Why it’s called “Almanzora”

A tale is told to me of how the Almanzora river got its name*…

Locals say that their ancestors told them that the name comes from Moorish times, when Caliph Mohammed Almanzor was returning with his troops from a sortie into the Levante. When he reached the banks of this river, he was warned by an old crone of its dangerous flash floods. Seeing the storm clouds gathering in the mountains, he wisely decided to traverse the river further downstream.

On his way with his troops, he stopped at a local fountain, famous for the purity of its waters, to slake his thirst. There he spotted a famous local beauty, a young Christian woman, filling her urns with water at the fountain.

Falling instantly in love with the young girl, he ordered his troops to seize her, announcing that she would be taken with him back to his palace in Córdoba.

But that evening, when the army stopped for the night, having crossed the dangerous riverbed and carried on their way towards Córdoba, locals from the village who had followed the army managed to free the girl, and they fled back to their home. Followed by the furious army, they managed to cross the river, which at that moment was just starting to flood. By the time the Moorish army reached the riverbank, the flood was well underway, and the Moorish troops refused to cross.

The great Caliph, impotent and in a fit of rage, sank to his knees and sobbed. At seeing their leader, who had won so many battles and was a great leader of men, reduced to tears by a river and a lost love, his men cried out ¡Almanzor llora! ¡Almanzor llora! (Almanzor, he cries!).

And from that moment on, the river was known by the wailing of his troops Almanzora.


*Via Professor Pedro Perales “El nombre del río Almanzora (leyenda popular)” & recounted in Axarquía (vol 15).

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