Pizarra

Pizarra

Pizarra lies inland from Málaga in the Guadalhorce valley, still a largely farming community, it has so far managed to avoid the threat of absorption by the spreading metropolis of Málaga.

Neither the Romans nor the Moors spent much time in Pizarra and it had to wait for the coming of the Christian era to get its real start. In 1483 a hundred settlers arrived, led by Don Pedro Romero de Figueroa determined to build a town. The reason for the reluctance of earlier people to put down roots in the spot was an eminently practical one. High above it was a huge, unstable rock, forever threatening to crash down upon them. The rock, known as the peñasco, was more than 5000 cubic metres in volume and weighed almost 3000 tons. It continued to threaten those brave, crazy or fatalistic enough to live beneath it until 1988 when, after it showed definite signs of cracking, the authorities finally blew it up.

It was still there in 1922 when the 19th Century palace of the Conde de Puerto Hermos was used for the Conference of Pizarra, when leading politicians and soldiers gathered in an attempt to find a solution to the war then raging in Spanish Morocco. The palace still stands in the centre of town, but is in private hands and not open to the public.

One place that is most definitely open to the public is Pizarra's Municipal Museum. The village owes this jewel in its crown to the American painter Gino Hollander, who spent many years in the town. Beginning in the 1960s he amassed an impressive array of archæological artefacts from many eras, including the Roman and the Moorish. When he eventually left Spain to return to America, his collection came into the hands of the local authorities, who took over a disused farm complex and turned it into the museum.

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