Along with its annex El Golco and the group of farmhouses of Montenegro, this village is located 114 km from the provincial capital, Granada, and lies at an altitude of 1,136 metres above sea level. In 1973 it merged with the municipality of Yegen, creating what is today the municipality of Alpujarra de la Sierra. The total population is approximately 1,300 inhabitants, concentrated almost entirely in Mecina Bombarón and Yegen. Set deep in the heart of the Sierra Nevada Natural and National Park, it enjoys privileged views of the Sierra de Gádor, the Sierra de Lújar and the Contraviesa, and on clear days you can see as far as the sea.
Nestled on the slopes of the most deep-set peak on the Iberian Peninsula, Mecina Bombarón was the birthplace of Abén Aboo, an active defender of the Alpujarra of Muslim times. It is a picturesque village, with various districts, and is characterised by its unusual traditional architecture, its terraced hillsides, and surrounded by ancient chestnut trees. The Barrio de Arraíces district in Mecina Bombarón is remarkable for its excellent state of conservation, and it is a fine example of typical Alpujarran architecture.
On a gently sloping mountainside, alive with the colours of fruit trees and poplars and criss-crossed with streams, Yegen is located in a particularly beautiful spot. Here you can appreciate its well-preserved traditional architecture, as well as a whole host of elements of cultural interest, such as the Mudejar church, the ruins of the Moorish fortress “el Peñon del Fuerte”, and numerous natural caves.
The village is also well known on an international level thanks to the English a uthor Gerald Brenan, who was without a doubt one of the greatest authorities on this area, where he lived for several years. He was captivated by the simple spontaneity of the people, the sounds, the hustle and bustle and goings on of life there, the beliefs, customs and folklore, and he monitored and recorded it all in minute detail, publishing the fruit of his efforts, Al sur de Granada (South from Granada), in 1951. Thanks to this novel, the culture of Yegen has been broadcast in various document-aries such as Aguas Pasadas filmed with Brenan in the summer of 1973 for channel TVE by Alfredo Amestoy, La mirada de Brenan, mostly filmed on location in the village, and also in the feature film by Fernando Colomo, Al Sur de Granada, which recounted the years spent by Brenan in this area.
This lies on the same side of the river and below Mecina Bombarón. It is home to one of the oldest churches in the area, which dates from the 16th century, and which may be a former mosque which has been consecrated as a Christian place of worship.
This is a small townland composed of an old cortijo (farmhouse) which sits on a hill, with various others spread out around it. The group of farmsteads which comprise Montenegro also belonged to Abén Aboo, and is home to a shrine, the Ermita de la Virgen de Fátima.
The relief of the municipality is mountainous and uneven, and altitudes range from 700 to 2,750 metres. The land is scored by a network of gullies and gorges, the largest of which forms the river bed of the Río Mecina.
In terms of traditional buildings, in Mecina Bombarón and Yegen you will see that most houses have two or three storeys, and have a certain noble influence, being entirely built with stone masonry (the majority with pointing) and having flat tiled roofs. The houses, which bear a remarkable resemblance to Berber buildings, are scattered somewhat anarchically over the hillsides. Like the steps of some giant staircase, the flat roofs and terraces of some are also the paths to and from others, and the slender chimney columns rise up out of these.
The passage between dwellings is facilitated by one of the most unusual elements of architecture in the Alpujarra, the “tinaos”, or traditional roof terraces.
The combination of all of the characteristics of the architecture, culture and landscape make this municipality a delightful holiday destination.
Expressions of culture in Alpujarra de la Sierra are mainly found in its fiestas, its folklore and in its rich cuisine. In addition, there are two museums of photography in the area. The Museo Fotográfico de la Alpujarra is in Mecina Bombarón, and holds a collection of more than six hundred photographs which reflect the cultural heritage of the different villages in the region. The photographs portray the architecture, typical food and drink, folklore, culture, legends and many different people from the various towns and villages which comprise the region of The Alpujarra. The Museo Fotográfico de Van Hannsen in Yegen possesses a large collection of photographs which are exclusively of the village and its inhabitants. Here, you can see the living history of the village from 1959 to 1989, which is the result of a labour of love by Mr. Van Hannsen, who came back to visit Yegen year after year, until he became much more than just a visitor.
The cuisine in Alpujarra de la Sierra, as in the rest of the Alpujarra, is based on the variety and richness of local products, such as fruit and vegetables, cereals, goat kid meat, almonds, corn, garlic, fennel, honey and green beans. It is simple, natural and tasty. Some dishes include migas de papas, featuring breadcrumbs and made with potato, garlic and olive oil, and ajo quemao, featuring garlic and made from tomatoes, dried peppers, roasted peppers and maize flour. In addition, you can try olla de hinojos (fennel stew), gachas de “ajo quemao” and gachas de caldo colorao (both dishes made from flour), guisaillo matancero (a type of casserole), potaje de castañas (a dessert made from chestnuts), and buñuelos (sweet fritters), as well as a great variety of exquisite sweet pastries of Moorish origin. Alongside such local specialities, pork is a very symbolic product, and the popularity of the ritual of the matanza, the slaughter of the pig, in the Alpujarra demonstrates the importance of the production of local jamones (hams) and other cured pork products.
Alpujarra de la Sierra enjoyed a significant boom under Arab rule, and two settlements were de-veloped: Mecina Bombarón, which was composed of eight barrios including the district of El Golco, which had its own mosque and grain store, and the village of Yegen, with a further two barrios. Mecina Bombarón was the birthplace of Diego López (Abén Aboo), the cousin and successor of Abén Humeya (whom he assassinated), who took up arms against Philip II in 1568, leading the Revolt of the Moriscos in The Alpujarra.
The municipality has a large number of very old sites, such as “Altalazora”, the “Castillejo de Golco” and the “Cueva del Reyecillo” (Cave of the King), although few examples of such remains have been discovered or investigated in The Alpujarra in general.
The first settlers were Neolithic tribes, which gave way to other cultures such as the Romans. The Middle Ages left traces such as the medieval bridge and the road between Mecina Bombarón and Yegen. These lands experienced their heyday under Islamic dominion, and some Muslin inventions from that time still remain which continue to function today with the same effect as in days gone by, such as the irrigation system provided by the network of channels called acequias.