Velez Malaga may not be a popular resort at the moment due to its off track location but it is actually only 5km away from Torre del Mar, if you are visiting the Costa del Sol region. It is a town worthy of a visit, even if as a day trip as it is barely a 5-minute drive on the coast.
Though it is not big, this town is pretty busy as the capital for the Axarquia region. It is commonly known as Velez, sitting on the River Velez valley which is beautifully surrounded with sub tropical greens. Velez is prospering as a commercial agricultural producer of vines, olives, strawberries, veggies and sugar cane. It is here that one can find the sweet grapes that are famously used to produce the worlds renowned Malaga Wines.
Velez has a deep history that originates with the Phoenicians and moved on to the Carthaginians as reflected in the many remnants discovered here. It is supposed that the infamous Mainake, the magnificent Greek city, was to have been located here and flourished under Roman rule for commerce and trade, taking on the name Menoba. The Moors occupation of this region for over eight centuries made it most famous as a commercial centre that was strategically situated. It became known as Ballix-Malaca which means the Fortress of Malaga; it was full of culture and commerce.
Places of Attraction
Among the many churches found here, the most magnificent has to be the 15th century Santa Mara la Mayor. It boasts of a beautiful tower that holds architectural pieces like the minaret of a mosque, which stood in its place previously. When the Christian re-conquest took over this town, this church was built over the mosque as their sign of conquest over the Moors.
Besides that, there is the Fortaleza which is a 13th century Moorish castle standing on a hilltop at Arrabal de San Sebastin which is considered Velezs oldest district. The castles main tower was purposely built to overlook the town in defense and is in excellent condition today. Views from the castle showcase the serene and beautiful countryside.
Here in Velez, you will find the famous hospital called San Marcos Hospital that was established in 1487 by Catholic Monarchs. Convents and monasteries are abundant here and are worth a look for their artistic beauty. These include the lovely San Francisco, St. Jose, Santa Clara and Las Carmelitas convents. There is also a 16th century church, Santa Maria church, built in Mudejar style that showcases a triple nave as well as an amazing ceiling. Besides that there is another 15th century Mudejar church, San Juan Bautista, that is worth seeing.
An ancient palace has been converted into a municipal building; the Marquises of Beniel Palace is located in the quaint old section of San Sebastin that boasts of Mudejar architecture that displays a splendidly vaulted ceiling that can be found above the stairwell.