This week, the older children of the escuelita went on a hike to the so-called “Mezquita de Busquístar”, or simply “La Mezquita”, an old Mosque near Busquístar.
It is a very special place:
- due to its location, about 1200 meters above sea level, dominating the villages of the old Taha de Ferreira;
- for its history, dating back to the time of Al Andalus, when this small municipality was inhabited by the Berbers;
- for its numerous archaeological remains, such as rooms, children’s graves, a pit or cylindrical silo and a large irrigation pool, with estimated dating between the 8th and 14th centuries. That makes the Mosque the oldest archaeological site in La Alpujarra.
Still today you can find remains of very old pottery, like this piece (which we think could be Visigoth):
However, some people think that it is rather a castle, as the ones found in each of the Muslim municipalities in the region. This assumption has been made for several reasons:
- its strategic situation:
- between the villages of La Taha, Pórtugos and Busquístar,
- between several “escarihuelas”, which were fundamental axes of communication in the region,
- at the confluence between the Chorrerón and Castañar ravines and the Trevélez river,
- as well as the presence of a cistern on the site,
- and the allusions in manuscripts of the 16th century to the hill of Alhizáncerca de Ferreirola and its annex Atalbéitar, and to a “castillejo (castle) on the Escarriguela, built on top of rocks” in the vicinity of Pórtugos.
Besides, the site is spectacular, as is the path that leads to it. The children had a great time climbing rocks, going through the “mazes” formed by the bushes, entering caves, and climbing to the highest points to admire the magnificent views.
Here are some pictures (of this week’s excursion and a previous hike):