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History of Cuevas Bajas

Diputación de Málaga

History of Cuevas Bajas

Cuevas Bajas dates back to the Paleolithic period (40,000 years before Christ), as witnessed by the utensils found in the Cueva de Belda which speak of the existence of primitive hunting settlements. The area is also home Copper Age remains in the shape of a necropolis of artificial caves considered to be the most significant in Spain.

During the Roman occupation, in around the 2nd century before Christ, a Roman road mentioned in Antoninus’ Itinerary passed close to Cuevas Bajas. In fact, it was the Romans who first introduced vine, olive and cereal cultivation to this area alongside the River Singilis (now known as the Genil).

In mediaeval times, Cuevas Bajas and Cuevas Altas were known together as Cuevas de Belda. And it was during this period of Arabic rule that they enjoyed their greatest splendour.

The area that was once known as Belda, now home to present-day Cuevas Bajas and Cuevas de San Marcos, comprised two mediaeval Muslim villages which were conquered in 1426 by the Governor of Antequera, Pedro Narváez, who, after evacuating Belda, razed both settlements to the ground.

In the late 15th century, Cuevas Bajas and Cuevas Altas saw their lands divided up amongst new settlers. During the 15th and 16th centuries, they shared the nickname "Bella" (beautiful) and the population of the area gradually expanded, reaching 1,300 inhabitants by 1840 and 2,500 by 1900, a year which signalled the onset of a sharp decline in population from which the village has still not recovered.

Calle Real is Cuevas Bajas’ main thoroughfare, running through the entire town, and it is home to practically everything, from the Ayuntamiento (Town Hall) to the bus stop, though, as Noel Clarasó once said, all of the streets of Cuevas Bajas are long enough for us to learn something from them. Just outside the town are a number of locations of immense beauty, including the spot known as "Isla Grande", on the banks of the River Genil.