History of Nerja, Andalusia, Costa del Sol, Malaga, Spain

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Nerja?s history has mainly been discovered through the Nerja Caves and the paintings that have been found in these caves. Thanks to these for example, we know that the earliest settlers in the region arrived here between the Palaeolithic era and the Bronze Age.

Since then, until today?s tourist boom, there are been many different cultures and episodes that have formed the area?s history.

Outside the discoveries of the Palaeolithic, Neolithic and bronze ages, there are also indications of Arab domination, a time in which Nerja depended on Vélez-Málaga, the capital of the Axarquía region.
After years of Arabic domination, that left its mark with the intense scent of the jasmine plant, as well as the narrow, white, cobbled streets, came the time of the areas re-conquest.

A re-conquest that was not free from Moorish rebellions, battles and betrayals and that ended in the 16th century, the century in which the Nuestra Señora de las Angustias Hermitage was built, the patron saint of this small village that in 1655 reached a population of 400.

Years later, approximately 1662, the King ordered the so called tower of the guards to be built, this tower today is known as the Balcón de Europa (Balcony of Europe).

The Balcón de Europa?s history is related with the earthquake that desolated the area at the end of the 19th century and the visit of King Alfonso XII, who called it its new name.

Before this, Nerja kept growing, improving its communication links and increasing its urban centre, but in 1959 history was changed with the discovery of the Nerja Caves. From this moment, Nerja started to sense a touristic calling, the development of infrastructure is not really noticeable, but today it is one of the most important tourist centres of the country.


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