Pueblos Blancos

 

At the epicenter of the Sierra of Grazalema Natural Park is Zahara, one of the municipalities that make up the Route of Pueblos Blancos. This small, charming town is situated on the slopes of the Sierra of Jaral, which also serves as a viewpoint from all four cardinal points. To the north are Algodonales and the Sierra of Líjar; to the south, Arroyomolinos, Monte Prieto, Sierra Blanquilla and Sierra of Pinar; to the west, the Bocaleones stream and Sierra Margarita; and to the east, the Algarín Rock.

The first settlements can be dated to the second millennium BC, according to axes found in archaeological sites. Other finds from the Roman period, such as tegulas (ancient roof tiles) and fragments of different tools and decorative elements, have been made in and around the village.
From the Nasrid period, only a necropolis has been found, which, from the arrangement of the bodies found, it can be deduced that they belonged to a Muslim cemetery. In later archaeological campaigns, three burials have also been found with their corresponding coffins, almost complete and with an unquestionable Arabic symbolism.

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GASTRONOMY AND CRAFTWORK
LOCAL FESTIVITIES
ROUTES
HISTORIC HERITAGE

Historic Heritage

Old Main Church

The tower of the Old Main Church is preserved, formed by rows of bricks at different
heights, which is believed to have belonged to the Main Church, built after the first
conquest of Zahara by the Christians in 1407. It is currently partially restored and will

serve as an information and interpretation center for the excavations carried out in the
Medieval Village.

Castle and Tower of Homage

Of the few remnants of the medieval town of Zahara, the Castle and the Tower of
Homage have been preserved. Of the wall that encircled the town, the Tower – located
in the eastern part – is the best preserved. The result of the union of Nasrid and Christian
military architecture, the building has two floors divided into four compartments. The
function that the tower must have fulfilled in its time was to be the last resource for
refuge in the event that the city was invaded.

Chapel of Saint Juan de Dios Letrán

The tourist offer of religious buildings is completed with the Chapel of Saint Juan de
Dios Letrán; a nave built in 1958 on the site where there used to be a hermitage of the
same name. It has a single nave crowned with three belfries and their corresponding
bells.

Zahara is considered a Historic-Artistic Site due to its urban fabric

Since 1983, Zahara has been considered a Historic-Artistic Site due to its urban layout,
with traditional houses, and its peculiar location on the side of a hillside. The staggered
streets, the result of the uneven terrain, have rows of houses typical of the Sierra of
Cadiz: two storeys, irregular walls and white walls. There are several natural springs
scattered throughout the area.

Church of Saint María de la Mesa

Another of the town's religious temples that is an obligatory stop on the Zahara itinerary
is the Church of Saint María de la Mesa. Dating from the mid-18th century, the temple
is the work of the architect Antonio Matías de Figueroa and is located in the old
Hermitage of Saint Francisco. It consists of three naves, inside which we find pieces of
great value due to its popular roots, such as a Flemish pine organ, several chalices,
religious attire from the 16th and 18th centuries or a sacramental script and a
monstrance.

  • Gastronomy
  • Craftwork

Local Festivities

Festivities of Saint Simón and Saint Judas

On the occasion of the commemoration of the Christian conquest of Zahara in 1483, on 20 October the festivities of Saint Simón and Saint Judas, patron saints of the town, are held. The main event is the procession of the banner that was carried through the streets of the village as a sign of the conquest. Throughout the week, other activities are planned, such as painting, photography and poetry competitions. The proclamation of the fiestas and the popular meal in the square bring together locals and visitors every year.

Corpus Christi

Since its reconquest in 1483, Zahara has celebrated the Corpus Christi festival every June, one of the most fervent among its inhabitants. As Zahara is the only Andalusian municipality where this festivity has been awarded the distinction of Festivity of National Tourist Interest, the Corpus Christi has maintained its programme of festivities practically unchanged, although it has adapted to modern times and has included cultural activities, such as photography competitions and exhibitions, all in keeping with the religious nature of the festivity. Such is the renown that the Zahara Corpus Christi has acquired that its population is quintupled by visitors during the period of the festivities.

Carnival

The Carnival festivities take place between February and March and are a great tradition, with an enormous local participation every year. ‘Chirigotas’ and parades fill the streets of the municipality during the celebrations. Every year, the opening speech gives way to the performances of the groups, where adults and children have their place; and finally, the awarding of tribute plaques and the burial of La Algarroba are the events that mark the closing of this festivity.

Festivities of Saint Juan

The festivities of Saint Juan kick off the summer with the celebration of the local pilgrimage on the Arroyomolinos riverbank, where the transfer of the saint ends and the festivities begin. During the period of the celebrations, various masses are held in honor of the saint, as well as a float and dance competition.

Fair and Festivities

With the arrival of August, in the middle of the summer season, Zahara celebrates its Fair and Festivities, with activities for all ages such as competitions, dances and the release of heifers.

Craftwork

CRAFTS

Local handicrafts have been developing for several years, with the aim of achieving an acceptable profitability and at the same level as neighboring municipalities. A good example of local craftsmanship is basketry, made from olive branches, cane and esparto grass. Also of note is leatherwork, which occupies a large part of the younger population, and ceramic and glazed tile work, which is currently an incipient sector. Work with shawls, crochet and quilts are also worthy of mention, some of which are exhibited on the balconies of the houses during the Corpus Christi celebrations.

Gastronomy

GASTRONOMY

The gastronomy of Zahara is based on the typical products of a rural area of the sierra, with a variety of dishes, such as “sopa hervía” or “tostá”, asparagus stew or “gachas”, among others.

Routes

Zahara – Puerto de las Cumbres – Pinsapar Route

The Zahara – Puerto de las Cumbres – Pinsapar Route is a 6-hour walk that starts at Las
Canteras and crosses a pine forest, a unique mass of trees in the area where visitors can
lose themselves and connect with nature.

Llano del Revés-Puerto Acebuche Route

The Llano del Revés – Puerto Acebuche Route allows you to cross the area of the
Natural Park and enjoy views such as the foothills of the Sierra and its characteristic
Spanish fir forest.

Zahara-Saint Cristóbal Route

The Zahara – Saint Cristóbal Route, with a total length of 32 kilometers, ends at the
summit of Saint Cristóbal, where a cabin was built to provide shelter for people who
used to observe the area. The trail crosses other areas of interest such as the Puerto Las
Palomas, which has a viewpoint and a recreation area, or the remains of Roman roads
located on the Las Canteras ascent.

Zahara – Green Gorge

One of the most famous routes in the town is the Zahara – Green Gorge Route, with a
distance of 14 kilometers and an orography that attracts a multitude of hiking and
mountain lovers every year. A canyon that offers an impressive panoramic view of the
surroundings and that closes until it ends at the Hermitage of the Green Gorge, a natural
grotto, the result of erosion and the passage of time. The route from here is done using
ropes to negotiate the vertical walls and culminates at the source of the Bocaleones
river.

Zahara-Dry Gorge Route

From Zahara we can take the Zahara – Dry Gorge route, a 5-hour walk that starts from a
spot full of local orchards to the Bocaleones stream. Afterwards, the section begins to
climb until it reaches the Gorge, an enclave from where we can enjoy unique views.

Zahara-Arroyomolinos-Cueva del Susto Route

The Zahara – Arroyomolinos – Cueva del Susto Route starts at the source of tributary
and leads to the Cueva del Susto, a geological landmark that can be visited by both
professionals and beginners. The route also allows access to the recreational area of
Arroyomolinos, known for its artificial beach.

Zahara – The Wine Cellar Route

Between Zahara and Garganta Verde you can follow the Zahara – The Wine Cellar Route, which allows you to visit the ruins of an old winery, which was surrounded by vineyards

Zahara-Puerto Las Palomas Route

Another of the hiking possibilities offered by the municipality is the Zahara – Puerto Las
Palomas Route. It is not very difficult and takes 2 hours to walk through landscapes that
go up to 1,157 meters, and where you can enjoy views of the Sierra of Zafalgar,
Grazalema and Sierra Margarita.

Rutas

Zahara-Saint Cristóbal Route

The Zahara – Saint Cristóbal Route, with a total length of 32 kilometers, ends at the
summit of Saint Cristóbal, where a cabin was built to provide shelter for people who
used to observe the area. The trail crosses other areas of interest such as the Puerto Las
Palomas, which has a viewpoint and a recreation area, or the remains of Roman roads
located on the Las Canteras ascent.

Zahara – The Wine Cellar Route

Between Zahara and Garganta Verde you can follow the Zahara – The Wine Cellar Route, which allows you to visit the ruins of an old winery, which was surrounded by vineyards

Zahara-Puerto Las Palomas Route

Another of the hiking possibilities offered by the municipality is the Zahara – Puerto Las
Palomas Route. It is not very difficult and takes 2 hours to walk through landscapes that
go up to 1,157 meters, and where you can enjoy views of the Sierra of Zafalgar,
Grazalema and Sierra Margarita.

Zahara – Green Gorge

One of the most famous routes in the town is the Zahara – Green Gorge Route, with a
distance of 14 kilometers and an orography that attracts a multitude of hiking and
mountain lovers every year. A canyon that offers an impressive panoramic view of the
surroundings and that closes until it ends at the Hermitage of the Green Gorge, a natural
grotto, the result of erosion and the passage of time. The route from here is done using
ropes to negotiate the vertical walls and culminates at the source of the Bocaleones
river.

Zahara-Arroyomolinos-Cueva del Susto Route

The Zahara – Arroyomolinos – Cueva del Susto Route starts at the source of tributary
and leads to the Cueva del Susto, a geological landmark that can be visited by both
professionals and beginners. The route also allows access to the recreational area of
Arroyomolinos, known for its artificial beach.

Zahara – Puerto de las Cumbres – Pinsapar Route

The Zahara – Puerto de las Cumbres – Pinsapar Route is a 6-hour walk that starts at Las
Canteras and crosses a pine forest, a unique mass of trees in the area where visitors can
lose themselves and connect with nature.

Llano del Revés-Puerto Acebuche Route

The Llano del Revés – Puerto Acebuche Route allows you to cross the area of the
Natural Park and enjoy views such as the foothills of the Sierra and its characteristic
Spanish fir forest.

Zahara-Dry Gorge Route

From Zahara we can take the Zahara – Dry Gorge route, a 5-hour walk that starts from a
spot full of local orchards to the Bocaleones stream. Afterwards, the section begins to
climb until it reaches the Gorge, an enclave from where we can enjoy unique views.

What to do

Zahara

Carnival

The Carnival festivities take place between February and March and are a great tradition, with an enormous local participation every year. ‘Chirigotas’ and parades fill the streets of the municipality during the celebrations. Every year, the opening speech gives way to the performances of the groups, where adults and children have their place; and finally, the awarding of tribute plaques and the burial of La Algarroba are the events that mark the closing of this festivity.

Zahara

Festivities of Saint Simón and Saint Judas

On the occasion of the commemoration of the Christian conquest of Zahara in 1483, on 20 October the festivities of Saint Simón and Saint Judas, patron saints of the town, are held. The main event is the procession of the banner that was carried through the streets of the village as a sign of the conquest. Throughout the week, other activities are planned, such as painting, photography and poetry competitions. The proclamation of the fiestas and the popular meal in the square bring together locals and visitors every year.

Zahara

Festivities of Saint Juan

The festivities of Saint Juan kick off the summer with the celebration of the local pilgrimage on the Arroyomolinos riverbank, where the transfer of the saint ends and the festivities begin. During the period of the celebrations, various masses are held in honor of the saint, as well as a float and dance competition.

Zahara

Fair and Festivities

With the arrival of August, in the middle of the summer season, Zahara celebrates its Fair and Festivities, with activities for all ages such as competitions, dances and the release of heifers.

Zahara

Corpus Christi

Since its reconquest in 1483, Zahara has celebrated the Corpus Christi festival every June, one of the most fervent among its inhabitants. As Zahara is the only Andalusian municipality where this festivity has been awarded the distinction of Festivity of National Tourist Interest, the Corpus Christi has maintained its programme of festivities practically unchanged, although it has adapted to modern times and has included cultural activities, such as photography competitions and exhibitions, all in keeping with the religious nature of the festivity. Such is the renown that the Zahara Corpus Christi has acquired that its population is quintupled by visitors during the period of the festivities.

Zahara

Old Main Church

The tower of the Old Main Church is preserved, formed by rows of bricks at different
heights, which is believed to have belonged to the Main Church, built after the first
conquest of Zahara by the Christians in 1407. It is currently partially restored and will

serve as an information and interpretation center for the excavations carried out in the
Medieval Village.

How to get there

Zahara de la Sierra is a town in the heart of the Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park, in the north-eastern corner of the province.

From Seville, the most recommended route is the A-375.

From Cádiz, the Carretera de Antequera or A-384 is the quickest route to reach the town.

From Jerez de la Frontera, follow the A-382 and the Carretera de Antequera or A-384.

From Málaga, take the A-357 to continue on the A-367.

From Ronda, the A-374 is the quickest way to reach Zahara de la Sierra.

As for the intercity bus service, the company Comes has a bus service to Zahara de la Sierra from Ronda (Malaga). Information is available on their website:

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