Ecological tourism in Monda · Malaga · Andalusia · Spain
Ecological tourism Monda, History and Activities
Monda is a Spanish municipality in the autonomous community of Andalusia, located in the province of Malaga, in the Region of the Sierra de las Nieves. The town is located at 427 meters altitude and its municipal term has a surface area of 58 km² and has a population of 2342 inhabitants. The village is located 45 km from Malaga airport and 15 km from Marbella (Costa del Sol).
Sierra de las Nieves
The finding of Neolithic axes in the fields near the municipality, the existence of a Roman bridge over the Arroyo de la Teja and an ancient Roman road in its vicinity, or the presence in the foundations of the mortar castle of the type used by Roman builders, suggest that Monda has been a very ancient place of settlement of successive civilizations. At the end of century IX, when his kingdom extended by almost all Andalusia, Omar Ben Hafsun built the castle of Al Mundat to defend of the Cordobesastroups. This was after the revolt of Bobastro against the power of Cordoba.
The castle was razed by Saib leader Ibn Al-Mundir in 308 AH. It was then rebuilt in the 11th century by the Hammudies; In the thirteenth century Monda was an important place in the region. The municipality surrendered in 1485 to Hurtado de Luna, captain of the Catholic Kings, who was the first Christian governer of Monda.
It belonged to the jurisdiction of Malaga to be a beneficiary of the Fuero de Sevilla, remaining to live in the village the Muslims who inhabited it as Mudéjares, until after the rebellion of 1501 in the mountainous area of Ronda and in the area of Marbella and Istán, were forced to convert to Christianity. In 1508 King Fernando grants to the Marques de Villena and Duke of Escalona, the mastery of the villas of Tolox and Monda at the request of Doña Juana. In 1570, the expulsion of the Moors from the kingdom of Granada was accomplished and they were to be replaced by 80 families of Christians to whom the goods of the expelled Moriscos were surrendered. The old Muslim population being moved to the lower parts. During the war of independence Monda played an important role in the strategy of the Spanish general Ballesteros, directing the mountain guerillas.
Some historians situate here the celebrated battle of Munda between Julius Caesar and the brothers Pompeii. What seems certain is that with the entry of the Muslims to the peninsula, the lands that today make up the municipality were integrated in the defensive system of the Guadalhorce Valley, by means of the construction of its castle.The castle, whose vestiges still linger over the present municipality, is occupied by a hotel nowadays and as a large part of the municipality dedicated to visitors who want to know and learn about their customs.It is usually a very quiet place to slow down, breathing healthy air. Strolling through their forests and rediscovering the illusion in contact with nature and the five senses.
Monuments and places of interest
Among the monuments of Monda are the following:
- Castle of Arab origin, which is now a hotel.
- Calvary monument.
- Fountain of the Cage (its real name was La Jaura or "Al-Xaura") that used to be a laundry place.
- Church of Santiago Apostle built on an Arab oratory in the sixteenth century and rebuilt in the seventeenth century.
- Numerous sources that supply the town (sources of La Villa, La Esquina, Mea-Mea, La Jaula (the cage), Los Morales, ...)
- Monument to the coalman in the square of the hermitage.
- Roman road and Roman bridge.• Hermitage of San Roque, in the place of Alpujata.
Currently the municipality is among one of the Sierra de las Nieves Biosphere Natural Park in Malaga to the west of the province. This Park gathers and protects the best of a territory that is characterized by a very abrupt relief, with mountains that are around two thousand meters, (like the Torrecilla that constitutes the roof of the province of Malaga), deep ravines and trenches like the one of The Caina, with more than a hundred meters of emptiness, and canyons that reach the thousand meters of depth. In the Sierra de las Nieves there are several geographical circumstances that explain its unique physiognomy and its peculiar nature. First is his situation.
The park is located between three very different geographical areas: the Serranía de Ronda, the Guadalhorce Valley and the Costa del Sol Occidental, each with its own physical and environmental characteristics. Secondly, it is in the middle of a transition between Atlantic and Mediterranean influence. And third, its territory has a huge difference in altitude, going from a hundred meters to almost two thousand in a few kilometers. All these circumstances provoke the existence of an infinity of microclimates that produces a very original flora.
Among all the vegetation, the most original representative and ambassador of the park is the Pinsapo.Pinsapo is a species of spruce that is a relic of the glacial epoch in the peninsula and that today only grows in the high mountains of the western end of the Subotica mountain range and in the mountain range of Yebala, to the north of Morocco. The Sierra de las Nieves is one of the largest in the world. Some of its specimens are around 500 years old, like the one of the Escalereta, which measures more than five meters of diameter and twenty-six meters of height.
Its age is estimated in more than three hundred and fifty years, which makes it the oldest Pinsapo that exists in the Park. It has been declared a Natural Monument. In the extensive pinapar forest of Yunquera, is also located the rare blue pinsapo, which owes its name to the turquoise color acquired by its perennial leaves and which stands out strongly when it is next to a dark green, which is its most normal tone.
The pinsapar is accompanied in some zones of quejigos (very abundant formerly but that today it is scarce because of abusive felling), majuelos, juniper, yew, ash and maples. Also notable for their rarity are the oak and cork oak formations of the Istán and Monda mountains, and the clumps of carob and chestnut trees of Tolox and Parauta. A good way to know all this forest diversity is to carry out some of the motorcycle and 4x4 routes that have been specially designed by the park for this purpose, such as Monda-Istán.
Sierra de las Nieves is also a sanctuary for wildlife. In the park, protected species such as the wild cat, the king eagle, the king owl or the otter live in the park, although the most representative animal is the mountain goat, which is accompanied by other great ungulates like roe deer, fallow deer and mouflon and wild pigs. To be able to observe this natural wealth, it is necessary to enter the heart of the park, which is around the highest levels, located above 1,500 meters above sea level. It is a task that requires some effort because the park lacks roads inside and only has forest tracks.
The name of the Park reveals the presence of snow in its high peaks. The locals stored it as ice in the snowstorms and, taking advantage of the nights, went down to the villages on the coast and even to Malaga on the back of mules. There are still several wells in the park, some of them recovered and rebuilt so that this old office does not fall into oblivion. You can see them on the trails of Puerto Saucillo -Torrecilla and Quejigales -Torrecilla.