Zahara de la Sierra - History

The historic village of Zahara de la Sierra © Michelle Chaplow
The historic village of Zahara de la Sierra

Zahara de la Sierra - History

by Chris Chaplow


Zahara was once described by the romantic British traveller Richard Ford, as a "Moorish eagle's nest - the castle (and town) date back to Moorish times. It was an ideal place to build a fortification located between Sevilla and Ronda and the earliest documented reference dates to 1282. It was first captured by the Christians in 1407 and then recaptured by the Nazaries (Moors from the Emirate of Granada, often known as Nasrid Kingdom of Granada). This surprise loss gave the Castile Catholics a pretext to mount the final advance. By 1483 the Castilian troops recaptured the castle, thanks to the leadership of Rodrigo Ponce de León. For this conquest he was honoured as 1st Duke of Cadiz in 1484. In the 18th century the Duke of Arcos had a stately home in Zahara, giving greater importance to the area. The dependent villages of El Gastor and Algodonales gained their independence.  The population of Zahara was around 3000 until 1970; it lost half the population in the following 15 years. It was declared a Conjunto Historico-Artistico in 1983. 

 

 

 

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