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Torrox

Torrox

Surface Area: 50 square kilometres

Population: 16,395

What the natives are called:Torroxeños.

Nickname: Hocicones

Monuments: the Roman complex of El Faro de Torrox(Roman villa, bathhouses, necropolis, etc.), the Nuestra Señora de la Encarnación parish church, the Nuestra Señora de las Nieves hermitage and convent, San Roque church, Casa de la Moneda (Mint)
Geographical Location:
 in the southern part of the region of La Axarquía, at the foot of the Tejeda and Almijara mountain ranges. The village is 145 metres above sea level and is 40 kilometres from the city of Málaga and 20 from Vélez Málaga. Average precipitation within the municipality is 530 litres per square metre and the average annual temperature is 19º C.
Tourist Information: 
Tourism Office, Centro Internacional, Bloque 79 bajo (29770). Telephone: (+34) 952 53 02 25 Fax: (+34) 952 53 02 25  E-mail:torrox@turismotorrox.com

This municipality’s terrain is so rugged that it seems to positively abhor level land, being an endless succession of ravines and hills. Due to their proximity to the sea, the hills do not rise to great altitudes. Their highest points such as La Rábita de Torrox and the Cocoja, which abound in low brush, are not more than 700 metres high.

The Torrox stream, which the villagers also call Patalamara, La Plata or Argentino, crosses the municipality from north to south and its waters are used to the full for irrigation before they empty into the sea at Punta de Torrox. The municipality has nine kilometres of sandy beaches along which lie the population centres of Torrox Costa and El Morche.

This municipality is an eminently agricultural landscape, but due to the extremely uneven terrain, there has been no alternative but to terrace the hills to make use of the land and make it cultivable. Thus, terraces are the most noticeable feature of an area where subtropical fruits have found a perfect home.

A polished axe from the Neolithic period has been found at the hamlet of Los Casarones, some two kilometres north of the village, proving that there were already human settlements in this area at that time. It probably was also colonised by Punics or Phoenicians, considering the proximity of the Trayamar and Mezquitilla archaeological sites in Algarrobo Costa. This continues to be just a hypothesis, however, since so far no remains have been found to prove it.

There is no room for doubt, however, of the strong Roman presence in the area known as Faro or Punta de Torero. Substantial remains have been found there of the city of Caviclum, which was founded in the first century and remained active at least until the eighth century. It was around the middle of that century that Omeya Abderramán established himself in Torrox after landing at Almuñécar, and he would shortly afterwards establish the independent Caliphate of Córdoba.

Some historians identify Torrox as Hisn Turrus, where in the year 914 troops under Abderramán III defeated those of Omar Ibn Hafsun, the Muladí rebel who had set out to topple the Caliphate of Córdoba. After this event, Torrox came under the jurisdiction of Frigiliana. It is known that throughout the long Muslim domination the village was an important silk producer, which is why its irrigated lowlands were devoted to raising mulberry trees.

The fall of Vélez to the Christian troops in 1487 had such an effect on the region that many other localities surrendered without a fight in order to prevent greater problems. Torrox did so on 29 April 1487, just two days after the taking of Vélez. Very shortly afterwards, however, the chieftain El Zagal recaptured the village for the Muslims, in whose hands it would remain only a few months before passing again into the control of the Christian.

When the Morisco rebellion broke out in 1568, half the population was made up of Old Christians and the other half of Moriscos. Many of the latter took part in the El Peñón de Frigilianainsurrection. By the year 1571 at least 22 Moriscos from Torrox had been prosecuted by the Tribunal del Santo Oficio (Holy Office Tribunal) of Granada. It is documented that the members of the Quilat family were burned at the stake, accused of professing the Mohammedan religion.

The significant participation by the Moriscos of this area in the uprising resulted in stern repression that caused the abandonment of the eight Arabic settlements that made up the municipal territory: Alhandiga, Almeida, Arcos Benamayor, Cajauja, Lautín, Lugarejo and Periana (a different locality from the modern one).

During the eighteenth century the local economy was based on sugar cane production, to which more than 80 per cent of the arable land in the municipality was devoted, and there were two sugar mills. The El Faro de Torrox ruins were discovered in 1773, at which time the municipal population was about 3,000.

Torrox entered the nineteenth century with an epidemic of yellow fever in 1804 that decimated the population. A few years later it suffered the occupation by the Napoleonic troops, who in 1812 “bade farewell” to the village by blowing up the castle. Nevertheless, the municipality was experiencing unusual prosperity in the middle of the century. At that time it had two olive oil mills, two potteries, three flour mills, a brandy distillery and the sugar mill that belonged to the Larios family.

 

How to Get There

The turning for Torrox is clearly marked on the Mediterranean Expressway (A-7 or N-340) on the stretch between Vélez Málaga and Nerja, and that road will lead straight to there with no further changes.