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History of Gaucín

Diputación de Málaga

History of Gaucín

The origin of the settlement known as Gaucin dates back to the Roman Era, although it is during the Arab occupation that it reached its moment of glory. The Romans, therefore, built the castle, but the Arabs reformed it later on. The urban village centre grew up around it. This defensive structure was built on the rocky outcrop that gave its name to the village itself: Sair Guazan or strong rock.

Gaucin was one of the most difficult villages to be captured by the Reyes Católicos, given its strategic position, it is at the head of the access route to the mountainous area, amongst the Sierra de Hacho. Pascual Madoz recounts that in 1488 King Fernando el Catolico left some troops behind to control the village, but the inhabitants (Arabs) grew tired of their Christian hosts and rose up against them and killed them all. The other Arabs who were living in other villages in the region feared reprisals against them all because of this uprising, so they laid siege to Gaucin and sought the help of the Marquis of Cadiz and the Conde Cifuentes who re-took the village and made all the rebels that survived the fighting slaves.

During the invasion by Napoleon and his troops the French went rampage through the streets killing as many inhabitants as they could. They were particularly hard on this village because of the actions of the bandits against their troops.

As for its urban layout, it must be said that it is rather like a maze, with its narrow steep streets that never seem to come to an end. The town seems to have been built in the shade of the castle or maybe even the impressive Calle Arrabales. It is undeniably Arab in its urban plan, which can be seen in the inverted “T” layout. However, today the presence of more modern houses is also important given the large number of foreigners who have visited and decided to stay and take up residence in the village. This brings a multicultural flavour to the place. A walk through the village will bring visitors to the Castillo de Aguilar, the Iglesia de San Sebastián, the reconstructed Covento Carmelita (1704) and the Fuente de Seis Caños. Many of the old houses have latticed windows and balconies from the 16th and 17th centuries off which hang flower pots full of geraniums.

Situated in the Valle del Genal looking down upon the Peñón de Gibraltar and on a good clear day Africa, Gaucîn is a very attractive place for nature lovers. More than 50 percent of its total land surface is covered in forests and little by little as a municipality it is abandoning what have been foundational in the local economy for centuries, that is agriculture, for more XXIth century sources of income like tourism. As a place of rest it was “discovered” by many English people about two centuries ago. However, tourism is not everything, and the area also has important herd of pigs which gives diversity to the economic balance.