Cuento y leyenda de Vélez - Málaga
It is believed its name comes from the Latin “vallis” which became “balish” in Arabic and which could mean valley. Another theory believes it could derive from the word “waild” or “daliz” which means a settlement on a rock or a fortified rock in Arabic. In either case, in Spanish it became Vélez and later Málaga was added.
- Name of its inhabitants:
- Famous personalities:
Mohamed den Ahmed ben Daud Abu Abdallah, (1.238-1.312) was known as Aben Alkhamad. He wrote a theological and canonical treatise called “Suficiente” (“Enough”) which made him famous.
Antonio Ortega Escalona, also known as Juan Breva. He was a famous flamenco singer born in 1.884 and created the “bandolá”. He died in Málaga in 1.918.
María Zambrano Alarcón, the most important thinker and philosopher in recent Spanish history. She was born in the town in 1.904. She was a pupil of Ortega y Gasset, went into exile during the Civil War and returned in 1.984. Among others, she was awarded the Principe de Asturias Prize and the Cervantes Prize. She died in Vélez-Málaga in 1.984.
Evaristo Guerra Zamora, was born in Vélez-Málag on the 5 September, 1.942 and since his childhood he felt an urge to paint everything he saw around him. When he was ten he set up his first artist’s studio in the attic of his home in Vélez. He painted his first oil painting at the age of twelve, “Vista de Benamocarra” (A view of Benamocarra). In 1956 he began to study in an art school in Vélez which was run by the famous Granada watercolorist Juan Morcillo; this is when he learnt the first rudiments of his painting skill and created numerous drawings and paintings in his studio until 1.960. In September 1.961 he held his first individual exhibition in the Caja de Ahorros Provincial in Vélez- Málaga. Since then he has organized countless national and international exhibitions and established himself as one of the most important Naïf art painters in Spain.
There are many legends about the origins of the city, one of which, starting from the base that the original town was situated in the estuary of the river Vélez, as it really was, explains why the location changed to the interior. On the 31 July, 365, there was a strong earthquake accompanied by tidal waves which totally destroyed the city; before repairing the ruins, the inhabitants decided to move the town to a safer location which turned out to be the hill on which the fortress was later built.
Another legend claims that the apostle Saint Peter was the founder of the ancient shrine of the town, Saint Mary, which would become the Episcopal seat between the I and III centuries and mentions that Saint Epetenoa disciple of Saint Peter, was martyred on the “cerro de los Remedios” (hill of Remedies) which is the present site of the shrine of the patron saint.
The origin of the patron saint also has a legend attached to it. It is said that a shepherd found a statue of the Virgin Mary on the hill where the shrine presently stands, but that he mistook the statue for a doll and so picked it up to give to his daughter. On the way home, the shepherd lost the doll but found it again some days later in the same place. The man tried to take the doll home on several occasions, and every time the same thing happened: the doll appeared in the place where he had found it. So believing this to be supernatural event, works soon started to build the shrine on the spot which the state never wanted to leave.
It is a historical fact that Miguel de Cervantes, the writer, lived in Vélez-Málaga as a tax-collector in 1.594, living in a house which still stands and that the city is mentioned in “El Quijote” in chapter 41. Before that he had been Royal Collector in Álora between 1.587 and 1.593.