One Trip Every Month: La Fortaleza, Vélez-Málaga

Entrance to La Fortaleza, Velez-Malaga My trip this month is a local one – to La Fortaleza, the medieval fortress and Alcazaba in Vélez-Málaga, capital of the Axarquía region.  Of course, as with many other places, I see the fortress towering above the town every time I pass by, but somehow never got around to visiting before now.

La Fortaleza was in a bad state of repair for many years and, as a result, was not open to the general public – but that has now changed. Alcazaba - Fortress La Fortaleza, Velez-Malaga Located on the highest point of the town, about 80 meters above sea level, the Alcazaba or Fortress was built during the 10th century under Moorish rule, but achieved its greatest prominence during the 14th and 15th centuries, as one of the most important strongholds of the Nasrid Kingdom of Granada. It’s worth remembering that the River Vélez was once much deeper and wider than it is now, and that the valley formed part of a trade route through the Zafarraya Pass from Granada to Málaga, making the town strategically significant.  

Vélez-Málaga may not have been a very large town, but it was well fortified and defended by a solid set of walls, some of which can still be seen.

As with many Spanish monuments, the directional signage to La Fortaleza leaves a lot to be desired, but if you head for the Fernando Hierro Sports Stadium in Vélez-Málaga and take the Arenas road, following signs for La Iglesia de Santa Maria/Museo de la Santa Semana, you will find the Alcazaba (La Fortaleza) just before the church.

The restored Tower of the Alcazaba (the fortress La Fortaleza) is open every Saturday and Sunday from 10am – 1pm and offers spectacular views over the town and the surrounding Axarquía countryside. Admission is FREE.   

Don’t forget your camera! One Trip EVERY Month Logo This post is my contribution to the One Trip EVERY Month Challenge. If you’d like to join me, here’s how:

  • Each month, visit somewhere and then write about your trip or describe it using photographs – whichever suits you best.
  • Don´t forget to title and tag your entry ’One Trip EVERY Month Challenge’, and link back to this page.
  • Display the Challenge logo on your post or in your sidebar.
  • HAVE FUN!  

Are you ready to join me by taking ONE TRIP EVERY MONTH? What are you waiting for? GO!

The Buddhist Stupa of the Eastern Costa del Sol

If you are visiting the eastern Costa del Sol, you might not anticipate that there is a beautiful Buddhist Stupa within easy reach of the Mediterranean coast.

The first Buddhist Kalachakra stupa built in the western hemisphere can be visited about 40 kilometres east of Málaga, north of the town of Vélez-Málaga, near to the Karma Guen Buddhist meditation centre.

Signpost to the Kalachara Stupa in Velez-Malaga

At the entrance to the Buddhist Stupa, with Monte Maroma behind

The stupa is not easily seen from the surrounding countryside, so where is it?

About a forty minute drive east of the city of Málaga along the A7-E15 Autovía del Mediterraneo to km 272,  take the exit signposted A 356 towards Vélez-Málaga, Viñuela, Colmenar and Zafarraya.  Stay on the A356, bypassing the town of Vélez-Málaga and, after about 7 kilometres, turn left at the junction signed towards El Trapiche.  Approximately one kilometre further, (opposite the Jardines del Trapiche) there is a small sign on the right for the Karma Guen Buddhist centre.  Take this concrete and tarmac road for two kilometres, and then the unmade track up the hill for another two kilometres.

Park and walk through the avenue of pine trees and, all of a sudden, there it is!

Avenue of pine trees leading to the Buddhist Stupa, Vélez-Málaga, Spain

First sight of the Buddhist Stupa in Vélez-Málaga, Spain

Swift accomplishment of Wishes

Sign at the Buddhist Stupa, Vélez-Málaga, Spain

Within Buddhism, the Stupa is a symbol of universal peace and unity.  It is claimed that they have protective powers and bring about compassion, love and happiness, as well as social, physical and spiritual well-being.

The Kalachakra is the rarest type of stupa.  At the present time, there are only five Kalachakra stupas in the world and this one, near to Vélez-Málaga, was the first to be built in the West.  It was hoped that building this stupa would help to protect Europe against negative energies.

The Golden Buddah statue at the Stupa at Vélez-Málaga, Spain

The eyes of the Buddhist Stupa, Vélez-Málaga, Spain

Just like the famous Boudhanath stupa in Kathmandu, this Kalachakra stupa has eyes painted on it, which is a Nepalese custom.

The golden dome of the Stupa glistens in the beautiful sunshine

View across to Monte Maroma from the Buddhist Stupa, eastern Costa del Sol

The Buddhist Stupa overlooks the eastern Costa del Sol

The journey to see the Kalachakra stupa at Karma Guen is a relatively easy one (bearing in mind the mountain roads) but the views on arrival both towards the mountains and the sea are magnificent.

The stunning Stupa of Kalachakra at Vélez-Málaga, Spain

I often take visitors to see the Stupa because it´s an unusual and memorable place to visit. 

Where do you take your visitors that surprises them?

This peaceful post is my contribution to this week´s Travel Theme: White and to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the UN International Day of Peace.

If you enjoyed this post, you might also like to look at:

Bus Services: East of Málaga

A Weekend Away: Santiago de Compostela

Slice of Life: Spanish bars