The cultural heritage of the municipality of Soportújar is reflected in its varied physical features, folklore, delicious cuisine and popular fiestas.
Soportújar’s cuisine is similar to the typical cuisine in the rest of the Alpujarra, with a few variations, and is centred around pork products and Moorish sweets and desserts. Main courses include puchero de hinojos (fennel stew), cazuelilla gitana (“Gypsy stew”), gachas coloradas (toasted flour and milk flavoured with paprika), sopa de ajo frito (fried garlic soup), potaje de garbanzos (chickpea stew) during Holy Week, and migas (toasted flour or bread-crumbs). Most of these are served with what is known as the engañifa, usually a piece of chorizo or morcilla (a sort of black pudding). Roscos (ring-shaped pastries) and buñuelos (sweet fritters) are eaten on the feast day of St Anthony, and rosetas de cuatro tazas (“four-cup popcorn”) is traditionally eaten on Easter Sunday while making hornazos (pastries with hard-boiled egg in the middle), or when it is cold or raining. Gachas (toasted flour with milk) are another popular dessert.
The mark left behind by traditional Alpujarran culture can still be seen in the Moorish village of Soportújar’s steep, narrow streets, a unique type of architecture in Spain. Its labyrinthine streets are filled with tinaos or arcades, used as corridors be-tween streets which are sometimes close together, sometimes far apart and on another level. In fact, the name Soportújar comes from the words soportal, meaning “arcade”, and jar, meaning “place”. It is a village of tinaos, enchanting tinaos, enchanting witches, as the villagers are called. These good, humble people certainly have a touch of magic about them, so welcoming to anyone who comes to this exceptionally valuable place, not just in environmental and scenic terms, but historically, too.
The village started off in around the year 1200 as a farmstead, known as Xabotaya. It later became part of the Moorish Taha de Órgiva, covered in hundreds and hundreds of mulberry bushes dotted around the meadow. From 1574 onwards, it was a village for Castilians and Andalusians, who worked hard to make use of every inch of land in this fertile mountain area. Finally, when many of the villagers moved away to Catalonia or abroad, the village became an elderly one, and its people would be very glad that anyone reading this might come to live in Soportújar, even just for a short while.