The Cortijo del Fraile is one of the most emblematic and spectacular constructions within the Cabo de Gata-Nijar Natural Park
The reason? Well, although it is in ruins, the building is an imposing structure, possessing a mythical beauty that, moreover, is part of a fascinating love story conceived after a tragic event that occurred there on July 22, 1928. This is known as the “Crime of Nijar”.
This fatal event has inspired great works of Spanish literature such as Bodas de Sangre by Federico Garcia Lorca and Puñal de Claveles by the writer Carmen de Burgos.
It is the largest and most spectacular farmhouse in the Natural Park, where other much smaller farmhouses coexist, which are also a very pleasant option for locals and tourists alike.
It was declared “Bien de Interes Cultural”, with a Historic Site designation on March 23, 2010.
The distinction is stipulated in the Official Bulletin of the Council of Andalusia, which gives us an idea of how fascinating the place is, and it is visited by hundreds of people each year.
The Cortijo del Fraile is located within an estate of some 730 hectares of land. In its interior, around its concrete central patio, we can find the bell tower, the funeral crypt, the chapel, the stables, the ovens and the cistern.
Built in the 18th century by Dominican friars, the construction was expropriated in 1836 and became private property.
The land where the farmhouse is located was used for field work, until its owners abandoned it in search of better lands for agriculture.
According to historical records, the farmhouse was placed in the hands of one of the employees, who in 1928 made the decision to arrange the marriage of his daughter Francisca Cañadas, known as Paca “la coja”.
And it was precisely that arranged marriage that culminated in a great family tragedy, known until our times as the “Crime of Nijar”, referred to above.
This crime became a disturbing story that has aroused the interest of many curious and impressive writers, who have adopted the facts into their magnificent works.
The architectural value of the Cortijo del Fraile has been recognised by experts as well as photography lovers, who are encouraged to carry out the restoration work necessary to avoid losing it.
Many people say that visiting the building and nearby areas is an extremely formidable experience that should not be missed.
To get there, you take the ALP-824 road that joins the towns of Rodalquilar and Los Albaricoques. Two kilometres after leaving Rodalquilar, you will see a detour to the right with a sign to the Cortijo del Fraile road. When entering this road, drive along a straight line, where the surroundings will be full of the unique vegetation typical of this area.
It is important to bear in mind that this mythical place has been so inspiring for many artists that it has also been converted into a location for the staging of cinematographic productions.
Among them are the films For a Few Dollars More
, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
and A Bullet for the General
It is an ideal place to take beautiful photographs that will remain for posterity in the memories of those who have seen it.