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Grazalema is a Spanish municipality in the province of Cadiz. It is located in the northeast of the province of Cádiz. It is located in the reserve area of the Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park. It is famous for having the highest rainfall rate in the southern half of Spain. Its back is guarded by the Peñón Grande where the river Guadalete is born.
It is also part of the famous Route of the White Villages.
In and around Grazalema there are archaeological remains from prehistoric times. However, despite the vestiges of several earlier cultures, their true origin is with the colonization of the Romans. With Scipio’s legions the village of Lacilbula was born on the Clavijo hill.
The Arabs were here since 715, and changed its name to Raisa Iami Suli. Also later it became Ben-salama, “Son of Zulema”. At that time, the area lived off agriculture, livestock and the textile industry.
In 1485, being called Zagrazalema, it was conquered by Rodrigo Ponce de León y Núñez in favor of the Christians.
After the War of Granada and culminated the historical process of the Reconquest, the Catholic Kings granted Rodrigo Ponce de Leon and Nunez in December 1490 the Lordship of the Seven Villas and the I Marquis of Zahara, in payment for reconquering “The Seven Villas” (1485) and the town of Zahara de la Sierra in 1483. He also obtained the Palace of Marchenilla, as a place of residence for hunting and its surroundings for their participation with other knights in the war that marked the end of the Nasrid kingdom of Granada of King Boabdil, thus integrating all these reconquered towns to the Crown of Castile.
In 1492, after the death of Rodrigo Ponce de León, the Catholic Monarchs negotiated with his daughter Francisca the suppression of the marquisate.
The origin of the population goes back to the policy of repopulation of the villas reconquered by Rodrigo Ponce de León and Núñez attached to the Crown of Castile in the mid-fifteenth century. By the heir of the House of Arcos, Rodrigo Ponce de León y Ponce de León in 1520. The distribution of the land proclaimed by the 1st Duke of Arcos, marked the origin of the repopulation of the town of Grazalema. The stately situation lasted until the 18th century, taking on a great economic boom in the 17th century thanks to the cloth industry that produced the famous Grazalema blanket.
In the 19th century it suffered the consequences of the War of Independence, which meant the looting and destruction of many villages and the plague epidemic. Also in this period is the origin of the first bandits, among them the outstanding José María El Tempranillo.
Already in the 20th century, during the Civil War, many towns, including Grazalema, were razed to the ground, destroying many of their monuments and documents.
Their traditional activities are the agricultural ones, which are being progressively abandoned due to their scarce profitability. Because there is a boom in rural tourism in the Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park.
Typical cuisine from Grazalema
In this post we present some of the typical dishes of Grazalema and its Sierra:
Caldereta de Cordero is a traditional dish from the cuisine of Grazalema and the Sierra de Cádiz. Its main ingredients are leg or shoulder of lamb, onion, tomato, red or red pepper, garlic, white wine and La Mancha olive oil.
It can also be served in different ways. The most famous one is the one that consists of salting the meat in pieces and clean of fat, then cutting the onions, peppers and tomatoes, frying them together with the garlic in a pot or pan with a little bit of oil. Then the meat is added and once it is golden the white wine is added. It is also recommended that this recipe be made with firewood.
Payoyo cheese is a registered trademark of cheese produced from goat and sheep’s milk by Queso Payoyo SL in the Sierra de Grazalema.
Also within each type, different varieties can be found:
Tuna fish with onions
The tuna encebollado or tuna encebollao is a traditional tuna stew from the province of Cadiz. It is also a dish that is served hot.
It is a very simple seafood dish to prepare with only two ingredients:
- Onion in large quantities
- Tuna cut in cubes. The preparation of this dish is usually better appreciated depending on which part of the tuna is used for its preparation. In addition, the stew is usually flavoured with bay leaves and sherry wine.
The most interesting places to visit in Grazalema
Grazalema is a very small town that can be visited in a morning or afternoon. The best thing is to walk through its beautiful streets. And be surprised, here we leave you with several places that are a must if you pass through Grazalema
The Monument to the Rope Bull
On the corner of Calle Plaza Pequeña, there is a striking sculpture that is a monument to the rope bull. It is a tribute to the traditional Grazalemeño festival.
It is an impressive life-size sculpture composed of two figures of two men with a rope tied to a bull.
At present it is one of the main attractions to see in Grazalema. It has been here since 2,014.
The famous Plaza de España
The Plaza de España is the centre of the town and one of the most beautiful places to see in Grazalema. In which we can find some of the most representative buildings of Grazalema.
In the most western part is the Town Hall and on the other side the Church of the Dawn. Which is a beautiful temple of the seventeenth century Renaissance style of transition to the Baroque.
The image of this square with the church in the background is one of the most characteristic to see in Grazalema.
The Church of San Juan
Another of the most important places to see in Grazalema is the Church of San Juan. Because it is one of the smallest in the town. It is a temple from the 18th century, which was built on top of an old mosque.
At Christmas, they give out fritters here.
Doctor Mateos Gago Street
Doctor Mateos Gago Street is one of the longest and most beautiful streets to be seen in Grazalema. As you walk along this street you will see a beautiful image of the tower of the Church of San Juan.
The Church of San José
This is one of the most important places to see in Grazalema. Because it contains some canvases in the dome belonging to a disciple of Murillo and the image of the Immaculate Conception.
It is also a 17th century building that was part of a Carmelite convent, and is in one of the highest areas of the town.
Los Peñascos Viewpoint
The Viewpoint of Los Peñascos from which you can get a beautiful view of the village.
Las Piedras Street and Las Parras Street
Calle San José and Calle Las Piedras are two of the most beautiful streets in Grazalema.
The Medieval Road
Another place to see in Grazalema is its medieval road. It is in perfect condition after being restored with limestone. A route that runs through the lower part of the town, which borders the river Guadalete.
Viewpoint of Asomaderos
Right next to the tourist office you can enjoy a viewpoint with sensational views of the Sierra de Grazalema.