There are plenty of reasons for booking cheap flights to the Spanish Costas in 2013 although, up until now, a burial ground probably wouldn’t have been one of them.
However, the village of Sayalonga, in the province of Malaga on the Costa del Sol, is home to the country’s only circular cemetery, and the locals are hoping to boost tourist numbers by making it into a cultural attraction.
Sayalonga is a beautiful old Andalucian village situated around 40 km from Malaga airport, 9 km from the coast. A popular spot on the Sun and Wine route, it was ruled by the Arabs for more than 900 years. Surrounded by stunning mountain scenery, with narrow, winding streets lined with whitewashed Arabian houses, it offers a perfect introduction to the scenic beauty and cultural heritage that lies beyond the sun-drenched beaches of the Costa del Sol.
Sayalonga’s historic attractions include the ruins of the Batahiz settlement, birthplace of the 16th century Islamic poet Mohamed Al-Hasmi. However, the most important architectural monument is the extraordinary circular necropolis.
Built in 1840, it is honeycombed with white niches typical of Spanish burials of the time, although the circular construction, unique to Spain, is something of a mystery. With a new information centre now open, a local historian is trying to get the Sayalonga cemetery designated as a site of specific cultural interest by the authorities.
People booking cheap flights to the Spanish Costas with Jet2.com next year should therefore remember that Spain has a lot more to offer than sun, sand and Sangria!