A Lecrín Valley Village – Melegís or “Melexis” – Means “happiness”?
“Melexis” the Court of Kings of Granada
Did you know that you go through Melegís on your way to Restábal and Casa Tagomago? Driving down the winding road from Lecrín towards Melegís one gets the impression of a village on the flat. The narrow streets are not steeply inclined as in Restábal and Saleres and from it’s position on a plain at 553 m. above sea level, it dominates the eastern area of the Lecrín Valley.
The “Valley of Happiness”
According to some authors Melegís or, as it was known in the times of the moors, “Melexis”could mean “happiness”. Could this be the origin of the name “Valley of Happiness” as the Lecrín Valley is quite often called?
During the years of internal strife between the dynasties of Ibn Al-Ahmar and the Abencerrajes Melegís was the place chosen by the kings of Granada for their court. A good choice given the safe and quiet situation that this village offers to its inhabitants.
Probably for this very same reason wealthy, Christian gentlemen decided to build large houses in the village after the reconquest of 1492. Still today one can clearly see the coats of arms of the Saéz-Diente, Miras and Calafar-Pineda families. The village also had several industries – the Soap Factory Nuestra Señora de la Fé, the Olive Oil Mill La Sagrada Familia and the flour mill Las Eras. Most of these were started after 1915 when the main road was built from Lecrín through to Melegís and Restábal.
It is likely that these well to do familes contributed to the building of the village church of Saint John the Evangelist. Declared a national monument, the church is Mudejar in style with a baroque altar piece dating from the XVIII century. Recently restored, the church is surrounded by beautiful, stonework paving typical of Granada and boasts a 500 year old elm tree in front of the main door. A proud witness to the history of the village and its people.
Since 1972, Melegís belongs to the municipality of El Valle, together with the neighbouring villages of Restábal and Saleres. The inhabitants of today, the Meligileños, about 414 in number are mainly occupied with the cultivation of almonds, olives and citrus fruits, as well as a growing tourist industry.
One of the many “miradores” in the Lecrín Valley, the Mirador de las Alvirillas is rather special. It’s dedicated to all those inhabitants obliged to leave the Valley to look for a better future in the north of Spain or in Europe in the 50s and 60s. You’ll love the everyday artefacts, armchairs, coffee pots, nutcrackers etc. that reminded people of their homes.
Walk to Melegís from Restábal
Melegís is 1,5 kms. from Restábal, perfect for a short walk to Meson Los Naranjos to savour their famous Remojón – orange salad – sitting on the large terrace and enjoying uninterrupted views over the valley. The best part of all is that it is downhill on the way home to Casa Tagomago!
From Casa Tagomago it is also possible to take a longer route down through the orange groves to Lake Beznar, known as the Orange Blossom Route. Round by the lake passing the mineral water swimming pool on the way up to Melegís cementary. Then down into the village itself. This path offers walkers a changing landscape of orange and lemon trees, water, woods and mountains. In other words “The Valley of Happiness”.
Published by Susan at casatagomago.com