Sunday, November 20, 2011

Yegen (a village in the Alpujarras)

Yegen is a little village in the Alpujarra of Granada situated between the villages of Válor and Mecina Bombarón. Like other pueblos blancos in this region, Yegen is situated amidst spectacular scenery lying as it does on the southern slopes of the Sierra Nevada.

The Alto de San Juan lies to the north of the village. It is one of the lesser peaks of the Sierra Nevada National Park but it is still pretty high with an altitude of 9,000 feet. Yegen, itself, is 4000 feet above sea level and to the south, below the village, are the valleys of Cadíar and Ugíjar. Opposite is the Sierra de la Contraviesa, which can provide tantalising glimpses of the Mediterranean beyond to travellers who view it from the appropriate location.

In the immediate vicinity of the village are forests of chestnut above the village and further up poplar. Below the village are groves of orange and olive.

Yegen is not as picturesque as villages like Pampaniera and Capileira - nor as large as Órgiva and Ugíjar. However, it is worthy of mention because it was the setting for 'South from Granada' by the celebrated English author Gerald Brenan. He lived in Yegen between 1920 and 1930. A number of famous friends visited him there including Virginia Woolf.

Gerald Brenan
Brenan was one of the foremost English chroniclers of Spain and its people. He wrote 'The Spanish Labyrinth' and 'The Face of Spain' but it was 'South from Granada' for which he is most famous. It was his autobiography of his time in Yegen.

There is a plaque over the door of the house where the author lived and one of the streets in the village is named after him. There is even a 'Sendero de Gerald Brenan' footpath - it is one of a number of walking routes in the vicinity of Yegen. The long distance GR7 passes nearby. It is part of the International E-4 footpath that runs all the way from Tarifa to Greece. So even without Gerald Brenan, Yegen can lay claim to being well and truly on the map!

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