Frigiliana Town – History Of This Whitewashed Andalucia Village

Nancy B. Alston

Frigiliana is situated just 7km from Nerja at the foot of the Almijara Mountains; tourist visiting for the first time can’t help but fall in love with this charming village. In the centre of the old quarter, set in a plaza is the Church. It was in fact a mosque during the Moors occupation. Today the plaza is full of restaurants and coffee bars with tables set outside. Take a coffee, meal or glass of wine in this tranquil setting and watch the world go by.

The whitewashed Moorish style houses are just a canvas for the array of colourful flowers displayed outside every home. Like so many old Andalucian villages, Frigiliana is all steps and narrow road, this, whilst taxing is actually very rewarding. For round each corner or through each archway is another charming sight or interesting curiosity.

For instance, when wandering around the narrow cobbled streets, stop and read the ceramic plaques depicting historical events located on street corners. The plaques tell the story of the rebellion in Frigiliana by the Moriscos against the Christian rulers of the area. In 1502 the Spanish gave the Moors an ultimatum, either convert to Christianity or leave Spain.

Prior to their feigned conversion, the Moriscos were known as Mudéjars (The name Moriscos refers to Moors converting from Islam to Catholicism). Philip II of Spain issued a directive in 1567 that the Moors had to give up their Muslim customs; they were not even aloud to speak Arabic. They were then informed their children would be taken from them and given to Christian Priests to be educated

This caused an uprising in 1568. In 1571 at the end of the revolt was particularly violent. The Moriscos of the village and the countryside around Frigiliana, fought to the death against a professional army led by the governor of the garrison at Nerja. The final act of the battle was staged by the surviving Moriscos women, who threw themselves to their deaths from the rocky heights above the village rather than be taken into captivity. It is rumoured that some of the bones can still be found scattered in the countryside along with the weapons they used.

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