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Alquife: an almost abandoned village in the southeast of Spain
18 October 2018 @ 12:15

      Today I would like to talk to you about an almost abandoned village, which formerly had important mines: "The mines of Alquife".

Alquife from afar

Alquife close up​​​​​​​

The mines of Alquife​​​​​​​

Another view of the mines and Sierra Nevada in the background​​​​​​​

Inside the mines of Alquife​​​​​​​

The quarry of Los Pozos​​​​​​​

      This village belongs to the province of Granada and is located in the southern part of the region of Guadix. It is limited with the municipalities of La Calahorra, Aldeire, Lanteira, Valle del Zalabí and Jérez del Marquesado. Other nearby locations are Albuñán, Cogollos de Guadix and Ferreira. In 2016 it had 703 inhabitants. It is 82 kilometers from Granada capital.

      The visit to the old Alquife mines  --an open-pit iron deposit considered the largest in Europe of its kind--  is the municipality's main tourist attraction.

      The village is known for its two mines  --the last one was in operation until 1996--  and its history has been linked to the extraction of minerals, in its surroundings, since the times of the Roman Empire. The monument to the miner --located at the entrance of the municipality--  gives a good proof of it.

The monument to the miner​​​​​​​

      In the mines there is an inner lake formed by the flow of groundwater, which is currently a reservoir with a depth of about one hundred and thirty metres of water. The huge crater is already a natural part of the landscape. Another of the most striking features are the large slag heaps of the iron mines and the huge deposit that reached the water pipes in charge of supplying the mining district.

The Alquife reservoir from afar​​​​​​​

The reservoir close up​​​​​​​

A street of Alquife​​​​​​​

Another street of Alquife​​​​​​​

A house with a swing​​​​​​​

      The municipality celebrates its popular and patronal celebrations between the last days of the month of April and the first days of May, in honor of San Hermenegildo, with its popular “Palo Alquifeño” (“stick of Alquife”), the patron saint of the village. In the next picture, you can see, in the background, the image of San Hermenegildo and, in the first place, "El palo Alquifeño"  --that when the procession is finished, the stick will be burned down--.The "stick" is a hollow trunk with the size of the old poles of light, and filled inside with all the rockets that fit, usually between 300 and 400. When the wick is lit, it is all a matter of seconds, but the deafening roar and the spectacle of the rockets, leaving each one by where they can, they remain already in the memory of the people of Alquife, until the following year.

San Hermenegildo Patron Saint of Alquife​​​​​​​

      In the afternoon, the floral offering is made, at nightfall the processional Rosary is performed, in which San Hermenegildo is accompanied by Our Lady of the Rosary, which for two consecutive years has accompanied him, since fifty years ago the tradition was lost.

Nuestra Señora del Rosario​​​​​​​

      The procession of the Rosary begins around half past ten at night, where gunpowder is the sign of the fervor and delirium of a people by their patron saint and the virgin. The procession usually lasts until the wee hours of the morning. The big day of the festivities begins with the celebration of the Mass in honor of Saint Hermenegildo, presided by numerous parish priests of the nearby parishes. Around seven o'clock, in the afternoon, San Hermenegildo goes out in procession on a carnation mountain, carried by the men and women of the village, along the procession are offered hundreds of rockets that culminate with the burning of the traditional “Palo Alquifeño” to that from midnight. The legion honors the great patron saint of the village of Alquife, marching in front of him, in the procession parade. The festivity of Santa Bárbara, on December 4, is also commemorated, in line with the mining tradition of the area.

       Well, I hope that you will like this article.

      Until my next post, kind regards,


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