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The famous dragging of tins takes place in Paseo de la Victoria. Archidona town hall
How one of the noisiest Three Kings traditions in Malaga province started
Inland tourism

How one of the noisiest Three Kings traditions in Malaga province started

The town of Archidona celebrates its famous dragging of tins to greet the arrival of Melchior, Gaspar and Balthazar and offers a wide range of exciting things to do if you're planning a visit

Javier Almellones

Archidona

Friday, 5 January 2024, 10:08

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It is not the best known, but certainly the noisiest of the festive traditions in Malaga province. The children of Archidona will try to attract the attention of the Three Kings by dragging empty tin cans along the ground on the morning of Friday 5 January.

From 11am the curious pilgrimage will start on Paseo de la Victoria. Dozens of families from this town and other surrounding areas will walk to Plaza Ochavada to the deafening roar of tin cans being dragged along the ground by the children.

The tradition goes back a long way. According to Archidona, it was started during the post-war years, when there was a shortage of both toys and food. For years the tradition was lost, until it was revived in 2004.

Once they arrive at Plaza Ochavada they will be welcomed by the Three Kings, just a few hours before Melchior, Gaspar and Balthazar make their way through the streets for the traditional Three Kings parade.

The event could be a good reason to visit Archidona this Friday, a municipality with a rich historical heritage. In addition to Plaza Ochavada, there are churches and several notable buildings such as La Cilla or the Luis Barahona de Soto secondary school in the old town, where the father of Andalusian independence, Blas Infante, studied. Other buildings of interest in the historic centre of the town are the church of Santa Ana and the convent of Las Mínimas, where you can usually buy traditional sweets, both at Christmas and during the rest of the year.

Much of Archidona's historical legacy resides almost a thousand metres above sea level on the Cerro de la Virgen hill, which is only a five-minute drive away from the centre of the town. There, you will find the fortress of Andalusian origin, which has been restored in recent years, as well as the sanctuary of the Virgen de Gracia.

Nor should you leave Archidona without taking one of its various trails, including the Hoz de Marín, the sections of the Gran Senda de Malaga, or the circular route that takes you to the cave of Las Grajas.

You can also enjoy a varied gastronomy in Archidona which offers the most traditional tapas to avant-garde cuisine offered by the Arxiduna. The town also produces artisan products, such as the mollete archidonés, extra virgin olive oil (from hojiblanca to gordal), pistachio nuts or the sausage known as relleno.

What to visit

Plaza Ochavada: This is the most popular spot for the locals of Archidona. It is an eight-sided square with Neo-Mudejar and Baroque features. Where: In the historic centre.

Arab fortress: The old citadel of Archidona has been restored where today you can enjoy a spectacular tour of Archidona's Andalusian past and even remember the origin of the famous legend of the Peña de los Enamorados (Lovers' Rock). Where: On the Cerro de la Virgen.

Sanctuary of the Virgen de Gracia: Inside the old fortress of Archidona, you will find this chapel, where not only is the Virgen de Gracia worshipped but you can also see the remains of an old mosque. Where: In the castle of Archidona.

Hoz del arroyo Marín: A beautiful path leads to one of the most valuable natural enclaves in Malaga, a spectacular limestone gorge known as the Hoz. Where: Access by footpath.

Where to eat

Central: The tapas at this restaurant attract many diners who want to make a quick stop for a break on a tourist route in Archidona. However, it is not only an ideal place for tapas but also for lunch and to enjoy its varied menu. These days you can find everything from prawns with avocados to homemade migas (breadcrumbs) or lamb chops. This is one of the most traditional restaurants in the Sierra Norte de Malaga region. In this restaurant, both the quantity and the quality of the dishes are surprising. Among the desserts, one of the most popular is the highly recommended pistachio tart. Where: Calle Nueva, 49, 29300 Archidona. Telephone: 952 717 469.

Arxiduna: In the Plaza Ochavada is one of the most prestigious restaurants in Malaga province, where chef Rubén Antón surprises diners with traditional and innovative dishes. Where: Plaza Ochavada de Andalucía, 7, 29300 Archidona. Telephone: 951 835 207. www.restaurantearxiduna.com

Where to stay

Cortijo Alzamigaja: Today it is possible to stay in an authentic 19th century Andalusian farmhouse. It is located in an area close to Huertas del Río, among a sea of olive trees. Nine spacious rooms and other spaces that preserve the spirit of the architecture of the period await you. Where: Cortijo Alzamigaja, s/n. 29300 Archidona, Málaga Telephone: 645 841 975. www.casaruralenmalaga.com

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