when yet farther south the terrain again becomes abrupt and acquires the typical characteristics of the Málaga Mountains. 

It is a curious fact that this village at its foundation took the name of the river and not the opposite, since it is customary for a river that passes through a village to adopt its name. Perhaps this shows the degree to which this locality has been dependent on its river, whose name refers to the water being mineral-laden or “gordo” (fat). In years past, the present River La Cueva was known as the River Gordo or River De Oro (River of Gold). The first human settlements were established in its environs in the Neolithic Period, to be precise at El Tajo de Gómer.

Some tombs from the period of Phoenician colonisation have been found adjacent to Sierrecilla del Rey, and the villas at Auta, that of Llano del Rey and Capellanía, with magnificent third-century mosaics, are from the Roman period. There is no doubt, however, that it was during the Arabic domination that this area experienced its greatest growth.

The theory that the Bobastro castle was in the vicinity of the Auta farmstead is held by some historians, who go even further and state that this castle may have been the birthplace of Omar Ben Hafsun, the Muladí chieftain who according to other historians was born in Parauta, in the Ronda highlands.

After it was conquered by the Christians in 1487 Riogordo belonged to Comares, and most of its lands passed into the hands of Francisco de Coalla, regent of Málaga, first Lord of Auta and castle commandant of Comares. Before the conquest, the locality was known as Aprisco de Majianza, and at the beginning of the sixteenth century, it was already being referred to as Puebla de Riogordo. It was during the last part of this century and the first part of the following one that the village doubled its population (from 620 to 1,176), possibly due to the protection provided by Comares.

The village’s economic growth and the flow of population to it are shown by the fact that in 1561 the village had three brothels controlled by one Sancho Marroquí, while three innkeepers were in charge of “sheltering in their houses and inns all the women of the street that may go there to earn money with their bodies”. Riogordo was designated a municipality in 1552 and its first corregidor (magistrate) was Francisco Hernández.

The establishment of vineyards in the eighteenth century again favoured the village’s demographic growth, and according to the census, it contained 2,120 souls in 1787. The population would continue to increase until 1882, when the phylloxera pest broke out and the vineyards were destroyed.


Surface Area:

40.6 square kilometres
Population:about 3,000
What the natives are called:Riogordeños. Nickname: Panzones
Monuments:the Nuestra Señora de Gracia parish church and the San Sebastián or Jesús Nazareno hermitage, Ethnographic Museum
Geographical Location:in the north-western part of the La Axarquía region. The village is 400 metres above sea level. It is 33 kilometres from Málaga, about the same from Vélez Málaga and 6 kilometres from Colmenar. The average rainfall in the area is 575 litres per square metre and the average annual temperature is 16.2º C.
Tourist Information:Town Hall, Plaza de la Constitución, 14 (29180)
Telephone:952 732 154; Fax: 952 732 380


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