Alora – Municipal Museum
Alora – Municipal Museum
The Municipal Museum of Álora is atached to the impressive Parish Church of Nuestra Señora de la Encarnación, in the Virgen de los Dolores Coronada Square.
Álora has been for centuries one of the main towns of the Guadalhorce region, where some of the most important cultures of the Mediterranean have left their mark. Its rooted history offers a vast artistic heritage that comprises the splendid Mourish Castle which is a true symbol of the city, some monumental churches and winding streets full of tradition.
The Municipal Museum of Álora, transmitter body of the municipality´s history, is housed in the School of Christ, Mudéjar construction of the 16th century which was probably the Hospital Chapel of St. Sebastian, built by the Catholic Monarchs. This building was the headquarters of the priestly order of the School of Christ, a denomination which currently receives.
The room is a quadrangular building, with eight perimeter columns and four strong pillars in the center, that support nine ribbed vaults. All this area´s construction is brick and has great strength reinforcements, which determines the existence on the top floor of Cilla Decimal for grain storage.
2 Million Years B.C. 700 B.C
Good climate, fauna, fertile land and communications facilities were factors that put Álora toghether with teh Guadalhorce Valley to produce excellent conditions in the life of prehistoric man.
The first settlers were hunters and gatherers, highlighting the central role that the Guadalhorce river as a means of providing raw material in the manufacture of flint to help themselves in their tasks. They created various types of tools, striking the flint to get a cutting edge; the knives were used to cut meat and remove the sking of animals, since they were skilled hunters, and scrapers for tanning hides and manufactured clothing.
Their descendants became farmers, practicing agriculture and the domestication of animals, in little lasting settlements. They incorporate useful polished hand mills for crushing grain, while hand-made pottery is produced for home use.
An imortant discovery was the production of metals. They began working copper, prepared by hitting it with stones, later going to use bronze, much stronger and with which they could make tools and arrowheads type Pamela, daggers tongue and punches. To make these objects, bronze was melted and placed into molds with the shape of the object to perform.
There are prehistoric remains in different fields, among them, the Terrazas de Canca, Cerro de las Torres, The Black Rock, Hole Count and the Cave of the Infantes. The types of materials found are household untensils and hunting tools.
From the end of the VIII B.C until the end of III B.C.
The Phoenicians founded a large number of colonies along the coasts of the Mediterranean Sea. One of this factories that the Phoenicians colonists introduced, settled in the river Guadalhorce, considering the exploitation of mineral the main objective of theses. However, soon after that the use of the agricultural resources began to carry out.
These facts made excelllent conditions for trade between the Phoenicians and the indigenous people of the Guadalhorce Valley. The testimonies of these commercial activities appear in Álora in the “Cerro de las Torres” and in the “Peñón de la Almona”, pottery made lathe shpaed and with diferent types according to their usefulness, such as vases, bowls, pots, glasses.
At the time of the fall of the Phoenician culture, in the province of Málaga, the territory was divided, leaving them on the coast. While inside, the Iberian people settled in the higher areas of the territory.
In Álora, the Iberians placed their village in the “Cerro de las Torres”, where exellent defensive conditions where found to control the route of entry of the Guadalhorce river. Closely related to that town, there is a pottery located on the slopes of “Cerro de las Torres”, which worked between III and I centuries BC. responding to the demand of the area, manufacturing decorated ceramic based on concentric circles of wine-red color.
S. II .B C. – S. V A.C.
Where is it Iluro, the Roman Álora? There are several hypothesis about the location of the city of Iluro in the municipality. Some researchers do not hesitate to place the city of Iluro in the “Cerro de las Torres”, because of a cistern and remains of Roman stones which were used to build the castle were found there, Meanwhile, others put it at the Roman site of “Canca”, by the appearance of monumental baths and as this is a large place with plenty of water.
The truth is, that according epigraphic inscriptions, Iluro had municipal status “Municipium Iluritanum” and was governded by two Duumvirs. The city was part of one ot the trade routes of the province, appearing many coins traces all over the municipality as a result of commercial activity.
The city would find itself surrounded by a number of rustic villas, agricultural holding centers, where the much appreciated Mediterranean trilogy was produced; olives, grapes and wheat.
Examples of this type of villas are “Fuente Chamizo”, “Arroyo Cureña”, “El Tesorillo y Olivar de la Tumba”, the latter containing a carved infraestructure into the rock that was used to extract oil.
Very important was also the production of ceramics, pottery located in the nearby roads of communication. Some of the remains which have been found are; “Terra Sigillata” and “Terra Hispanica”, Roman silverware with the seal of the potter who made it, vases and jars for oil and wine.
From the ninth to the fifteenth centuries
The most obvious news about Muslim troops which first arrived in Álora appeared in some of the military campaigns that Córdoba Caliphs carried out against Omar Ibn Hafsun, in the late ninth century and early tenth.
Settled down the military bases in the “Cerro de las Torres”, it had a superb position of natural observatory on the whole region, acquiring an important strategic value in the process of Arabization, manifested in changing the Roman name Iluro to Al-Lura.
The castle, the most imprtant legacy left by the Arabs in Álora, is diveded into two walled enclosures, the upper one, base of the primitive fortress is square with six towers. The lower one, irregulary shaped, is adapted to the relief based on masonry wall canvases. Between the two enclosures there is a square tower which must have been the Castle´s “Torre de la Vela”, at whose feet the main mosque was.
The fortress, would be the central organ which the various sites found in the municipality such as “El Sabinar”, “El Castillejo”, “Paredones” and “Los Cerrajones” would depend of. That is why there are numerous coins found in its surroundings due to the great business of Al-Andalus. It is also important to point out, the use of canals and reservoirs for irrigation and water havesting in citrus orchards, while the dry farming was based on large tracts of land planted with wheat and olives.
From 1484 to the nineteenth century
Due to the impregnability of the Castle, there were several attempts of Christian conquest, being the most well known that conducted in 1434 by th governor of Andalusia, D. Diego de Ribera, dead at the foot of the wall. The troops of the Catholic Monarchs placed the camp on the site now occupied by the “Convento de Flores”, leaving the fort in Christian hands in June 1484. After the conquest, Queen Elizabeth ordered to build the Church of Santa Maria of the Incarnation over Arab Mosque.
The population of “Villavieja” spread outside the walls, building in “Plaza Baja de la Despedía” the buildings that make up the new population of the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries; Butcher, Prison, “Casa del Cabildo”, Hospital and new Parish Church. In this same Square, during the reign of Felipe II, Cervantes was as collector of the King for seven years. In 1624 Felipe IV visited Álora and signed the Act of segregation of Málaga. According to Land Registry Marques de la Ensenada, year 1751, Álora had 500 residents.
The arrival of the ningeteenth century is marked by the patriotism of the War of Independence, leaving bullet holes in the tower of the church, being thrown down the plaque commemorating the “Constitución de las Cortes de Cádiz”. An important turning point for the town was the construction of the “Casas-Hotelitos” at the station, the summer residence of the Loring, Heredia and Larios Málaga families, this meant that the stretch of road linking Málaga with Álora ended in 1863.