Moorish town of Mojácar

Mojacar is the most Moorish of Andalucia’s places. It holds a strategic — and beautiful — position high on a hill overlooking the lands around, and as a result has long been settled by civilization after civilization. It was first inhabited during the Bronze Age in around 2000 BC, by people who have been lost to antiquity. The Phoenicians and Carthaginians traded with them, and the Greeks conquered them, followed by the Romans.

By the early 8th century AD, Mojacar was conquered yet again by North African Moors, under the rule of the Caliphate of Damascus. Mojacar became part of the Nazari Sultanate, and was in the unfortunate position of frontier against the Christian parts of Spain, further east. You can still see the ruins of watchtowers and fortresses that were built during this period, though they did not stop battles like the one that, in 1435, saw most of Mojacar’s people killed. At last in 1488, Mojacar surrendered to the Christians.

Mojacar’s Moorish fountain played host, at the same time, to a meeting between local Moors, Christians, and Jews, where they made a pact that they would freely associate in a friendly way. With this new peace within and without Mojacar, the town expanded peacefully, and much of the architecture from this time survives today.

When you walk the streets, watch for the Mojacar Man, a painted totem on the whitewashed front of many buildings that brings protection and good luck by keeping away the evil eye and protecting from stones. The figure resembles a man with outstretched arms holding a rainbow, and may be more than 4500 years old. The earliest painting is found in a cave in Velez Blanco, with other prehistoric paintings. He’s also called the Indalo, though this is a recent name.

Visiting Mojacar
If you go to Mojacar, leave your car behind. Walking through the streets is the best way to explore this town, with its lovely medieval Moorish buildings and enchanting squares. The Platform of the Plaza Nueva is a great place to overlook the Valle de las Piramides, and look aorund the square for the Ermita de los Dolores.

Another wonderful place to look around from is the Mirador Castillo, the highest spot in town, where you can overlook the coastline as people have here for millenia.

The Plaza de las Flores leads into the old Jewish quarter, a maze of alleys. If you take the low road out, you may find the Cuesta de la Fuente that leads to a pathway up to the Fuente Mora, an ancient well, where you might find women doing their washing by hand as it has been done for hundreds of years. A local bus comes through here, and can take you back to Mojacar or the nearby beach.

Beaches of Mojacar
Lined with golf courses and sunbathers, Mojacar boasts 17 kilometers of shore, much of it as developed beaches: La Rumina, Descargador, Vista de los Angeles, El Cantal, Cueva del Lobo, Ventanicas. The most popular of the beaches is El Cantal, and it’s the place to go bar-hopping. For quieter beach time, try Descargador or Vista de los Angeles, where you’ll find some restaurants but a much quieter atmosphere. You’ll also find lovely virgin beaches near the towers of Macenas and El Pirulico, which offer marvelous views themselves.

Because of Mojacar’s location between the mountains and the Mediterranean, it enjoys a perfect subtropical climate, with year-round mild temperatures and a mix of dry and wet weather. Depending on where you are, you’ll find everything from bamboo, rosebay, and tamarisk to olive, almond, fig, and orange trees, century plants, palms, and bouganvillas, Lavender and thyme scent the air in many places,and in the quieter places you’ll see wild herons, flamingos, and Greek tortoises.

Mojacar is all about the outdoors. Watersports like snorkeling and diving are popular, as are waterskiing, boating, fishing, and swimming. Or go up with ultralites and parachuting, or get faster with go-karts and jet-skis. Hiking is very popular here, and you can visit the many hidden treasures of Mojacar’s past, ending with a beach picnic on a quiet virgin beach. And like everywhere in Spain, golf is very popular indeed, with an excellent golf course located nearby.

Don’t miss taking a tour out into the Cabrera or Beda Mountains, where the climate is more desert-like and filled with color and flora and fauna. You’ll find figs and grapes growing wild near the road, tiny villages, and even Texas Hollywood, an old set where many spaghetti westerns were filmed, complete with banks, bars, and even a zoo. Later you can go up into the mountains by bus or by car and explore the mountains, the view from them, and the small villages you’ll find in and near them.

Going Out
If you’re more into the nightlife, Mojacar’s beach bars are a wonderful place to watch the sunset and then to party away the night. All summer long, there are fiestas with events for adults and children alike, and you can sample the traditional dishes of the area in most restaurants. Food here is flavored with many cultures, from rural Spain to Moorish dishes to traditional Spanish and Mediterranean cuisine.

Map of Mojácar in Spain