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Benaojan information

Between the solid mass of limestone of the Sierra de Libar and the River Guadiaro stands Benaojan, which still retains the essence of the Arab designed villages with their narrow streets and whitewashed houses. Our Lady’s Church is its most noteworthy building, and the cured pork sausage industry which has made Benaojan deservedly famous is clearly in evidence.
Just seven Km from the village, on the slopes of the Sierra de Libar, stands The Pileta cave, considered to be the finest example of Andalusian cave art.

History

At the valley of the River Guadiaro, between El Libar and El Oreganal sierras, in the foothills of La Serranía de Ronda mountain range, the municipal area of Benaojan was the scene of prehistoric man’s intrepid struggle for survival. It is home to Cueva de La Pileta cave, a veritable cave painting sanctuary discovered in 1911 by the English archaeologist Verner and declared a National Monument of Cave Art in 1924, which contains magnificent pictorial works from different periods of prehistory, particularly the Magdalenian era; Pablo Picasso would surely have attributed the huge fish painted in one of its chambers to one of the most outstanding painters in the history of art. Further evidence of the presence of prehistoric settlers was found at at Hundidero-Gato, though these underground caves have now been completely stripped of their archaeological relics. The present-day site of the village is of Arabic origin, as its name would suggest, deriving from the Arabic Ibn Uyan, meaning "house of bakers". Benaojan Castle was destroyed along with those of Montecorto and Audita by the Catholic Monarchs in 1487. After the Christian conquest, the local moriscos - Moorish converts to Christianity - slowly left the lands of which they felt they had been stripped, until they were finally expelled in the second half of the 16th century in the wake of a failed rebellion. In 1571, the village and its municipal area were repopulated by Old Christian families from Castile.



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