As the capital of the Axarquia, it is the largest town in the region and the most significant in terms of history, culture and wealth. Most of its land lies in the valley of the river of the same name and is devoted to the cultivation of fruit, vegetables, subtropical crops, sugar cane, etc.
Though its origins date back much further, the town's riches and strategic value really came to the fore in the Arabic era. As the town has developed, an AREAs which have left behind their fishing or agricultural origins to become sun and sand holiday resorts: Chilches, Benajarafe, Almayate, la Caleta de Velez, Mezquitilla, Lagos and, most notably, Torre del Mar, a densely-populated district which boasts excellent tourist services as well as magnificent beaches which are clean and well looked
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