About Sierra De Grazalema
The National Park of Grazalema is 100km from Malaga airport and takes roughly 1.5 hrs to get there.
Designated a Unesco Biosphere Reserve in 1977 and then a Spanish National park in 1984, it was the first national park in Andalucia. The National park of Grazalema is full of spectacular limestone and dolomite gorges and crags that rise up dramatically, with the most spectacular being the Garganta Verde, 'Green Throat'. Which has one of Europe's largest population of Griffon Vultures. It has an exceptionally rich bird life, particularly raptors.
Mammals include roe deer, Egyptian mongoose, badger, fox and Spanish ibex. As well as the rivers having a healthy otter population.
The trees consist of large cork oaks, holm oak, olive trees and the magnificent and well preserved forest of the rare Spanish fir.
The region is also know as the wettest in Spain, but the weather is very seasonal and only helps the scenery to be the greenest in Andalucia. This area also has an extraordinary array of plant life with a recorded 1300 species. Many of them endemic and some flourish in this environment.
Around the Grazalema national park are some beautiful small white villages with some great accommodation, which we link together on our self guided walking itineraries and on our Grazalema Special Walk.
There is a large Área de Reserve, with the most fragile ecosystems, Spanish fir forests and black vulture colnies. This part of the park are controlled in terms of dates and numbers. At times when fire risks are greater (July to September) walks to this area are closed.
High rainfall and a limestone landscape mean that the water courses and springs are plentiful. The principal rivers are the Guadalete, Guadiaro, Tavizna and Ubrique.
Map Of Sierra De Grazalema
Ronda is one of the oldest cities of Spain. Its origin, according to archaelogical findings in the old city space belongs to the Neolithic age. Despite of this, the presence of the human being in this land can be explained at a previous time. A proof of this are the sites found at caves, being the most important the one found at the Pileta's Cave, which is one of the best cave's paintings examples of all the Paleolithic age in Andalusia.
During the recent Prehistory a lot of human settlements are founded. This fact is proofed by the existance and conservation through the time of archaeological rests that can still be admired nowadays, being represented by some of its most relevant and monumental artistic examples, like the megalithic Necropolis: Dolmen of El Chopo and Encinas Borrachas among others.
It will be also at that time when the most important human settlements of the region will be well defined: Acinipo and Ronda, but its rise and important time will arrive later. The time of Acinipo will be at the Roman Empire Age and the Ronda time will be at the Middle Age.
From the Roman conquest time of the Iberian Peninsula still remain at our region a lot of rests, being important the ones found in the same city of Ronda. But, without any kind of doubts, the most important archaeological site of the region is the Roman city of Acinipo, because of its conservation's state and also because of some of its elements belonging to a Classic Roman city, like for example, the Theater.
Once that Acinipo dissapeared, and after the convulsive period which reason is the Fall of the Roman Empire, the attention was paid now to the city of Ronda. That city, although being a small settlement even during the first time of the Middle Age, became since then the main place where all the important historic events happened.
Among these historic events, and because of its importance and its cultural legacy, still alive at the common life (town planning, gastronomy,traditions, farming systems, etc.) has to be considered the Arab Age as the most important.
At that time, Ronda appears to be as one of the leading cities, arriving to the category of main city of one of the Kuras (Provinces) of Al-Andalus (the province of Ronda was named of Takurunna). Ronda even achieved to be independent as an independent Kingdom (called at that age the Taifas Kingdom) after the fall of the Cordoba Kingdom.
The most important character played by Ronda, and the reason for being well known, arrives with the Nazari Kingdom of Granada, because of its closeness to the territories conquered by the Catholics coming from Castilla. That leads to the city of Ronda, as well to its region, to be a very important border zone.
After the conquest of the city by the Catholic Monarchs(1485) deep economic and cultural changes happened, which can be still seen at the structure of the city: Opening of squares not existing before, streets made broader, etc.
The 18th century, and the arrival of the Modern age, will be for Ronda the time when it will get its definitive role inside the land of Andalusia.
At that time, the most relevant and known monuments of the city where built, as signs of the former aristocracy and the present Ronda: The New Bridge and the Bullring.
Since that time and during the 19th century, the romantic image of the city grows, as well as the legend of its Serrania (mountains), generating the world of the bandits and the art of bullfighting a deep impression between lots of important travellers.
Both aspects have been converted since then into symbols of our culture and tradition. Despite of this, the cultural and traditional richness of Ronda is much wider and diverse that the one offered by this image, cliched although being nice. This diversity is the current attraction of Ronda and its Serrania.
The Sierras around ronda have some of the best bird wildlife in Spain, if not Europe. Bonellis Eagle and Griffon Vulture have some of their highest density here in all of Europe. There are a great deal of raptor here as well as some very interesting smaller birds.
The Roman villa of Lacidulia, situated in an estate near to the present village has been traditionally considered the ancestor of Grazalema.
During Muslim rule in the 8th century, these lands were populated by people of Berber origin and from them, the area acquired the name of Raisa lami Suli, “town of the Banu al-Salim”, place which passed to Ben-salama, “Son of Zulema and later Grand Zulema”. During this period, its economy was organised around forestry, agriculture, farming and textile manufacture.
With the Christian conquest in 1485, Zagrazalema, as it was called at the time, became part of the lands of the Ponce de León. It became economically important as of the 17th century thanks to the drapery industry which produced the famous shawls of Grazalema. In the first years of the 19th century, during the War of Independence, Grazalema suffered attacks and sieges from the Napoleonic troops who partially destroyed the village
Traditionally, the economy of the village was generated by small-scale agriculture, sheep herding, cork harvesting, and handicrafts, like hand-weaving lambswool cloth and furniture-making. These activities are now quite limited and under-resourced. Due to the location of Grazalema in the middle of the Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park and the fact that the town is one of the pueblos blancos, the so-called White Towns of Andalusia, tourism now plays a major role in sustaining the village and its people. The mountainous area around Grazalema is popular with climbers and hikers, and local people make money by providing accommodations and hospitality to visitor.