By John Smith •
Published: 08 Feb 2024 • 17:43
Welcome to Juzcar
Credit: KnitSpirit flickr
Spanish villages are generally very attractive but a few have turned themselves into the quirkiest habitations in Europe.
Who would have thought that one of Belgium’s favourite cartoon creations would take over the tiny village of Juzcar which is situated not too many kilometres away from Ronda in Malaga Province?
The journey there however is down a narrow winding road through mountainous terrain until you discover the blue village that is Juzcar.
At one time this isolated hamlet was painted white but in 2011 to coincide with the release of The Smurf Movie, Sony Pictures were looking for a suitable village to paint blue for promotional purposes and they hit on Juzcar.
It’s remote, small and is well-known for the mushrooms that grow locally and as we all know, Smurfs are blue and live in mushroom houses, thus the decision was made and embraced by those living there, although at one time a single householder wanted to stick out and keep their property white.
The deal was eventually struck and included an undertaking that once the promotion was over then Sony would pay for all the properties to be painted white again.
In the event, a public referendum was held and local residents decided not only did they like being a blue village but if they embraced Smurfism then they would become a tourist attraction.
Now 13 years later, they are not only still blue, but various statues have been erected to some of the main characters and there are 14 different wall drawings of Smurfs around Juzcar each of which carries a QR code which gives more information.
It is estimated that around 80,000 people make the trip to the Smurf village each year and it’s great fun for the children as there is a cute playground, there is a hotel, a smattering of restaurants and bars as well as a mushroom museum and quite a few Smurf souvenirs.
It might not be the place to spend a week’s holiday but is certainly an idea place to visit for the day.
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Married to Ophelia in Gibraltar in 1978, John has spent much of his life travelling on security print and minting business and visited every continent except Antarctica.
Having retired several years ago, the couple moved to their house in Estepona and John became a regular news writer for the EWN Media Group taking particular interest in Finance, Gibraltar and Costa del Sol Social Scene.
Currently he is acting as Editorial Consultant for the paper helping to shape its future development.
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