Setenil: a town where the sky is rock


A little hour and a half from Malaga city, on the border of the provinces of Cadiz and Malaga and to the shelter of the Sierra de Cadiz emerges Setenil de Las Bodegas, an amazing town, so original and picturesque that you can not miss visiting it.
Setenil lies on the dividing line of two emblematic natural parks (Grazalema and Sierra de las Nieves) and forms part of the Route of the white villages of Cadiz.

In it the houses are adapted to the natural environment and sit on the rocks and even within them on steep streets with different levels of heights. The structure of the streets, the uniqueness of its semi-troglodytic cave houses and the famous trenches excavated by the river are the main attraction and visual appeal for the visitor. I had seen some photos before going and it had caught my attention how the rocks and houses were perfectly integrated in each other and even in some of its corners the rock seemed to cover the sky above the houses. And I testify that this is so, in Setenil there are streets where the sky is of rock! The rural house that we rented, in the street Cuevas de Sombra was completely covered by a large rock, which you could touch with your hands as you peer out the window. And the same rock was also the wall of one of the rooms.Setenil_vistas

The fact of using part of the natural rock in the construction makes of these houses perfectly conditioned for the winter and the summer because the temperature is constant in its interior around 23º all the year.

The origin of its gentilicio is Roman although it is thought that Setenil was already populated from the prehistory. Its present name comes from the Latin Septem-Nihil, that means “Seven times nothing”, that were the times that the Christians tried to conquer it to the Arabs without obtaining it until the 1484 in which the Catholic Kings obtain it, conquist that was considered the door for The reconquest of the Nasrid kingdom.

The most well-known images of the town are from the Caves of Sombra and Caves of Sol Streets, both running parallel to the river. In Cuevas de Sol, the rock makes a particular “visor” and perhaps are the most popular images of the town. In the base there are many restaurants where you can find a nice place to stop and enjoy the local gastronomy of traditional elaboration, cortijos soups, crumbs, cooked, masitas, sweet potatoes with honey … etc.
On Fridays the weekly market is set here.Setenil_cuevas_del-sol

But are also very picturesque Herrería street, Las Calcetas, Las Cabrerizas, Jabonerías etc etc. Of course, you have to be in good shape to traverse as it is a town of very steep streets, but the effort is amply worth.

Outside the village you can admire beautiful landscapes of the same type of rock that abounds in the area and whose lows eroded by the waters of the river for centuries (escarpments of the Trejo) allow their use in the construction of these peculiar houses. In addition we will see landscape of olive groves, cereals and other crops in the route that from Setenil departs along different routes: Escarpes of the Trejo river, the Bandoleros, the Limosnas, the one of the next Roman city of Acinipo, Los Olivos, or recently Inaugurated Route of the Catholic Kings. Of all of them you can inform in the Tourist Office located in the Town Hall near the Plaza de Andalucía, historic center of Setenil, in the highest part of this steep village.
The castle and its Tower of the Homage, the church of Our Lady of the Incarnation, the old Town Hall and the hermitages of Our Lady of the Carmen and San Sebastián are some of its places of major interest.Setenil_cuevas_de_la_sombra

Its Easter week was declared of National Tourist Interest in Andalusia by the unique route of the processions due to urban architecture and the “rivalry” between two brotherhoods, La Santa Vera Cruz and Our Father Jesus… just a taxi ride from Malaga.

By Ana Morales © Copyright 2017- All rights reserved

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