Deep in the green Genal Valley, but only a few kilometres from Ronda, lies the tiny village of Júzcar, almost invisible as the valley roads twist and turn along the length of the Genal River. Juzcar is small, and easily walked around in less than 30 minutes, you could blink and miss this little inland Andalucia village, but don’t or you’ll really kick yourself later.
A little bit about Juzcar. It really is blue? and Smurfs live there?
Juzcar is a small village located in the province of Malaga in Andalusia, southern Spain. It gained international fame in 2011 when it was painted blue for the promotion of the Smurfs movie. The village was chosen by Sony Pictures to celebrate the world premiere of the movie, and as part of the promotion, all the buildings in the village were painted blue, making it look like a real-life Smurf village.
The village was originally a traditional white Andalusian town, but after the success of the Smurf movie promotion, the residents of Juzcar voted to keep the blue color as a tribute to the famous blue cartoon characters. The blue paint used was eco-friendly and made with natural pigments, and it has become a tourist attraction ever since.
The Serranía de Ronda was extensively populated by neolithic and then bronze age people and Juzcar is no exception. A stone structure that could have been a defensive tower on the boundary between Juzcar and Farajan, is proof of ancient peoples living and working in the district. Very little evidence of their activities has been found, though the area has not been excavated to any great extent.
In Roman times, whilst Acinipo and Arunda were thriving, we believe the area around Juzcar was mostly unoccupied but may have possessed a local iron mine. In fact the name Juzcar, terminating in -ar is highly suggestive that Arab invaders in 711 AD encountered either Romanised Iberians or Visigothic people who would have adopted Roman customs.
Sony Entertainment, the producers of a new film “The Smurfs 3D” recently chose Juzcar in the Genal Valley as the global launch party location, hosted by Spanish model Eva Gonzalez.
The village was chosen because of its connection to the smurfs in the form of being home to over 150 varieties of mushroom, and since the Smurfs live in mushrooms, Sony’s Spain director Ivan Losada explained the village was absolutely perfect.
Almost every building in the village was painted Smurf blue, with many in the village now calling for this to be the official colour over the village permanently, instead of reverting to the white typical of Andalucia’s pueblo blancos.
Villagers and fans crowded into the town square to be seen with Ms Gonzalez and the lead Smurf characters, Smurfette, Papa Smurf, Gargamel, and the cat Azrael. Children from the village were encouraged to wear Smurf hats and paint their faces blue.
Around 4,000 litres of the special Smurf blue paint were used, with all residents unanimously voting to approve the change in a local referendum which expires in September, though mayor David Fernandez indicated under questioning that if changing the colour to blue substantially increases village tourism that keeping the colour could be extended.