Atajate is the smallest village in the province of Malaga and it undergoes an important change in the summer season, when all the former inhabitants who have emigrated return. As far as numbers are concerned, those who come in summer almost outnumber the residents in the village. The village becomes a lot livelier at this time without losing its charm and friendliness. During the rest of the year there are a lot of houses that are uninhabited.
The first remains of human settlements discovered in and around the village of Atajate were some fragments of some axes, which were dug up inside a local cave. Some coins and ceramic objects from the Roman Era have also been found. After the Romans it was the turn of the Arabs to dominate this land and it was this group that really started to put the foundations down for, what is today known as the village of Atajate.
The original nuclei was set up on the nearby Cerro del Cuervo and, either because of its position, or for its fortress amongst the Muslim kingdoms of Seville and Granada, it must have had a castle and fortifications in the time of the Arabs.. It also played an important role in the fights between the Moors and Christians due to its strategic position between Ronda and Gaucin. The remains of the walls of the old church that was part of the cemetery can still be seen today.
Later on during the War of Independence in the 19th century the village was destroyed by Napoleonic troops and it was then used as a safe house by bandits who used to attack the stagecoaches on the mountain roads.
The streets are narrow and torturous and, in the most part, cobbled. They are all built on the hillside of the Cerro Pardo. The centre of the village from a social point of view is the Baroque church of San Jose next to the road that goes from Algeciras to Ronda. As visitors rise up above the village up the windy road the village disappears into the distance and seems to stand still in time.
Just as the other villages in the area, its economy is based on agriculture with the most important crops being the olive, the grape juice, the palm hearts, the fig, the almond, and several manufactured products such as cheese in almonds and cherry liquor.