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History of Cortes de la Frontera

Diputación de Málaga
Montes de Cortes de la Frontera (pesaje del corcho y arrieros). Serranía de Ronda

History of Cortes de la Frontera

The village dates back to the 11th and 10th centuries before Christ, when the Phoenicians settled here after defeating the Tartessians.

However, the most significant settlement came with the arrival of the Romans, who were responsible for the name Cortex, meaning protection or defence. The ruins of the town of Saeponia and the remains of a town known as "Cortes el Viejo" also date back to Roman times. During the Arabic era, Cortex came under the jurisdiction first of Seville, then Granada and finally Ronda before being conquered by San Fernando in 1248.

However, it fell into Arabic hands again shortly after, remaining under Muslim control until 1485. The Arabs left behind significant remains of their culture, including a tower known as the “Torre de Paso".

The present-day village dates back to the late 17th century, which explains the ordered, symmetrical nature of its urban layout and the architecture of its main buildings in contrast to the more irregular Arabic design that characterises most of the towns and villages in this region. Its landscape is also less undulating than those of its neighbours, with an average gradient of just 29 percent.

The buildings of greatest interest here are the Iglesia de Nuestra Señora del Rosario, the Capilla de los Valdenegro and the Ayuntamiento (Town Hall), which is notable for its main faèade, though Calle Real is also home to a number of eighteenth-century buildings, including a number of ancestral homes.

95 percent of the land within Cortes’ boundaries belongs to two natural parks, Grazalema and Los Alcornocales. As a result, tourism is one of the mainstays of the local economy, along with cork production, though agriculture and cattle farming (mainly cows) are also important activities.