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La Viñuela village. SUR
La Viñuela: The tale of a small vineyard and an inn
THE STORY BEHIND A PLACE NAME

La Viñuela: The tale of a small vineyard and an inn

The village shares its name with the Axarquía's reservoir which was built in 1981, when 900 hectares of land in the area were flooded

Jennie Rhodes

La Viñuela

Friday, 3 November 2023, 18:35

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The village of La Viñuela in the Axarquía shares its name with the area's reservoir and the village is known, perhaps ironically at the moment given the current drought crisis, as the Oasis of the Axarquía.

La Viñuela got its name from a sixteenth century 'venta' or inn, which still stands today on the main street in the village.

The place where the inn is located was known as 'La Viñuela' because it had a small vineyard (viña in Spanish) in the surrounding area.

It was around the venta that other buildings started to be constructed until it became a village in the eighteenth century. It was located on what was then the 'Camino Real' (royal highway), running from Malaga to Granada, making the inn a popular place for weary travellers to stop.

Although La Viñuela is one of the Axarquía's most modern villages, archaeological remains, including adobe reed huts and smelting furnaces used during the Bronze Age, show that it has been inhabited since the Palaeolithic period and during the Roman and Bronze ages. Mills for grinding olives and Roman pots for transporting oil have also been found in the area.

The decision to build a reservoir near La Viñuela was already being discussed in 1890 but it wasn't until 1981 that it became a reality. Some 900 hectares of land were flooded, including the village of Herrera and the Matagallar farmstead.

Other hamlets belonging to La Viñuela have since grown up, all overlooking the dam and the Sierra Almijara, Tejeda and Alhama mountains with La Maroma, Malaga province's highest peak at 2,064 metres above sea level, dominating the skyline.

Los Romanes, Las Casillas, Los Castillejos, Los Calderones, Ermita and Los Ventorros have become popular among foreign residents who have chosen the peace and tranquillity of the Axarquía to call home.

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