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History between Ireland, Scotland and Spain.... Military history, Spanish Armada and much more.

Friday, August 26, 2022

Sayalonga is a town and municipality in the province of Malaga, part of Andalucia in southern Spain. It is situated in the region known as the Axarquia. The municipality is situated approximately 38 kilometres from Malaga and 12 kilometres from Velez Malaga. It has a population of approximately 1,300 residents. The natives are called Sayalonguinos.

So what is the fascination with Sayalonga in the Axarquia, apart from its great walks, the Moorish museum, the local vineyard at Bentomiz, excellent restaurants and accommodation?  Well, did you know that Sayalonga has long historical links with Scotland through the only round cemetry in Spain. The Round Cemetery  was built during the first half of the nineteenth century, commissioned by  Carlos III.  Due to  hygiene reasons the cemeteries had to be built outside the city walls and population centres. The cemetery that existed prior to the construction of the Round Cemetery was in the courtyard of the Santa Catalina Church which was built in Mudejar style, is constructed on the ancient mosque of the village.  It actually has an octagonal floor.  Legend has it that the famous Christian knight came to drink at the fountain. The romantic version: indicates that it was built in this way, all round so that "no deceased turns his back on another".

It is the only such cemetery in Spain and as no explanation has been found, it remains surrounded by many mysteries and legends even today.  The most common legend was that it was the Knights Templars who built it and that it has masonic origins. Others say there was no direct connection.    The Knights Templar was a Catholic military order  founded in 1119 with their headquarters in Jerusalem and existed for nearly two centuries during the Middle Ages. Nowadays, several orders of the knighthood continue to exist in Christian Churches, in addition to a number of Christian countries and previously held territories such as Malta and the English Order of the Garter. 

The Peace Monument is a large sculpture at the entrance to the village, coming from the Torrox direction referring to the victims of the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939).  This brings things full circle, as there is a Spanish Civil War museum in Competa.

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LetsGoNorth meets LetsGoSouth
Thursday, August 4, 2022

We introduced the concept of LetsGoNorth meets LetsGoSouth some years ago, and wrote a couple of blogs.  We are now incorporating that blog here as we cannot access it to update.   Now we have found parallels between the Senda Litoral (Malaga Coastal Path)  which is an amazing route across the south of Spain of 160 km following the entire coast of Malaga province from Manilva to Nerja. This is of course a built path, whereas the burgeoning North Highland Way in Scotland is a "way to go". The North Highland Way at Durness has artefacts of the Spanish Armada in Balnakiel House.  There are many wrecks of Spanish galleons in Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland, creating an amazing heritage trail, even to Westray as can be seen in the article the Dons of Westray.  Two major storms in 1588, one in Plymouth and the other on the North Antrim coast in Northern Ireland, were the demise of the Spanish Armada.  Queen Elizabeth I declared that it was the hand of God. 

The scenery and walking in both Spain and Northern Scotland, as well as Northern Ireland, is fantastic.  One cannot help but get out and walk in Spain, especially on the Caminos.




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