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Juzcar, Andalucia, The Blue Painted Smurf Village in Spain
Nestled in the mountains near Malaga in Andalucia in southern Spain, is an unusual tourist attraction. The village of Juzcar has been painted blue!
A traditional pueblo blanco, meaning 'white village', Juzcar is an ancient town dating back to before the Moors invaded Spain in 711AD.
Giant electronic firm Sony contaced the town's officials and asked permission to paint the town blue to celebrate the launch of the new Smurf movie - The Smurfs 2011.
This permission was granted - no doubt the town needed a new lick of paint - and the result is stunning as you can see in the photograph here.
The plan was that by September 2011, the painters would return and re-paint the village white again, but tourists have been flocking to Juzcar in their thousands, and now the people of the villages are considering staying blue.
The Smurfs were really popular in Spain in the 1980s, and now there is a huge resurgence of interest.
The villagers in Juzcar often dress up as Smurfs to amuse the tourists that are flocking ot the town, and the local alcalde, David Fernandez, is even getting called Papa Smurf!
All summer long a Smurf fair was held in the market place at the village square, and they raked in a small fortune in Smurf memobiliaria which eager tourist snapped up.
Local children augmented their pocket money by selling photo opportunities while dressed in Smurf costumes.
Smurf-mania took over, and now September is here, there is no sign of a drop-off in tourism which has brought prosperity the villagers.
Such has been the interest in this remote Andalucian village that extra police have had to be drafted in to control the traffic.
Santa Catalina Church in Juzcar also painted blue
The church in Juzcar, the Santa Catalina of Siena, was built in 1505, and has a single nave. It replaced the mosque that was destroyed when the Moors were kicked out of Spain.
The Santa Catalina Church has been re-built several times in its long history. Firstly it was expanded as the population rose, and during Spain's Civil War it was a target for anti-Franco forces, solely because Franco was a staunch Catholic.
I am tempted to think it looked better in the second photo when painted white, but church takings are reportedly up considerably since being painted blue and becoming a tourist attraction, so perhaps it will stay blue.
Spain's Smurf Village
The Spanish call Juzcar Pueblo Pitufo which means Smurf Village.
It took about 20 painters, 11 of whom had been local unemployed men, and 1,000 litres of blue paint to transform Juzcar into its azure hue.
The alcalde, David Fernandez, is now planning on holding a referendum to see whether or not the people want their houses to remain blue, or whether to repaint them white.
As he said, this planned referendum is some months away, so now is a good time to go and visit Spain's Smurf Village.
It is situated 40 miles from Malaga which has an international airport, and a good bus service, else use a car rental company that you can book online.
Get yourself onto the main Ronda/San Pedro de Alcantara road and it is well-signposted.
Júzcar is near the town of Ronda in southern Spain, and just 40 miles from Malaga airport.