Ugijar, Alpujarras – Market Town in the Mountains

The church at Ugijar, Apujarras, Andalucia

Ugijar in the Alpujarras, Andalucia is a popular market town with a very unusual history, at least according to legend.

Set in the midst of the Sierra Nevada and found along the snaking A-348a the town is typical of the area with white walls contrasting strong against the green and grey swathes of the Alpujarras but its attractions lie in the market which is hosted there on the 5th and 20th of each month, and more interestingly, that Ugijar is in fact the resting place of the battering ram and shield of Greek legend Ulysses.

According to Strabo the Greek philosopher, Ugijar had in fact used to be called Ulyssea but even if that’s the case the locals don’t make a big deal of it, in fact, to anyone unaware of its secret, the town is a modest and tidy place.

The Nina, one of Christopher Columbus' ships at Ugijar

The Nina, one of Christopher Columbus' ships on display in small form, Ugijar.

One of the first sights you’ll see as you enter the town and step off the bus at Ctr de Almeria de Cherin is the church and opposite that is the picturesque square which houses a monument of one of Christopher Columbus’ ships (I believe it was the Nina).

A walk around the town will present you with water galore as fountains and springs pour forth from the walls and streets in abundance. The water is clear and very drinkable (apparently). The narrow streets often open into little plazas where orange trees blossom and bear exquisitely sharp fruit which is free to be taken.

Oranges growing in the streets of Ugijar, Alpujarras

There's something magical about walking streets where orange trees grow. Ugijar is one such place.

The locals are a curious bunch, not immediately friendly but amicable enough to at least not make you feel unwelcome. There is also a hostel, hotel and a few supermarkets as well as the indoor market situated underneath the radio station (just follow the red and white antennae) which mainly sells locally grown produce.

Apart from its history, Ugijar (pronounced ‘oo-hee-shar’) is pretty but unremarkable and while the town itself only offers enough to keep you stimulated for a long afternoon, the local area is loaded with hiking opportunities and stunning views which could extend your stay by a few days more.

Take a look at Torvizcon by day and by night and read about the lovely holiday house we stayed in for a week.

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