Iznate

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Image The diversity of the province of Málaga is to be seen not only in its rugged topography, which creates the most varied landscapes, but also in the sizes of its municipalities. Thus, along with municipalities with large areas such as Antequera, which with its 810 square kilometres is the fourth largest in Spain, there are others of less than ten square kilometres, such as Totalán, Archez, Algarrobo and the case in point, Iznate, with 7.5 square kilometres. Even with these tiny dimensions, however, this is still not the smallest municipality in the province of Málaga.

The scant geographic area of a municipality, however, does not imply a scarcity of scenic resources, at least not in the case of Iznate. Its territory is adorned mainly with vineyards and olive and almond trees, a palette of different shades of green that stand out from an ochre-coloured terrain creased by the river that bears the name of the village, and on whose banks a few orchards and gardens are to be seen. Definitely a typical Axarquian landscape.

There is no indication that this area was populated before the arrival of the Arabs to the Iberian Peninsular, and there are features, for example the name of the place, supporting the belief that the village had its origin in the Muslim era. In the opinion of experts, the name comes from “hisnat”, which can be translated as “castle” or “castles”. There are those who say that the famous leader Omar Ben Hafsun, who aroused so much attention in the time of the Caliphate of Córdoba, was born in Iznate. Others, however, believe that the birthplace of that personage was Parauta, in the Ronda highlands. So far, there is nothing more than conjecture either way.

An unusual historical characteristic of this village is that it enjoyed the privilege of “behetría”, by which the villagers had the right to elect whomever they wished as their lord, so the obligatory service that they had to render years later to a Christian lord must have rankled them greatly.

It is known that the village surrendered to the troops of the Catholic Monarchs at the same time as Vélez Málaga, in 1487, and that for a time the population continued to be mainly Moorish. The abuses by the Christian rulers sowed the seeds of the Moorish rebellion of 1569, a cause which the residents of this village emphatically embraced and for which they were severely punished. The village stood practically deserted until 1574, when Felipe II sent the academician Peláez to Iznate to divide the lands among the Christians, who came mainly from Antequera and Estepa.

Chronicles relate that in the late sixteenth century Iznate was known as one of the villages that produced the most grapes, a product that was even ordered by certain merchants in the Spanish capital, who preferred its grapes to those from other places. As is well known, the phylloxera pest put an end to this thriving business in the nineteenth century.

 

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Surface Area:

7.5 kilometres
Population:about 850
What the natives are called:Iznateños
Monuments:the San Gregorio VII church
Geographical Location:in the interior of the La Axarquía region, 14 kilometres from Vélez Málaga and 30 from the provincial capital. The village is a little more than 300 metres above sea level. The average annual rainfall in the municipality is 530 litres per square metre and the average temperature is 17.6ºC.
Tourist Information:Town Hall, Calle Vélez, 20 (29792)
Telephone:952 509 776; Fax: 952 509 798

 

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