RESIDENTS in the Axarquia complain that the old sugar refineries which are part of the area’s history have been left to go to rack and ruin.
In Nerja alone, there are around 10 different locations which bear witness to the area’s importance in the past in sugar production and exportation.
Most of the buildings which remain are owned by Sociedad Azucarera Larios, and now more than ever with the financial crisis, neither the private company nor the administrations have the money to restore them to their former glory and promote them as a tourist attraction.
Some years back, there were plans to make some, like the 18th century San Rafael Refinery in Torrox, into hotels. Another example is the Nuestra Señora del Carmen Refinery in Torre del Mar which is due to be made into a museum.
Unfortunately at the moment, rather than getting a more dignified future, they seem doomed to be used for adventure sports, or as a place for graffiti fans to express their ‘art’.
In Nerja, a Cultural Association, La Volaera, has been created to help protect the refineries. Just recently the informed the town hall that an advertising banner had been put up at the 15th century San Antonio Abad refinery. Within hours, thanks to the local Culture Councillor, Gema Garcia, it was taken down. However, the group wants more protection for the refineries which are part of local heritage.