The peaks of the Sierras de Tejeda, Almijara y Alhama Mountains form the natural frontier between the provinces of Malaga and Granada. The Tejeda and Almijara Mountains are on the Malaga side, in the heart of the Axarquía region. Alhama is in the westernmost part of the province of Granada. Tejeda Peak reaches 2,065 above sea level and offers spectacular views of the Mediterranean coast and adjacent mountain ranges. It is popular with hikers and mountaineers.
White and grey tones predominate in the peaks and gullies of these mountains, the result of an abundance of marble. The decomposition of these rocks creates areas of sand where pine groves adapt and form the most common ecosystems, with Aleppo, Austrian and even Corsican pines. In the highest and most shady areas there are also Pyrenean oaks and maple trees.
The name Tejeda ("tejo" = yew) comes from the abundance of these trees once found here. Now there is just one yew copse, the furthest south on the Iberian Peninsula and one of the best in Andalusia, located on the way up to the Salto del Caballo Waterfall.
These areas of trees and rocky outcrops are home to large eagles such as the golden and Bonelli's varieties. There is an interesting population of mountain goats, a species endemic to the Iberian Peninsula, and it is one of the largest in Spain.
Fast-flowing rivers and streams come down the mountainsides with spectacular waterfalls such as Los Árboles Petrificados, where the lime-rich water has mineralised old tree trunks. In other cases the waters have carved out impressive canyons, locally known as "cahorros". Other outstanding geological elements are Nerja Cave, which is a designated Natural Monument, as well as La Maroma Cave.
Although various different cultures come together in this area, the three mountain ranges are especially marked by their Moorish heritage, with white villages dotted around valleys and mountains with difficult access. The west of Granada province is home to the last bastions of the Nasrid kingdom in Spain. Its fertile lands, such as Otívar, rich in tropical fruit, are at the heart of local gastronomy. Mountain stews, game, kid and goat¿s cheese are all traditional products. Meanwhile, Alhama has an interesting ensemble of monuments and ethnographic attractions - Roman, Moorish and "Morisco" (from the time of forced Moorish-Christian converts), with whitewashed façades and narrow arches, steps and towers.
The Axarquía region in Malaga province has a marked "Morisco" character and its most representative architecture can be seen in Alminar Tower in the village of Salares. Another attraction in this region is the chance to try muscatel wine and raisins - a good opportunity for this is the famous Noche del Vino Wine Festival in Competa.
Province: Granada, Málaga
Town: Alcaucín, Alhama de Granada, Arenas del Rey, Canillas de Aceituno, Canillas de Albaida, Competa, Frigiliana, Jayena, Nerja, Otivar, Salares, Sedella
Area: 40657.0 ha.
Date of Designation: 21 de September de 1999
Weather Forecast: Consult
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