This village in the Axarquía is located between Comares, Benamarcosa and El Borge. J. A.
This is the village in Malaga province where Islamic manuscripts were hidden for five centuries

This is the village in Malaga province where Islamic manuscripts were hidden for five centuries

Cútar in the Axarquía is also home to other reminders of Al-Analus, including the Aina Alcaharia fountain and Algorfa arch

Javier Almellones


Monday, 24 June 2024, 17:39

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Twenty-one years ago the renovation of a house in the village of Cútar in the Axarquía on the eastern side of Malaga province led to a surprising discovery. Hidden behind an old partition wall were a copy of the Koran and two manuscripts written in Arabic.

They had been there since 1500, when the Imam, Muhammad al-Ŷayyār, of the local mosque decided to hide them before fleeing the village after the Reconquista.

There is more about Muhammad al-Ŷayyār's life and indeed village life during the Al-Andalus period at La Alquería de Cútar, which last year replaced the well-known Museo del Monfí (Monfí museum).

One of the landmarks of this village is the passage under what was once an 'algorfa'. J. A.

The content of the manuscripts left by the imam in his own handwriting is analysed in the visitors centre. The bitterness of leaving his land and the hope of returning are some of the perceptions that visitors will take away from a visit to the museum space, which is currently open to the public at weekends, although it is advisable to check its opening hours beforehand.

Today it is probably the best, but not the only excuse to visit this village, the traditional muscatel raisin still reigns supreme over the invasion of subtropical fruits nearer the coast.

Long before the books were discovered, Cútar's Andalusian past was already known about thanks to three important landmarks. The most well-known is the fountain that welcomes visitors arriving from Comares or Benamargosa. Today it is still known as 'Aina Alcaharia' or 'de la alquería'.

This symbol of the importance and abundance of water in the area is now used as one of Cútar's tourist slogans, 'Fuente del Paraíso' (fountain of paradise), since, according to municipal records, up to twelve springs were once counted in the village.

The upper part of the church tower has been free of whitewash for years. J. A.

Another sign is the layout of the village, which is situated on a hill and under the gaze of nearby Comares, which in its day was the head of the 'Taha' (area). It is a good idea to park your car on the outskirts of the village and explore the narrow streets on foot.

It takes little more than an hour to walk through all the streets, as it is a small village with about six hundred inhabitants. Particularly quiet on weekdays, it is a haven for those looking for a peaceful getaway.

The 16th century Mudéjar-style church was presumably built on the foundations of the former mosque, of which the aforementioned Al-Ŷayyār was the imam before fleeing the village.

There are also the remains of what was once an 'algorfa', i.e. a granary situated above a house. Today it is possible to pass underneath thanks to an open passage between two narrow streets, which can be reached by a pedestrian walkway.

The Al-Andalus legend of the Bird of Death has survived to the present day in Cútar. According to the myth, a woman who turned into a large bird abducted the men of the village during the night to take them to a crystal palace.

This story is today also part of the heritage of an Andalusian village that has managed to preserve part of its Al-Andalus past.

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