2 Delightful Lecrín Valley Washhouses near Granada
Exploring the Lecrín Valley Villages
The traditional washhouse is one of the most emblematic constructions in Lecrín Valley villages. Water is ever present in Granada and the Lecrín Valley is no exception. Of course, not all the villages are near a river, but water flows underground or from springs in the hillsides. In days long gone, the village fountains were the only source of water for domestic use. Often the washhouse, or lavadero, was built near the fountain, thus becoming the centre of daily village life. In recent years many of these fountains and washhouses have been restored, gaining their rightful place as a monument to be proud of.
In the village of Pinos del Valle, just 5 kms from Restábal, there are two delightful washhouses, one in each “barrio” or quarter, each being near a fountain. Even today, many of the local women frequently go to fill bottles and carafes with fresh spring water for drinking and cooking. Tap water is very good but they say they notice a difference which I don’t doubt, water straight from the spring has an earthy taste difficult to improve upon.
As meeting places, some of these fountains have given rise to charming legends. We like this one, captured in tiles above the El Juncal fountain, right next to the washhouse in the upper quarter in Pinos del Valle:
Old legends tell that in Moorish times, in this same place, two young lovers came to see each other in secret. The gallant Christian knight and the beautiful Moorish princess. On finding out, both families wanted to separate them forever, but one night they decided to escape together. They met here, as always. And under the full moon, they swore love, pure and eternal; which when sealed with a kiss …brought forth this beautiful spring …
The washerwomen of Pinos del Valle are also honoured on this plaque with these words by Javier Mingorance Nepote: –
My noble Lady, labouring from sunrise to sunset.
Unshakeable will, in your daily work.
Many stories, the running water tells us,
but, of sorrows and joys, here I will find echoes.
Ay Washer Woman!
that to the beat of your scrubbing,
you went from girl to woman,
for later mother to be.
A thousand thanks you deserve
as without you,
we are lost.
And there is nothing so pure
as the love of a woman.
As the two neighbourhoods are separated by quite a steep hill, I’m sure the village women were delighted to have this simpler version so close to hand for their weekly wash.
You won’t find a washhouse In Restábal, Although the old fish market – Lonja – near Casa Tagomago was probably originally a fountain, there is no evidence of a “lavadero”. However, as the river flows so near the village, the wash days of yore were held on its banks. Take a walk down there, maybe you’ll hear the chattering of the housewives. Who knows?
To read more about local attractions go to Lecrín Valley
Post and photos by Susan at Casa Tagomago