I posted the Doors of Medina-Sidonia, but today I thought we could see the rest of village, one of the “white villages” of Spain. Today is perfect, see that blue sky? However, I think the “white villages” is totally appropriate, because every house and public space is whitewashed white or whiter with red or brown tiled roofs! The white color comes from the chemical properties of the limestone used and in the 20th century the color has been mandated for the hilltop villages. I bet it gets hotter than blazes here in the summer! The landscape is dry and sandy. Lush gardens are planted inside courtyard gardens or potted in colorful pots. The architecture is Moorish in design, especially the houses in the historic area on the hill. I am glad the ladies opened the outer courtyard gates to let us have a peek at their interiors! To see those look at the photos on the Thursday Doors Post. If you truly want to get off the beaten track and delve into the Spanish culture, the hilltop villages would be a great place to start………….. This area has been settled since pre-historic times, as the rock paintings in the caves reflect, and many reveal a castle or fortress on the top of their hill.
In 712 the Arab general Musa ibn Nusair arrived with an army of 18,000 and took over the Roman fortress. During the time of Moorish rule, the village was known in the Muslim world for their baked goods. A big bazaar in the center of the village was set up to sell their goods. A sweet called alfajor was made famous here. The traditional treat was made from flour, honey, almonds and several spices such as cinnamon. The original recipe from a Muslim cookbook stated, “for the alfajor or alajú styling, prepare what I say: one quart of white honey, three means of a pound of hazelnuts and almonds, all roasted and chopped, half ounces of cinnamon, two ounces of aniseed, four drachms of cloves and a quarter of cilantro, roasted and ground coffee, a pound of roasted sesame, eight pounds of dust from grinding, out of bagels without salt or yeast, overcooked in the oven, with half a pound of sugar.” The alfajor is still made in Medina-Sidonia today and is sold here year round. The signs show the location and the historical significance of the village.
There is a market area in the center of town that at one time was the Muslim bazaar. When we were here, early in the morning, they were just bringing in the fresh fruits and vegetables and preparing the meat display.
Fresh herbs were readily available also.
A bakery was located across the street, but I didn’t go inside! What was I thinking?
And a very nice looking restaurant….. notice how all the buildings display paintings or profiles of their Muslim heritage.
More restaurants in the village center of new town.
We also see a small garden to the edge of the churches courtyard, the only green for miles around………..
And, a final look to see how high up this village is and the remoteness of the area……..
I hope you have enjoyed one of the “White Villages” of Spain! Next we will be going to the premier “White Village,” further along the frontier of Spain. Hope to see you there!