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     Goulbourn Associates
     Edf Iris, Avda Gamonal
     Benalmadena Costa
     Malaga, 29630

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Palace in Pizarra

Pizarra, at a distance of 30 kilometres, is very easy to reach from the city of Malaga. Take the motorway to Campanillas and then the Cártama station exit. You can also go by train from either Malaga or Antequera. Within the municipality, as well as the town of Pizarra itself, there are two villages, Zalea, with 1,405 inhabitants, and Cerralba, with 573, and the hamlet of Hipólito. In the last 20 years there has been tremendous growth in the number of buildings and services in the town and the amount of infrastructure, with quality modifications to meet the demands of modern society. The origins of the present town go back to the fifteenth century when, after the reconquest of Alora by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, Don Diego Romero was given 100 fanegas of land, "from port to port", for his worthy deeds in the conquest of Alora. However, around the borders of the municipality, axes and tombs have been found that go way back to pre-historical days, as have pieces of Phoenician and Tartessian pottery and daggers. The first proper settlement here was the Roman town of Barbi. Later, in the tenth century, the Arabs created a Mozarab church. From 1484 onwards the present town began to grow up between the great house occupied by Don Diego Romero, that is currently the Puerto Hermoso Palace, and the parish church, which together formed the centre. It was not until 1847, however, that Pizarra was granted the denomination of municipality by a royal certificate from the Higher Court of Justice. The number of casual labourers living in the then village started to grow rapidly, but shortly afterwards fell off until the railway arrived in 1859, and with it the road that links Álora with Malaga. Since this road goes through Pizarra, it brought the village out of isolation. The economy of Pizarra is based on agriculture, which has managed to adapt to all the technological advances and changes since the beginning of the twentieth century.

Places to be visited
A trip through Pizarra
A visit to the town should start at the Casa de Cultura. Then make for the Fernando Vergara Park, created in tribute to a much-loved local stationmaster. You then come to the seventeenth century St Peter's Church, which was completely sacked in an uprising in 1931. It has a square tower with three bells and a clock on it. The most valuable item in the church is the baptismal font, whose base was re-built after the sacking. When you come out of the church, turn right and you will see the Palace of the Count of Puerto Hermoso. It was in this mansion that the Pizarra Conference was held in 1922 to put an end to the war with Morocco, but it is a private house and not open to the public. Then go up Calle Real to the Town Hall. The square you come to is as old as the village itself. Opposite the square is Calle Alta, where the convent belonging to the order of Sisters of the Cross, from Seville, stands. This convent house was opened in 1955. Carry on up the street and you will come to the shrine to Nuestra Señora de Fuensanta, erected on the spot where a statue of Santa María de la Concepción was found and on the foundations of the old tenth century Mozarab church. One of only seven of this type in the whole of the province of Malaga, the shrine was denominated a monument of Historical and Artistic Interest in 1985. If you go back down into the town via the Barrio Alto, you will come to the ICONA Park. If you pick the route via Calle Francisco Rosas you will come to the Doctor José González Espino Park. Back in the town, take the 337 road in the direction of Malaga to reach Pizarra Municipal Museum, formerly the Hollander Museum. Its previous owner was Gino Hollander, a Belgian artist who arrived in Spain in 1962. He set up home in Pizarra in 1968 and, fascinated by Spanish culture, began to collect antiques. What started out as a private passion gradually grew into the Hollander Museum, situated in his private residence, called Cortijo de Yeguas. In 1988 Hollander donated his collection to Pizarra Town Hall and in 1991 the council bought Cortijo Casablanca which is where the collection is currently housed. This farmhouse is a nineteenth century building that used to belong to the Counts of Puerto Hermoso. It now consists of two halls, the Gino Hollander Hall, situated in what used to be the stables, and the Agustín Calvijo Hall, where the store room and workshops for restoration work are situated. The Gino Hollander Hall is divided into four areas: Stone, Pottery, Metal and Wood. The second hall houses Spanish furniture from different ages, ethnic material and Gino Hollander's own sculptures. The museum possesses 5,000 items of which only 920 are actually on display.

Where to eat
Mesón El Figón de Pizarra. Avenida La Constitución, 38. Tel: 952 483 824.
El Molino. Avenida La Constitución, 52. Tel: 952 484 307.
Mesón Postigo. Camino Ancho s/n. Tel: 952 484 242.
Bar El Tropezón. Camino de la Estación. Tel: 610 711 436.
Bar Restaurante Nacimiento. Avenida La Fuensanta, 1. Tel: 952 483 122.
Restaurante El Museo. Cortijo Casablanca, s/n. Tel: 952 483 964.
Restaurante Vértigo. C/Derechos Humanos, s/n. Tel: 952 483 542
Pizzería La Trattoría Di Capri. C/Francisco Rosas. Tel: 952 483 385.

Where to sleep
Hostal Villega. Avda. La Fuensanta, 76. Tel: 952 483 773.
Casas Rurales La Moraleda (La Vega Santa María). Finca La Moraleda s/n. Tel: 952 483 146.
Hostal Rural Casablanca. Cortijo Casablanca - Ctra. Málaga-Álora Km 28. Tel: 952 483 237.
Complejo Rural Las Tinajas de Zalea. C/Virgen de las Nieves, 2. Zalea. Tel: 952 483 146.

The fair, the main festivity of the year, in honour of the patron saint, Nuestra Señora de Fuensanta, is held in August every year. The feast day of St Blaise is celebrated on February 3rd. On this day the local people go to the convent for the blessing of a special cake in the form of a ring. The day for making the journey up to the shrine in honour of the patron saint is October 12th. In June the Cafeteras Club collaborates in organising an open-air party on St John's Eve. Flamenco singing and dancing are on the programme as well as the burning of the traditional "júas" or"guy".
The gastronomy of Pizarra is very varied. Among the most traditional dishes are the soups, the potato omelettes, dishes made fro asparagus and the gazpachos. They also made excellent pastries here, among them the meat and fish pies, the doughnuts of Ceralba and the various breads of the area.

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