Whether you’re a fan of the Smurfs or not, the famous Smurf Village of Jazcar, Andalucia, is a place unlike any other. Because, in a sea of traditional white Spanish villages, every building in Jazcar is painting in a vibrant shade of Smurf blue. It’s the perfect place to capture insta-worthy photos, and every element of the village makes a great day trip from the Costa del Sol. So, what’s the story behind the Smurf village in Juzcar? And what is there to do when you get there? Here’s everything you need to know:
A Tribute to the Smurf Movie
The Smurf movie was released globally in 2011, and to celebrate and promote the new movie, in spring 2011 Sony Pictures paid handsomely to paint the village of Juzcar blue for ceremonies and photo shots. They also situated large statues of the Smurfs and other props from the movie around the village. Thousands of tourists, families, and Smurf fans from around the globe travelled to Juzcar to see the spectacle, causing visitor numbers in the village to swell considerably.
In December 2011, Sony offered to return the town to its former shade of white, but as tourist numbers to the village had increased considerably, from about 300 to 80,000 in the six months after the painting had taken place, the citizens voted to leave the buildings painted blue, and take advantage of their new found tourism industry. Curiously, there was on resident that was not happy with the idea of a Smurf village and refused to have his house painted. Looking out for the only white house in the blue village is a great way to pass the time with kids!
Sadly, in 2017 Juzcar’s right to use the Smurf name and the Smurf franchise was taken away. The village rebranded itself as the ‘blue village’, but you will still find some remants of Smurf props and merchandise dotted around the village. At this point the villagers also added hiking trails and zip wires to continue to hold visitors' interests. What’s more, Juzcar has so much more to offer that the Smurfs, and there’s plenty of other attractions to entice tourists.
Other Things to See and Do
- The Parish Church of Santa Catalina in Júzcar was built in the sixteenth century. Since then it has been renovated several times, and whilst it used to have a tower this was destroyed by an earthquake in 1650. However, the Mudejar style belfry is original, as is part of the arch supporting the tower. The crypts and arches behind the church look like medieval castles in miniature, and are well worth exploration.
- One of the best things to do in Juzcar is to walk, climb, and try your hand at canyoning. The region has a range of beautiful natural heritage, and offers great views over the Genal Valley and its white villages and you can even see Morocco from here on clear days. It is a wonderful place to challenge yourself by climbing the Sima Diablo (Devil's Chasm), which attracts many visitors.
- If you’re interested in history then you’ll be interested in a visit to the old tin factory. The first tinplate factory ever developed in Spain was built in Júzcar and it first operated in 1731. The melting furnaces were kept burning with wood from the sierras, and at one point it housed as many as 200 workers, plus two engineers from Switzerland and 30 technicians trained in Germany. The elegant columns and cornices of its austere façade are incredibly beautiful, and well worthy of exploration.
- Finally, one of the main reasons that Sony chose Juzcar as its Smurf village is because the Smurfs love mushrooms, and Juzcar is famed for its wide array of delicious funghi. A paradise for mycologists and nature lovers, the fields are full of mushrooms as far as the eye can see, and the village is even home to its own mushroom museum. The village and its surrounding area also host an array of mushroom themed cultural events throughout the year, so watch out for these and choose the date you visit the village accordingly.
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