San Pedro, marbella direct

San Pedro Alcántara’s origins as an agricultural colony

Though this lively little town located close to Marbella has the typical charm of a centuries-old Andalusian settlement, it is in fact much newer than most, for San Pedro Alcántara was founded in 1860 as an agricultural colony.

This is not to say that the area has only been recently settled, for though the coastal regions of the Mediterranean were depopulated during centuries of slave raids by North African pirates, there is evidence of prosperous communities here in classical times. Remains of Roman baths and villas with under floor heating and other luxuries form an interesting parallel with the modern homes that have evolved in this area over recent decades, while an early Christian church dating back to before the Arab conquest is a relative newcomer compared to the villages and fish curing works built here by the Phoenicians up to a thousand years before.

A model agricultural community

The area that had been so prosperous in classical times become a depopulated wilderness for centuries, yet with the coastline safe following the conquest of Algeria by France in 1830, the Marqués del Duero bought large tracts of land in the area west of Marbella – then just a little walled fishing village. The mostly flat land that ran right up to the beach was ideally suited to agriculture, so the enlightened aristocrat established a model agricultural community to produce and export sugarcane.

The crop was planted and a processing factory established, now one of the oldest buildings in the town, known as the Trapiche de Guadaiza. Recently renovated and beautified, it now serves as a charming cultural centre. The building formed the heart of the agricultural community that grew up in the area, centred upon a pretty little village of whitewashed houses and populated by a combination of Marbella residents, workers from adjacent mountain areas and even colonists from the Duero region of central-western Spain.

San Pedro apartments, Marbella DirectAnother historic building in the area, which reminds us of the origins of the town, is La Alcoholera. A commercial extension of the sugarcane processing, it used the raw materials produced locally to distil cane rums that found their way across Spain and beyond. Situated in the original part of San Pedro Alcántara, now the suburb of El Ingénio, which retains a distinct village feel, it too is used for community events such as theatre performances, fairs and weddings. It adds to the charm of this lively little Spanish town that forms the local point of reference for people living in the luxury villas of Guadalmina Baja and the stylish modern frontline golf apartment complexes of Guadalmina.

For more information about San Pedro, its lifestyle and the excellent villas, townhouses and apartments for sale here, please contact Marbella Direct. We have a prime selection of properties and the know-how to offer an effective service.