The story of the moorish maiden imprisoned in the tower of the church of Bubión is a legend that has been recounted throughout the generations. It is a tale of love and tragedy involving the beautiful moor Zecilia and her lover, Diego de Enciso.
According to the legend, Zecilia was imprisoned in the tower of the church of Bubión by her father,,,,,
The Legend of the Moorish maiden imprisoned in the
Legend tells us that the ghost of the beautiful Moorish maiden Zecilla, imprisoned in the War of the Alpujarras because of her love for the young Christian Diego de Enciso, still paces the walls of the old church of Bubión five centuries on.
Passersby say they have heard the wailing cries of a young woman coming from the tower, with a lament that is enough to make your hair stand on end. 450 years after Zecilla’s incarceration, the legend lives on. And there are even those who claim that the unfortunate spirit sometimes slides her hand through the entrance and, if a pair of lovers have the courage and good fortune to touch the door at that moment, they will receive the treasure she guards.
Everything began on Christmas Eve, 1568, when the Moriscos, or Moorish converts, of the Kingdom of Granada renewed their allegiance to their old kings, and rose up in arms against the Crown and the Church, who they saw as the embodiment of all their ills. War drums sounded out in the Tahá of the Poqueira, and the Old Christians took refuge in the still-unfinished church. The Moriscos finally managed to break in through a barricaded doorway, and threatened to burn the church to the ground. The defenceless Christians, realising the danger, surrendered to save themselves from a fiery death.
One of these was Diego, Zecilla’s young lover. On recognising him, her father, who opposed the match, first locked her up in the tower and then led the naked and captive Diego to his house with the intention of killing him with his own hands, deaf to the entreaties of his daughter which, emanating from the tower, may still be heard throughout the Poqueira Gorge.
In the end Diego was imprisoned alongside his Christian brothers for 19 days until the king of the Moriscos, Aben Humeya, arrived in the Tahá and ordered they be put on trial. But on 13 January an advance party of the Marquis of Mondéjar’s troops arrived in Bubión, freeing the Old Christians, killing the men who had risen up and imprisoning the women and children. By that time Aben Humeya had fled.
Standing with his men at the lookout post opposite the church doors, the Marquis of Mondéjar’s captain, Álvaro Flores, was the last to hear Zecilla’s inconsolable sobbing. She would never be heard of again. There are those who say she remained locked up in the tower for the rest of her life, others that she was taken prisoner and exiled. The only thing we know for certain is that her love for the young Christian continues to move amorous couples who stroll past Bubión’s church.
Whether or not you believe the story, on 21 October 1600, while still alive, Diego de Enciso himself would bear witness to his love and tragedy in a sworn legal statement.