Spain Guide

 

Mojácar Spain

Mojácar is located in the Spanish region of Almeria on the Costa de Almería, close to Costa Calida. This beautiful Moorish town looks from a distance as if it might have been created from a snowfall of sugar lumps. It has a distinctly fairytale quality with its clusters of ancient whitewashed buildings clinging to the sides of the hilltop. Sandwiched between the mountains of the Sierra Cabrera and the crystal clear waters of the Mediterranean, Mojacar is the largest and most popular tourist centre of this south eastern corner of Spain.

The present day town has developed from one of the most ancient communities in the whole of Spain with a history which stretches back more than 4,000 years. The area has been dominated in turn by the Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans and Moors. The Moorish sultans were ousted 500 years ago but theirs has been the strongest influence of all to this day the old town of Mojacar resembles a Moroccan village more than an international tourist resort.

The Arabs named this place "Munsaqar" and defended it against the Christian armies for hundreds of years until King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella reclaimed it in the late 15th century. But the legacy of the Arab invaders remains in the old Moorish fortress and the Mudejar architecture which makes the foreign visitor feel he's arrived on the African continent. Under a law passed in 1987, the Arab architecture here will be preserved for posterity (and the delight of international visitors).

Each summer the locals honour their Arab ancestors with a spectacular Moors and Christians fiesta, complete with extravagant costumes, Arab sabres and mock street battles (throughout which the Spanish male protagonists puff somewhat incongruously on huge cigars!)

For visitors, the old town is a delightful labyrinth of winding, cobbled streets with magnificent views to the mountains, sea and desert hinterland.

Just two kilometres away, down at the seafront, you're in another world of modern day tourism with bustling beaches flanked by pizza joints, burger bars and international bars and restaurants.

Hotels line the beachfront but careful controls by the city fathers have prevented the high rise concrete development which now characterises so many of the Spanish Costas.

Residential buildings are restricted to two storeys and hotels can't be built higher than four floors. The result is a lively resort which offers plenty of activities for the foreign holidaymaker whilst retaining its traditional Spanish charm and character.

One of Mojácar's greatest claims to fame is the hotly disputed assertion that Walt Disney was born here. The story goes that he was the illegitimate son of a beautiful local washerwoman who fled to America to escape the disgrace and to seek her fortune. Unable to provide for him, she gave him up for adoption to Flora and Elias Disney of Chicago.

The tale can neither be proved nor disproved as his birth registration record has never been found either in Chicago or in Mojacar (where all records were destroyed during the Spanish Civil War).

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