The origin of the name "Salares" is Latin and is actually, "Salaria Bastitanorum", due to the fact that there was apparently a deposit of natural salt somewhere in the surrounding area.
However, the layout of the village is definitely drawn up true to Arabic design and not Latin. The Arabs built a small fortress inside the village centre, of which only the turrets can still be seen today. It is situated next to the church and known locally as, "casa llamada del torreón".
Salares’s historical development has been similar to that of the many neighbouring villages within the Axarquia region. Reconquered by the Christians during the Reconquest, however, the Arabs who had remained were sujected to a number of inhumane conditions which provoked them to rise up against their new Christian lords and masters along with the Moors who were living in nearby villages in similar conditions. Their final plight was their expusion at the end of the 16th century (in 1571) and they were handed over to the Marquis of Comares to do with them as he saw fit. At that time the total number of inhabitants in Salares was 548, and due to the need for every available person to work the land in order to survive many of the crafts, such as the making of silk, were abandoned and lost.
At the end of the 19th century Salares, along with the whole region, was hit quite hard by an earthquake. Although there were no registered deaths, the whole village centre and many other buildings were completely destroyed and had to be restored with the help of the government.
The name of Salares is famous well beyond the village itself, although not many inhabitants know why. It is because of the local born painter Antonio Salares who emmigrated to France and often has exhibitions in the Maison Pour Tors and "Le Colombier" in Parîs. He has a rather peculiar style combining a magical realism that is almost abstract in a way, but the light and sensations from his native village of Salares can be picked out in almost all his works. Therefore, despite the fact that he is not very well known in the village, he does a lot to promote this beautiful village through his paintings.
Within the village centre there are a series of tiled plaques that indicate the different stations of the Way of the Cross as it makes it way through the village streets. The church is quite literally at the centre of village and is very much a part of its history. The Belfry, which was built on top of the old Arab minaret of the mosque, was declared as a Monument of National Interest in 1979. The sections on the outside that still maintain the Arabic “Sebka” decoration are only comparable with thos found on the Giralda in Seville. The bell tower now stands over the parish church of Santa Ana and the fortressed house that we spoke of before is also near.
Nowadays, the local economy is still very much based on agriculture with important vineyards, olive groves, orange orchards, almond trees and other vegetable crops. There are several construction companies that are also important in economic terms that work both inside the village itself or in the surrounding area. As an additional point of interest is that ever since 1990 some herds of wild boar have be known to frequent the area. This is believed to be due to the depopulation of the region and its corresponding transformation into quite an extensive area of wildlife. These circumstanaces offer hunters the chance to participate in organised hunts on payment of the stipulated fees and within the designated seasons.