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Romance in Malaga Province

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Romance in Malaga Province

Feb 24, 2017
Star-crossed lovers visiting the Costa del Sol in search of romance will be delighted to hear that Malaga province has its very own Shakespearean legends of misunderstood and utterly impossible love affairs that end tragically. Romantic legends abound in places like Antequerra, Archidona, Benadalid and Damailos, Periana and the Guadalhorce Valley – thankfully, nearly all of them are historic tales of woe, rather than modern-day tragedies, for they appear to have taken place during the tempestuous years of  Al-Ándalus, Muslim occupation, long before anyone had ever heard of a certain English Bard and tales of Romeo and Juliet. 

Wrathful Fathers

Perhaps the most famous legend of them all centres on Tello and Tagzona, two hapless lovers from the area between Antequera and Archidona. Christian soldier Tello was held in chains in Archidona's fortress. 

Tagzona was the daughter of a local “wali”, an Islamic custodian of the castle. Ibrahim, the girl's father, was outraged by the very idea that two people from different faiths and opposing sides should fall in love. Daddy's rage, however, didn't stop his teenage daughter to free Tello and help him to escape. The lovers fled into Christian-held territory, but their flight was thwarted, because the castle guards discovered too soon that Tello's prison cell was empty. 

A posse was quickly organised to chase after them. It wasn't until the couple reached a huge rock formation, usually referred to as Lovers' Rock or “Peña de los Enamorados”, that they spotted the posse of guards. Rather than being captured and forced to part forever, the two lovers decided to jump to their deaths. Their tragic love story is commemorated by a sculptor on Plaza de Castilla in Antequera. It serves as a reminder that love conquers everything, even fanatical religious beliefs – Ibrahim, the great "wali" and castle steward is only remembered because of the two lovers, not for his own sake. A lesson to tyrants everywhere...?

A similar story is being told in Periana, where local people tell the story of a beautiful Christian prisoner, a girl called Sara, who falls for the charms of a local Muslim boy. When their passionate affair is discovered, the two must flee, but they only get as far as the top of Marchamonas, a hill overlooking their village; they throw themselves off to escape an angry mob.

Tolerant Cousins and Uncles

Not all love stories end in tragedy though. This story would have had the Bard reaching for his goose feather quill and start scribbling!

In the verdant Guadalhorce Valley, young Abindarráez and his betrothed Jarifa first had to prove that their love was made of sterner stuff than rival families could ever dream of destroying, before they could go on their honeymoon.

Bride groom Abindarráez was from a  family called the Abencerrajes, while Jarifa was a relative of Rodrigo de Narváez' influential clan. On his way to Coin to marry Jarifa,  Abindarráez fell into the hands of angry Rodrigo. The young lover pleaded with his opponent, and eventually Rodrigo relented, but not before extracting a promise from the bridegroom that he would present himself three days later, presumably to be challenged to a duel. 

The honourable Abindarráez returned as promised, accompanied by his faithful bride Jarifa. Moved by their mutual devotion, Rodrigo de Narváez set them both free.

To this day, the Costa del Sol and Malaga Province attract people of all ages who are in search of romance and everlasting happiness. In the municipality of Arenas, in the tiny hamlet of Daimalos, stands a fountain in a quiet little square. One day a young woman appeared who had been advised by a local saint to drink from the fountain several times a day, if she wanted to find love. 

Within days, the girl had caught the eye of a local boy. Naturally, she spread the word how taking the waters in Daimalos had bagged her a betrothed. Today, that fountain is still called the Fountain of Love, the “Fuente del Amor”, thanks to an army of her girlfriends spreading the word that Daimalos' fountain was the hip place to come when searching for love at the Costa del Sol.

Modern day tourists in search of romance may prefer the fleshpots of Marbella's nightclubs and bars to a lonely fountain in the municipality of Arenas, but that doesn't mean the Costa del Sol has no more romantic legends to tell. Open any newspaper aimed at expats who bought property in Marbella's Sierra Blanca development, the Golden Mile or Puerto Banus, and you'll soon be gripped by tales of passion, jealousy and, at least occasionally, wedded bliss that fill the pages! 

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