Category Archives: Andalucia News

Malaga’s British Cemetery Gets Protected Status

The Anglican cemetery in Malaga is to be added to the Catálogo General del Patrimonio Histórico Andaluz, in English the general catalog of historic places, after the Andalucian Directorate General of Cultural Assets approved it’s inclusion as a Bien de Interés Cultural (BIC), location of cultural interest.

St Georges cemetery is located on around 8,000 sqm of land close to Malaga’s Plaza de Toros on the eastern side of the port, and was originally founded by the British Consul to Malaga William Mark in 1830 in response to protestant burials on the seashore in the dead of night, a practice he found disgusting and lacking in dignity.

Within the grounds of the cemetery there is also an Anglican chapel built in 1839, and expanded in 1891 to become the existing church servicing Malaga’s Anglican communion. The gardens of the cemetery double as a botanic garden with several rare specimens of tree and shrub thriving.

Inclusion as a BIC on the general catalog is aimed at ensuring protection of the graves, structures, decorative walls, and of the gardens. As mainland Spain’s first protestant cemetery, it has been described in the general catalog as a monument of “outstanding historic and architectural significance”.

It is expected the cemetery will be formally included in the general catalog within the next 12-24 months, although the procedure for registration requires the church board begin the process of protecting the premises immediately after being notified of the decision to start registration.

Alpandeire’s Fray Leopoldo Beatified

The Roman Catholic Church today completed the beatification of Alpandeire’s Leopoldo Sánchez Márquez de Alpandeire, of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchins with the reading of an apostolic letter issued by Pope Benedict XVI, and read to the devoted by Archbishop Angelo Amato of the Diocese of Sila.

Estimates vary as to the number of people who attended the beatification ceremony, with Granada Hoy saying 60,000 devotees, whilst the church claims 120,000, however either figure if correct is a substantial number.

Known locally as Fray Leopoldo but born Francisco Tomás Sánchez Márquez, Spain’s newest saint was born in Alpandeire, just a few kilometres from Ronda by Diego Marquez and his wife Gerónima Sanchez in 1864 and died in Granada on February 9, 1956. Alpandeire is also the birth place of Ronda’s favourite son Don Pedro Romero, the famous torero.

As a young man Fray Leopoldo worked in Ronda out of necessity as the Cuban-American war claimed the life of his second brother and a drought prevented him staying home and working the family’s land. In 1899, at the age of 35, he travelled to Sevilla and joined the Capuchin Order as a novitiate and adopted the name Leopoldo.

Shortly after taking his vows in 1904 Fray Leopoldo was sent to Granada with his begging bag to live a life of poverty caring for others and offering to pray for any who needed it. For 49 years the friar wandered the streets of Granada asking only ‘Three Hail Marys’ for his labours and prayers, and even as an old man he still kept at his vows.

“During his lifetime the friar was not known for performing miracles”, Archbishop Amato was quoted as saying, “in fact he diligently performed the monotonous small chores each day as if it was the first time ever”.

It is for this reason the church elevated Fray Leopoldo to the status of candidate, and then venerable after those who knew him confirmed his holy life. Fray Leopoldo’s confirmation to sainthood was recognised after a Puerto Rican woman, Lleana Martinez, was inexplicably cured of Lupus after her priest prayed for help from Fray Leopoldo whilst administering the last rites.

Today’s ceremony was attended by all senior clergymen of the Roman Church in Andalucia, as well as politicians across the political spectrum.

Six Men Arrested for Livestock Fraud

Six men between the ages of 29 and 55 have been arrested and charged with livestock fraud offences passing off faked cashiers cheques to buy livestock which were trucked to unregistered abattoirs. Licensed meat wholesalers who were part of the gang then provided genuine health certificates allowing the meat to be sold in the open market.

Announcing the arrests, Ronda’s Policia Nacional confirmed these are the same men suspected of defrauding farmers in the Serranía de Ronda, readers may remember that Ronda Today broke the story in mid January when we reported 2400 sheep and goats had fraudulently been bought.

The gang has been operational for around Southern Spain for many years, most recently in the Serranía de Ronda, with twelve local farmers confirmed to have lost between 6,000 to 24,000 Euros each.

All of the arrested have been confirmed as being former licensed cattle dealers who knew the procedures for buying and selling livestock, and were able to convince sellers they were legitimate dealers.

The six men arrested are believed to have numerous accomplices, including people currently working within the meat industry. The investigation is ongoing with further arrests expected in the coming weeks. If convicted, all of the six could face as much as ten years behind bars, though local farmers are not expected to have their funds reimbursed.

Marbella Attempts to Get AVE Before Ronda

The Ayuntamiento of Ronda is up in arms over a proposal from Marbella to do everything in their power to ensure the Spanish AVE high speed train reaches Marbella before work can be started for the AVE passing through Ronda.

Currently there is no railway line servicing Marbella although many years ago a local branch line did connect the city with Fuengirola and Malaga. Plans by the province of Malaga and national government call for an AVE connection to reach Marbella from Malaga, but this hasn’t been finalised.

In contrast, Ronda is the main hub on the line from Antequera to Algeciras, Spain’s busiest port, in addition Ronda is Andalucía’s third most visited tourist destination.

Ronda’s mayor Antonio Marín Lara is furious that Marbella would attempt to derail Ronda’s efforts to obtain the AVE and has demanded the Partido Popular (PP) led council in Marbella give up their motion and stop playing politics with an issue that is central to the long term economic life blood of inland Andalucía.

At the same time, Marín Lara and PSOE head Francisco Cañestro have stated their intention to send a letter to every political party in Marbella explaining why the AVE must go ahead for Ronda, and have demanded Ronda’s PP back Ronda by denouncing the Marbella initiative.

The existing line to Algeciras is currently closed for tunnel upgrades and track replacement in anticipation of upgrades to the line to make it compatible with the AVE high speed trains, although this will also necessitate construction of new segments from Bobadilla to Setenil before joining the existing line at La Indiana where Ronda’s AVE terminal is expected to be built.