Surface Area: 37.5 square kilometres
What the natives are called: Cuevachos
Outstanding Sights: the San Marcos church, Virgen del Carmen hermitage, Cueva de Belda (Belda cave), Medina de Belda archaeological site
Geographical Location: in the northern part of the Antequera region, on the border of the province of Córdoba. The village is spread over a hill at an altitude of 420 metres above sea level. The area records an average annual rainfall of 750 litres per square metre and the average temperature is 16º C. It is in the northeastern tip of Málaga Province, Nororma
The municipality of Cuevas de San Marcos, in the northern part of the province of Málaga, stretches to the border of the province of Córdoba, and from the River Genil to the Malnombre mountain range and El Camorro in Cuevas Altas. This is a mixture of landscapes alternately of low brush, olive groves, pines, live oaks and almond trees and even the tranquil waters of the Iznájar reservoir, which forms some of the most striking scenery in this area.
(Belda cave) is unequivocal proof that the first human settlements in this area occurred in the Prehistoric (Chalcolithic) period, and since that time this territory has been populated by different civilisations that have left evidence of their culture. The menhir (standing stone) known as El Niño de Piedra (The Stone Child), Iberian ceramic relics, and axes and other tools from the Bronze Age that have been found in various places all point to man’s continuous presence in these lands, and of course the Romans also passed through here.
In his "Geography" Ptolemy takes note of the existence of the town of Belda in the year 298 B C, which indicates that it already existed at the time of the Romans’ arrival. Coins from the Later Roman Empire have been found, as well a bronze coffin, urns and a number of mosaic paving stones with which it has been possible to reconstruct a fragment of a mosaic that portrays the face of a young person. And if Belda was one of the most prosperous cities in Betica (ancient name of Andalusia) during the Roman era, it only increased in importance under the Arabs.
At least from the Muslim invasion in 711 AD until the tenth century this area was the stage of violent events, prominent among which was Umar ibn Hafsun’s rebellion against the Umayyad Caliphate. Although this contradictory personality had his general headquarters in Bobastro, he set up defensive fortresses in different places in the province of Málaga, and one of them was on the El Camorro hill in Belda.
Records from earlier years are so scarce that it is not possible to be certain what occurred in these environs until the arrival of the Christian troops. The castle commander of Antequera, Pedro de Narváez, sent a 350-man expedition to conquer Belda and accomplished this in 1424, but as he did not have sufficient troops available to post a garrison he ordered the houses destroyed, along with the castle that Umar ibn Hafsun had built. Juan II donated the Dehesa de Belda (Belda grazing lands) to the city of Antequera, and it was divided into four farmsteads. Two of them were the origin of Cuevas Altas and the others developed into Cuevas Bajas.
Cueva de Belda
Leave the city of Málaga by the A-45 (N-331) in the direction of Antequera. Before entering that city connect with the A-92 and after less than 3 kilometres again take the N-331 (no longer an expressway at this point) towards Lucena. Right at the border of the province of Córdoba turn onto the A-6212 and Cuevas de San Marcos will be 8 kilometres beyond Cuevas Bajas.
Full graphical path: http://bit.ly/rocC3H
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