Mecina Bombaron

 

Mecina Bombaron is the largest village of the municipality of Alpujarra de la Sierra. This includes the village of Yegen plus the hamlets of Golco and Montenegro.

 

The village has a population of about 2000 - though this changes with the seasons because in summer many emigrants return for the holidays in their home village and the village is also full of migrant workers employed to pick the fruit and vegetables grown on the sierra above.

 

The village was founded by the Moors and was the home village of Aben Aboo, one of the leaders of the Moorish revolt against the Spaniards in 1558-60.

 

After the failure of this revolt the vast majority of the Moors were deported to North Africa and their place was taken by settlers from Northern Spain.

 

The Moors created a unique and elaborate irrigation system, bringing water down from the snowline along the flanks of the long ridges which come off the Sierra to water the fields on the hillsides above the villages.

 

This system is still in use today and makes the area very fertile and productive. The irrigation canals are called 'Acequias' and there are many pleasant walks along their banks.

 

60 years ago this area had a population 3 times the present one, with most people surviving by subsistence farming. Almost all the food required by the people was grown here, including wheat for bread, and around the village you can see numerous 'eras' - flat paved areas used for winnowing and threshing the corn. There were also numerous small mills for grinding the corn.

 

Life here in the 1920s is well described by Gerard Brennan in his book 'South of Granada' - well worth reading. There is a copy on the bookshelf in the house.

 

The second half the the 20th century saw mass emigration from the region, with men travelling initially to Northern Europe to work, then more recently, Northern Spain.

 

Many people who have moved north have retained houses in the village and come and visit once or twice a year, so the village has many houses which are only occupied for a few weeks per year.

 

Now most people earn their living from cash crops such as runner beans or tomatoes. Both these are sold on to the local cooperatives and exported to be sold across Europe. In summer numerous migrant workers come to pick these crops.

 

The village has 3 bars, two of which sell food. There is a bank with a cash machine.

 

About 2km outside the village there is a municipal swimming pool which is open from late June to early September. It is cheap, very pleasant, rarely crowded and has a lovely view.

 

A few of the older farmers still use mules or donkeys for the work in the fields, and these come past the house early in the morning at return at nightfall.

 

There are several large herds of sheep and goats around the village. Unlike in England, where the animals are left untended in fields, here they are driven to pasture in large herds and watched by a shepherd. Each day they return to their paddock for the night.

view of mecinaA view of Mecina from the acequia

plaza viejaThe Plaza Vieja
walking along the acequia
Walking along the acequia above the village in spring
catalina the donkey
Some of the older farmers still use donkeys and mules
sheep and goats
In winter, herds of sheep and goats come past the house