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History of Casarabonela

Diputación de Málaga

History of Casarabonela

Casarabonela has been inhabited since the Neolithic Era, which is backed up by diggings in the area. However, the most important remains, due to their good condition, found in the area belong to the Roman civilisation. These Roman remains were the foundation to what is today Casarabonela. It was an advanced position for Roman troops that was named Castra Vinaria or Castillo del Vino and the Romans built two roads that crossed the the region from one side to another; one linked Casarabonela with Malaga in the south and the other with Ronda in the West. Even today some remains can be seen along these routes.

However, the Arabic roots of the village are openly visible, too. The Arab settlement not only did not interfere with the Roman constructions, but it took to strengthening the old fortress (in the 9th century it was restored and later on strengthened by Omar Ben Hafsun) and they even went as far as to keep the original name, which had been the headquarters of the Alcazar at Bonela, was called Csar Bonaira. The extremely high quality of the Arab construction work turned it into one of the most difficult places to be captured by the Christian Troops in the whole region and it was, in fact, one of the last to be forced to surrender during the Reconquest.

Once the Moors were finally expelled, the land was repopulated by land labourers from Extremadura and other regions within Anadalucia. In 1574 King Felipe 2nd granted it full status as an independent village and the official declaration can still be seen today in the Town Hall archives.

Casarabonela, situated almost at the heart of the province, has three zones in the village that have a definite Moorish flavour to them; the Arrabal, el Calvario and the Jareas. As is natural, the urban layout of the village has also maintained a rather Arab character with its narrow, steep streets (some dead ends) and their whitewashed shiny houses. The impressive Iglesia de Santiago Apóstol is found in the main square and nearby is the Benavista balcony dated from 1951. From here, which is where the Town hall is situated, the views of the lower part of the village and its surroundings are fantastic..

The local economy is based in the main on agricultural with products such as olives, almonds, citrus fruits and cereal crops, although there are some sub-tropical fruit crops like avocados and mangoes are also grown. There is also a water-bottling plant in the village (the water from Casarabonela is very pure), which boosts the local economy along with small textile industries. Last, but not least, is the animal farming that goes on all around the village with important herds of pigs, cattle, sheep, and goats.