Axarquía, a word of Arab origin which refers to the position to the east of a place has survived in the province of Malaga as the name for its easternmost area. Its landscapes, extremely uneven due to the proximity of the Penibética cordillera to the sea, still boasts many vineyards, although new subtropical crops and the impact of tourism have brought about economic and urbanistic changes, particularly along the coastal strip. As we move inland we come across small villages which have conserved in their popular architecture traces of the Muslim presence (to be sure the reconquest of this area was not completed until the 15th Century).
The houses are positioned largely on hillsides where the fairly low houses are adapted to the topography of the terrain, with steep, winding streets with strange corners. The arches across the roads, the passageways which join the upper storeys of houses and the whitewashed walls are the most characteristic features of the villages. Well worth visiting are the cemeteries of the area, such as the one in Sayalonga, and the "paseros", the raisin drying houses of Cómpeta.