The historic hillside village of Mijas is one of the oldest ‘white villages’ in Spain and is set on a forested hillside in the Sierra de Mijas mountain range, 428 metres above sea level. Because of its hilltop location, Mijas pueblo offers some breath-taking views over the Mediterranean Sea towards the north coast of Africa and the distant Atlas Mountains. Mijas pueblo has a population of just under 7,500 and is located midway between Malaga and Marbella. The nearest main town is the seaside resort of Fuengirola (8 km): the nearest airport in Malaga is just 18km away. Though it may be relatively close to the beaches of the Costa del Sol, Mijas pueblo has managed to retain much of its traditional Andalusian charm.
A settlement has existed in Mijas for many centuries. It’s known that the original settlement was founded by the Tertessians in pre-historic times, and that the village was later visited by the Greeks and the Phoenicians because of its mineral wealth. It was later occupied by the Romans who named the village Tamisa; they used the village as an important trading centre due to its close proximity to both Malaga and Cadiz. It was later occupied by the Visigoths and subsequently by the Moors.
Mijas pueblo has many buildings and monuments of historical and archaeological interest, including the local churches and hermitages.
This church in the village, the ‘Iglesia de la Inmaculada Concepcion’, was eventually completed in the early 18th century and is built on the ruins of a Moorish castle that stood there from the 8th until the late 15th century. The church was consecrated in 1631 and uses one of the castles towers as the bell tower. The church retains many features from the Mudejar and Baroque styles. There are 3 naves, each separated by rounded arches, and two side naves dating back to the first half of the 17th century.
On the outskirts of Mijas pueblo is the hidden gem, the hermitage of the ‘Virgen de la Peña’. It was built into a rocky outcrop by Mercedarian monks in 1520. Inside the hermitage is the image of the ‘Virgen de la Peña’, the patron Saint of the village. Legend has it that in 1536 two children, a boy and a girl (Juan & Asuncion) witnessed an apparition of the Virgin with Child in her arms and a white dove on her shoulder. Subsequently an image of the Virgin was found concealed in a recess in the tower where it lay hidden for 500 years. In 1656 work started on the sanctuary cave. Today the grotto is decorated with flowers and pictures as offerings, and is visited by pilgrims from all over the world.