Alhama de Granada – Itinerary by the Tajos and Alhama Dam
Itinerary by the Tajos and Alhama Dam
From this viewpoint a path leads you into the heart of the Tajo (gorge) within 5 minutes. The reiverside path provides you with the opportunity to take a pleasent walk through the microclimate created by the vegetation along the reiverbank, yet surrounded by spectacular countryside.
After about 2 km path ends at the point where it meets the Alhama de Granada – Játar road and where you also reach the Presa (man-made lake for hydro-electricity) of the River Alhama.
The countryside in fron of you was formed by the river, creatin the impressive vertical walls of the Tajos de Alhama. The cliffs are made up of material from the Tertiary (Miocene) and Quaternary eras (approximately 25.5-5.2 millions of years ago). A large amount of vegetable and animal fossils can be found in the cliffs dating from between 15.2 million and 5.2 million years ago. This places them in the Serravallian and Tortonian faunal stages of the Miocene epoch.
The Tajo is why Alhama is where it is. The impregnable character of its walls protected and secured the city against enemies for centuries.
The people of Alhama have always made use of the natural resources offered by this environment. River water has been used to drive millstones and to generate electricity, the terracing of the hillside for vegetable plots and orchards, the pastures to feed cattle, etc.
There are three distinct types of vegetation on this walk; the riverbank wood, the rock-dwelling vegetation of the Tajo walls and the Mediterranean undergrowth of the hillsides.
There´s a lot to enjoy between these two walls. GO AND FIND IT!!
¡Ay de mi Alhama!
This is the lament that a passionate romance fronterizo (poem describing battles against the Moors) put in the mouth of the Moorish king of Granada when he heard of the loos of this city to the Christians forces. A few centuries later, the Romantic traveller Teófilo Gautier discovered the city´s existence “….hanging on an enormous rock or peak like an eagle´s nest”. The city of Alhama and its Tajo form a unique countryside. The Tajo, which in the time of the MOors emphasised the fortified nature of Alhama, also shaped important aspects of the economic and cultural life of the city and of the daily existence of its citizens, and has done so ever since.
- At the left hand side of the track that goes through the bottom of the Tajo you can clearly see the pilas de lavar (stones sinks for washing clothes) acarved out of the rock by the people of the town.
- Los Molinos (flour mills) of Santa Teresa, La Purísima, San Antonio, San Francisco and Nuestra Señora del Carmen, all in the bottom of the Tajo, must have been used to process the best part of the cereal production of the peasant farmers. Under the walls of the first of these mills you can see archaeological remains of the oldest mill in this area.
- The kinetic energy of the river wasn´t only used to grind cereal. The electrification of these lands was possible thanks to the installation of a hydroelectric generator further down the river.
- The Ermita de Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles (the chapel of our lady of the angels), near the start of the route through the Tajo commemorates an event of 2 August, 1500, when a horse rider coming from Málaga fell over the precipice without suffering any injury. (The story endures to this day that you can see the prints of the horse´s hooves on a large flat rock several meters beyond the chapel.