The small village of Abanilla sits nestled in the beautiful mountainous countryside of Murcia, Spain, approximately 28 kilometres north of the cosmopolitan city of Murcia. With a population of only 7,500 inhabitants and narrow, climbing streets, visitors fall in love with its charm and traditional ways of rural life that still continue today.
At first glance, Abanilla appears to be a sleepy little village but on further exploration you will find it has everything to offer its people.
When people first arrive, they wonder where the people of this village do their shopping as it is difficult to find food stores etc and there is no main street with shops. But as they become more familiar with the way of village life, the systems become more apparent. Life here today is probably similar to how life was in the UK fifty years ago – the days before supermarkets when daily provisions were bought from the local “corner shop” and shopping was a “social occasion” - an opportunity to chat with neighbours and catch up on recent events.
Stores are hidden away in the small streets behind beaded curtains. Sometimes they can be difficult to find because there are no signs above the premises to identify them as shops. There are carnicerias (butchers), panaderias (bakers), fruiterias (greengrocers), pescaderias (fishmongers), zapaterias (shoe shops), correos (a post office) bancos (banks) and plenty of bars and tapas bars.
During the summer months, the village is transformed at night, and takes on a different atmosphere. Bar owners line the streets with tables, filling the roads with families enjoying their evening meal. Other families will bring their chairs out onto the street and sit chatting with neighbours until the early hours of the morning.
In the centre of the village, in the Plaza de la Constitución, stands the Ayuntamiento (the Town Hall), an impressive building dating back to 1762. Just off this Plaza, the statue Corazon de Jesus (Heart of Jesus) towers above the village from its vantage point in the Plaza Corazon de Jesus, and is very impressive when lit up at night. For the energetic, the Plaza and the statue can be reached by climbing nearly a hundred steps, but there are easier ways to reach it - which most discover after the climb! From the Plaza you have the most spectacular views over the village - so the climb really is worth the effort.
In the Plaza de la Purisma you will find the impressive Church of San Jose, the patron saint, of 1712, and a newly erected statue to commemorate the Moors and the Christians. And hidden away in the corner is the old public laundry with its old sinks and wash boards. The laundry is still used frequently today by young and old inhabitants alike, and it is common to see the women of the village carrying their laundry in buckets or in baskets on their heads down to the washroom.
Within a short drive you can be in many of the other neighbouring villages, in the beautiful Sierra de la Pila nature reserve or bustling towns and cities. Abanilla is certainly worth a visit if you are in the Murcia area.
If you would like to find out more about Abanilla or the Murcia area contact Rest Assured Properties:
or visit website: www.restassuredproperties.co.uk
by Elaine Ablett