Weekly photo challenge: Beyond (2) – Vélez

By: roughseasinthemed

Jan 23 2013

Tags: , ,

Category: Architecture, History, Photography, Spain

14 Comments

Aperture:f/2.6
Focal Length:5.8mm
Shutter:1/320 sec

Living on the Costa del Sol isn’t quite the tourist grot spot of lager louts and sunbathers that popular images bring to mind.

My village is not a tourist destination, apart from endless Spaniards who often have second homes here, and locals, ie from Málaga who like the natural unspoilt beach that we have.

But otherwise, we are just an ordinary Spanish pueblo in the largely agricultural area of La Axarquía. The capital of our area is a typical county town in a largely countryside district. It’s not remotely flash or posh, and doesn’t have expensive designer shops.

We visit for vehicle parts, paint and chicken food. Last week was the chicken food run, and as luck has it, the chicken food shop, the supermarket (Mercadona) and the health food shop are all within easy walking distance of each other.

Go to chicken shop, cross road and visit Mercadona. Leave by bottom door, turn left for a few yards or so and visit health food shop. About the only sort of shopping I can manage.

We can park relatively near, which is useful when carrying ten kilos of chicken food. En route there is this strange chimney in the header photo. I have no idea what it is or was. There is no information plaque and I can’t find anything on the internet (probably haven’t looked hard enough).

Beyond the chimney, there are the endless hills of La Axarquía, and guarding the town is La Fortaleza.

The tower of the fortress at Vélez

The tower of the fortress at Vélez

It dates from the 12/13th century and has Arabic origins which is fairly obvious from the elegant Moorish doorway.

Classical Moorish architecture

Classical Moorish architecture

Vélez was founded in the tenth century by the Moors after they conquered Spain, and in the 13/14th centuries it was one of the main cities of the Nasrid kingdom of Granada.

Most of the population was Muslim, and there were five main mosques in town with 15 smaller ones. While the population back then was around 6,000, today it is more than 50,000. Far more than Gibraltar! But there again it is much bigger.

However, like Gibraltar, it is in a key strategic position and was surrendered to the Christians in 1487 who needed to take the city as part of the reconquest of Andalucía. Naturally, the Christians didn’t get rid of the Muslims immediately as they needed the dried fruit, silk and sweet Málaga wine for revenue. A hundred years later, enough Christians had migrated into the area and learned about Muslim farming methods so the Muslims were kicked out.

And people wonder why Muslims have a gripe? OK, this is not a photoblog and nor is it a political blog, but really, to conquer a settled people, steal their knowledge and then kick them out is beyond the pale, to me. Luckily the heritage is still around us in the glorious architecture and the many terraced hillsides that date back to that original Moorish period in Andalucía.

So this is perhaps more in keeping with the WordPress challenge for beyond.

DT note, I was waiting for this to come up and thought, hmmm, a deep blue-grey maybe?

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14 comments on “Weekly photo challenge: Beyond (2) – Vélez”

  1. Another Spanished themed ‘beyond’. I like it!

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    • Thank you. The other end of the country to Barca! Most of my Spanish pix end up on roughseas blog, and I’m planning another post on there, but needs a bit of research and I am feeling slightly brain dead about coping with the Spanish economy. Or lack of. Thanks for the visit.

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  2. Very soothing images… thanks for sharing!
    What lies beyond a powerful and almost painful image? Let me know your thoughts! Thanks

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  3. Your village sounds like a lovely ‘escape from it all’ life.
    I love the photo of the tower, there is something very inviting about it that makes me want to walk up the track and explore. I remember you posted another a while ago that gave me the same feeling.

    Sorry had a bit of a splutter when I saw the grey 😉

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    • Our village is funny. It’s not pretty, it’s not really anything which is probably why it suits. It is however extremely eccentric, even more reason why it suits. Strange place, someone once said to A that the people had three toes from our pueblo!!

      It’s known for being slightly unique and even in times of poverty it is a relatively rich village and hellish difficult to buy into, especially in the old town.

      I love going up there, except it is quite difficult to find in the Landy. Easier to walk to. We had one expedition where I was freaking out when we drove back down through what seemed like pavements, I thought we were going to get stuck!

      At least it is a dark grey 🙂 I’ll try and do better for another pic. See what else I can come up with for beyond which is quite an interesting one.

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  4. […] Weekly photo challenge: Beyond (2) – Vélez « Every picture tells one […]

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  5. Beautiful post 🙂

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  6. I have a liking for ‘beyond’ and the town part sounds to be as I like a country town – practical but the path, tower & fortress and urban aspect of the landscape are appealing. I laughed at your comment to Vicky… the first para could describe TA., and what I like about it.

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    • Ha! about TA. Don’t you find that the pretty places are not always the best? Although TA looks nice from your pix, but maybe my village does too?

      Vélez is an odd place (a bit like my village), it is slightly reminiscent of an irish town or an Aussie one, maybe why it appeals to us. It’s got pretty much most of what we need. There is also a vile shopping centre on the outskirts that I do my best to avoid and send A there if we ever need anything.

      The fortress is a nice place, very calm and tranquil, with superb views out to sea.

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      • Your village looks lovely… like a village and the history & Spanish-ness is captivating. Ditto for Gib – foreign/beyond appeal.
        TA has beautiful natural surroundings but the village is a strip of tarred road a few light poles with a mishmash of houses and a ruiniously renovated pub…

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        • Think from time to time there are seven pubs in our village, including the ice cream bar which sells alcohol so therefore qualifies as a bar in my opinion.

          Laughed at your description of TA. It looks beautiful from your photos, but isn’t that the case? Somewhere else always looks lovely.

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  7. […] Weekly photo challenge: Beyond (2) – Vélez « Every picture tells one […]

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