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History of Comares

Diputación de Málaga

History of Comares

The origins of Comares as a village are somewhat confusing and, although nobody questions its importance during the Arabic occupation, there are no clear indications that they were the founders of the settlement, which some say could date back to the 3rd century before Christ when the Greeks reached the coast of Malaga and went to Torre del Mar, naming it “Komaron”, which means “tierra de Madroños”.

However, there is no doubt that it was the Moors who created the village’s unique urban layout, its customs and the overall character of the village itself and who also referred to it as "Hisn Comarix", which means "castillo en la altura" ( castle on high).

One of the most interesting stories from the village is the one about how the village’s coat of arms came about. It was the same one that belonged to its Marquis, Don Diego Fernández de Córdoba, who received his title from the Reyes Católicos because of the help he gave them in the capturing of Boabdil in 1483.The title today belongs to Duquesa de Medinaceli, as the 17th Marquesa de Comares.

Comares was finally reconquered and on 29 April 1487 an event that is captured in the stonework of the choir of the cathedral of Toledo. It is number 14, and is next to the Epistle in which the handing over of the keys to the town by the Reyes Catolicos is represented.

After the conquest the thirty Arab families that remained in the town were baptised. This ceremony was collective and was held in a street, which has been known since as “Calle del Perdon”. This event is still remembered and commemorated by thirty rings of the bells after the three normal rings during the main mass on Sundays and holidays.

Since its beginnings, Comares has always played an important role amongst the other villages and towns of the region. It had a Marquis at one point, it was an important settlement and fortress and a innovator in Verdiales music and culture. All of this went on over time from 300 before Christ with the Phoenicians, the Romans, the Arabs and, last in line, the Christians, who took control in 1487 when the Reyes Catolicos captured it.

As is the case with many of the towns and villages inn the Axarquia region, the Arab era was that which most defined the urban design and layout and even the name in many cases. The name Comares appears in many texts and documents from the Arab period, but it is known then as "Hins-Qomarix" (El Castillo de Comares).

Comares was so important in the past that in such emblematic and important buildings as the Alhambra in Granada and the great cathedral in Toledo, references can be seem to this Andalusian village. In the Alhambra the Torre de los Embajadores is named after the one in Comares and in the case of Toledo, the pictorial references to Comares that are carved into the intricate plasterwork are evidence of this.

The location of Comares, hanging on the hillside, obliges the streets and buildings to sit almost one upon another and their whiteness is an outstanding feature, as everything seems to be focused on the hilltop church of Nuestra Señora de la Encarnación. The Plaza de la Constitución and its surrounding area offers some of the best views of the Axarquia in all its beauty; the sea, Sierra Tejeda, Benamocarra, Benamargosa, Velez-Málaga.... This is why it is known as "el balcón de la Axarquîa". From this vantage point it is easy to survey the entire municipality, which is divided up into the urban centre and the “partios” (zones) There are four zones; Arquerîa, Mazmullar, Romo-Cueva and Rîo. Within the urban town centre there are two fountains; la "Gorda" y la "Delgá", whose waters are said to have healing properties, but it should be said that neither the effects of the waters nor the places the fountains are in have anything to do with the names given to them. The arch in the Calle Carniceria is also worthy of special mention as are the rocks that protrude from the walls of the houses in Calle Real.