Everything has turned blue. Well, Juzcar, Andalucia, has been painted that colour to celebrate its role in the 3D Smurf Movie of 2011. Juzcar has most definitely been handed a lifeline.
Because of the Smurf Movie (‘Pitufos’ in Spanish) the locals have opted to keep their houses and even the church Smurf blue and the village is interspersed with giant Smurf figures, namely Papa Smurf and Smurfette.
All of a sudden Juzcar is a tourist attraction; what was once a white walled village like most others in the mountains around Ronda now has a contemporary story of interest. The murals of those jolly little blue gnome types tells it and the wall of signatures is testament to the throngs who have flocked to see the location of a major Hollywood event.
That is not Juzcar’s only story though, in fact it has seen its fair share of battles in the past. The church of Santa Catalina; a focal point for locals and now a very Smurfed up market square and cinema, was built in 1505 and has been the subject of several attacks.
The tower you see today is the only original piece of the church that remains and during the War of Independence it suffered at the hands of the French. As recently as the 1940s it found itself in the sights of anarchists who waged an anti-clerical campaign against the church while the area was already destabilised by Civil War. “Calle Franco” remains unchanged and is one of the last reminders of the Generalissimo’s reign; something that is still not talked about in Spain.
During that time a travelling cinema used to roll into town, erect a large screen and thrill the locals. They have tried to maintain that tradition and Juzcar, for all its Hollywood ties, Smurfs and blue walls still feels like a traditional Spanish town – even though some houses and bars are now called things like ‘Cueva de Gargamel’ (Gargamel’s Cave) and ‘Casa de Papa Pitufo’ (Papa Smurf’s House).
Movies aside, the area has plenty of attractions and adventure opportunities in the many mountain peaks nearby as well as river adventures.
Juzcar isn’t the sort of place you’d stay long term but it is an interesting pocket of Spain in a wonderful location with enough hotels, bars and restaurants to keep you rested and fed, while just beyond its borders there are campsites, the river and mountain peaks to keep the more active visitors happy.
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