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The diversity of personalities drawn by La Alpujarra

On the southern slopes of the Sierra Nevada (Granada) the district has attracted over centuries romantic travellers, artists and writers from Spain and worldwide.

For centuries past, La Alpujarra has been a magnetic pole for artists, writers, poets, aristocrats, geologists, and politicians of all classes and origins. Some search for peace among the mountains, the small white villages and beauty spots worthy of discovery and inspiration.


Nineteenth-century novelist, Pedro Antonio de Alarcón, travelled the region on horseback, and fruit of his journey is his book ‘La Alpujarra: Sixty leagues on horseback preceded by six in stagecoach’. French writer Charles Davillier, arrived at the local village named Barranco de Poqueira accompanied by cartoonist Gustavo Doré. Many of his works served for Doré to illustrate ‘The Divine Comedy' by Dante.

Painter and politician Antonio Maura, took advantage of his visits in Albuñol and Órgiva to plasma his linen canvases to create authentic records of these small villages.

Also interested in La Alpujarra; sculptors Mariano Benlliure and Juan Cristóbal; painter Julio Romero de Torres; bullfighters Mazzantini and Manolete, the Moroccan Royal Family; Eugenia de Montijo, and later the empress of France, the infanta María Luisa Fernando de Borbón y Borbón, daughter of King Fernando VII and her husband Antonio María Felipe de Orleans, the countess of Teba and her daughter Eugenia.

Also among the visitors were politicians, foodies, businessmen, engineers, investigators, composers, artisans, journalists, soldiers and doctors, all in love with la Alpujarra.

Another fan was the British writer Gerald Brenan, who made his home in the mountain village of Yegen, and author of the book ‘South of Granada’. Brenan welcomed many visitors to his rented house ‘La Pañoleta’ and Londoners from the famous Bloomsbury Group.

Bertrand Russell, Litton Strachey, Maynard Keynes, Foster and Virginia Woolf - all writers and regarding painters Augustus John and art critic Roger Fry. Another illustrious visitor who stayed for six months between the villages of Murtas and Soportújar was a researcher and entomologist, the Swiss sociologist Jean Christian Spahni, author of the book ‘La Alpujarra - the Secret Andalucía.

In the Hotel España in Lanjarón (formally Gran Hotel España) built in 1917 by the then mayor of the spa village, Bernabé Pages Hernández, with royalty for guests - His highness Prince Don Gabriel de Borbón, the Count of Conquista from Ronda, the Count of Padul, the Marquis of Torre de Orán, from Granada; the Marquis of Castellón, the Counts of Villapadierma from Málaga, the Marquis of Santa Teresa from Alicante, the Marquis of Casa Pavón of Jerez, the Marquis of Díechar from Granada, the Marquis of Cavaciese from Granada, the Count of Calatrava from Granada, the Marquis of Hust from Lucena, the widow from Sacarello from Gibraltar among others.

This hotel, which for years ago was owned by the Gálvez family even had an X-ray machine. Other personalities to travel to la Alpujarra were King Alfonso XIII and Eugenia de Montijo who spent seasons in the Gálvez Hostelry in Lanjarón. - she was the Godmother of the mother of María Gálvez, the owner of the hostelry.

In other times, the writer, journalist and adopted son of Caratáunas, Luis Seco de Lucena, founder of the Granada newspaper ‘The Defender of Granada’. Isabel and his son the illustrious poet Federico García Lorca who stayed at the Hotel España in Lanjarón, composer Manuel de Falla who would everyday purchase a quarter kilos of hand-sliced ham in the shop ‘Noah’s Ark’ in Lanjarón of the Rubio family, the maestro of radio Boby Deglané, journalist and chronicler of Barranco de Poqueira Rafael Gómez Montero, painters Gabriel Morcillo Raya, José Ortuño, Hipólito Llanes, Nicolás Prados Lopez... and the famous British author and resident of Órgiva, Chris Stewart of the best-seller ‘Driving over Lemons’