Thursday, September 27, 2012

The City Built Under the Rocks


Setenil de las Bodegas is a town (pueblo) in the province of Cádiz,
Spain, famous for its dwellings built into rock overhangs above the Rio
Trejo. According to the 2005 census, the city has a population of 3,016
inhabitants. It has an exact antipodal city: Auckland, New Zealand. 08 more images after the break..

This small town (pueblo) is located 157 kilometres (98 mi) northeast of
Cadiz. It has a distinctive setting along a narrow river gorge. The town
extends along the course of the Rio Trejo with some houses being built
into the rock walls of the gorge itself, created by enlarging natural
caves or overhangs and adding an external wall. Modern Setenil evolved
from a fortified Moorish town that occupied a bluff overlooking a sharp
bend in the Rio Trejo northwest of Ronda. The castle dates from at least
the Almohad period in the 12th century. However, the site was certainly
occupied during the Roman invasion of the region in the 1st century AD.
Setenil was once believed to be the successor of the Roman town of
Laccipo, but it was subsequently proved that Laccipo became the town of
Casares in Malaga.

Given the evidence of other nearby cave-dwelling societies, such as
those at the Cueva de la Pileta west of Ronda, where habitation has been
tracked back more than 25,000 years, it is possible that Setenil was
occupied much much earlier. Most evidence of this would have been erased
by continuous habitation.


Tradition holds that the town's Castilian name came from the Roman Latin
phrase septem nihil ('seven times nothing'). This is said to refer to
the Moorish town's resistance to Christian assault, allegedly being
captured only after seven sieges. This took place in the final years of
the Christian Reconquest. Besieged unsuccessfully in 1407, Setenil
finally fell in 1484 when Christian forces expelled the Moorish
occupants. Using gunpowder artillery, the Christians took fifteen days
to capture the castle whose ruins dominate the town today.


Due to the strategic importance of Setenil, the victory was celebrated
widely in Castile and was the source of several legends in local
folklore. Isabella I of Castile is said to have aborted during the siege
with the ermita of San Sebastian being built as a tribute to the dead
child, who was named Sebastian. However, there appears to be no
historical basis to this story.


The full name of Setenil de las Bodegas dates from the 15th century,
when new Christian settlers, in addition to maintaining the Arab olive
and almond groves, introduced vineyards. The first two crops still
flourish in the district but the once flourishing wineries—bodegas— were
wiped out by the phylloxera insect infestation of the 1860s, which
effectively destroyed most European vine stocks.


Over the intervening centuries, Setenil also gained a reputation for its
meat products, particularly chorizo sausage and cerdo (pork) from pigs
bred in the surrounding hills. As well as meat, it has a reputation for
producing fine pasteles (pastries), and its bars and restaurants are
among the best in the region. Its outlying farms also provide Ronda and
other local towns with much of their fruit and vegetables. Via — Wiki

  Photo — Link


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