Surface Area: 110 square kilometres
What the natives are called: Ardaleños
Outstanding Sights: Nuestra Señora de los Remedios church, Los Capuchinos convent, La Encarnación chapel, the Bobastro ruins, Mozarabic cave church, Castillo de la Peña (castle), La Molina bridge, Doña Trinidad Grund cave, Museo Municipal de la Historia y las Tradiciones (Municipal Museum of History and Tradition), Museo del Parque de Ardales (Ardales Park Museum), Desfiladero de los Gaitanes (Los Gaitanes Gorge), Caminito del Rey (King’s Little Road), and the reservoir region.
Geographical Location: in the Antequera region adjoining the regions of Ronda and the Guadalhorce valley. It is 62.5 kilometres from the city of Málaga and its urban district is 454 metres above sea level. Average annual rainfall is 400 litres per square metre and the average temperature is 15.3º C.
The municipality of Ardales is situated between three regions of Málaga (that of Antequera, to which it administratively belongs, Ronda and the Guadalhorce valley). It is a transitional zone and therefore its scenery and history are enriched by some of the characteristics that predominate in those three territories, which in many ways are so different from one another. The visitor who enters this region is presented with a wealth of tourism opportunities, since, except for beaches, one has practically all other tourism resources within a stone’s throw.
Perhaps the most arresting thing about this region is its scenic setting, made up of the reservoirs of the River Guadalhorce, to all intents and purposes, lakes, and the spectacular Desfiladero de los Gaitanes (Los Gaitanes gorge) with its "almost movie like" Caminito del Rey (King’s Little Road), an incredible early twentieth century work that travelled forward in time to the vivid imagination of Spielberg when he designed his awe-inspiring Indiana Jones scenes.
The beauty of these landscapes also includes the peculiar "tafonis"-caves in small sandstone promontories that can be seen between the gorge and reservoirs- and if to this is added, a more than respectable architectural heritage including a Roman bridge, medieval castles and Christian churches and some perfectly documented archaeological sites of the utmost importance, it cannot be denied that the municipality of Ardales has some attractions that place it in an enviable position within and beyond the province of Málaga.
The first human settlement in Ardales occurred during prehistoric times, as was the case in so many villages of Málaga, but in this region there is firm proof of it: the cave paintings discovered in the Cueva de Doña Trinidad Grund (Doña Trinidad Grund Cave) 5 kilometres from the urban district. Cave paintings more than 20,000 years old are preserved here.
The Roman historian Pliny states in his chronicles that Bastulos and Celt Iberians settled next to the Turón castle in a nucleus of population called, according to Pliny, Turobriga. The Romans, for their part, built the La Peña castle, around which, the beginnings of an urban area took shape. It was only with the Arabic conquest, however, that Ardales truly took on an identity as a village, an event that occurred in the year 716. As of that date it was called Ard-Allah, which means land or garden of God.
The locality acquired great importance in the ninth century when Umar ibn Hafsun established himself in Bobastro, some 4 kilometres from the modern location of Ardales, and founded his own rebel kingdom in order to de-stabilize the Caliphate of Córdoba. During that epoch the castles of Ardales, Turón, Teba and Álora constituted the best defence of Bobastro and its surroundings, and its inhabitants embraced the cause of Umar ibn Hafsun.
After continuous battles between Muslims and Christians for control of Ardales the village passed into the hands of the latter in 1389 during the reign of Juan I under the terms of the Ardales Pact, which was signed by both sides in the conflict.
To get to Ardales leave Málaga by the A-357 in the direction of Cártama, which is the first village you will pass through. No turn is necessary as this road leads straight to Ardales.
Full graphical path: http://bit.ly/qbzsgb
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Costa del Sol Tourist Board - Plaza de la Marina, nº4 - 29015 Málaga - Tel: +34952126272 - Fax: +34952225207 - email@example.com