Even if you have visited, one by one, all the white villages of Andalusia, as soon as you arrive in Setenil de las Bodegas, you will know that this place will stick to your mind forever.
In the centre of the village, a large number of houses have grown attached to a massive crack in the rock, and even seem to have melted into it. The waters of the River Guadalporcún, which is called the River Trejo in this area, are responsible for the magnificent gorge that has made such a spectacular sight possible. And these are not just homes: aware of their tourist potential, the locals have taken advantage of many of the buildings to house shops and restaurants where you only have to look up to find an impressive stone roof.
This unusual feature of the Ronda Mountains has been dominated for eight hundred years by a fortress that was initially Nazari: it is the Castle of Setenil, which preserves a well and a tower as a reminder of that fortification that was almost impossible for the Christians to conquer.
Throughout the fifteenth century, there were many attempts to take the town from its Muslim inhabitants, and the first seven failed miserably, to the despair of King Juan II of Castile. That is why the name Setenil, you see, it derives from Septem nihil, which is something like seven times nothing, and it reminds the frustration that this place caused among the Castilian armies.
Finally, the Catholic Kings were able to conquer it in 1484, and in a matter of twenty years, they built the grandiose Gothic church of Our Lady of the Incarnation, which was never completely finished.
There are also hermitages, bridges and other works from those times that make clear the royal heritage and the privileged position of a town that also managed to escape the domination of the neighbouring city of Ronda. In Setenil's history, there are also fights against the French invader and, of course, some adventures of the inevitable bandits, such as the Tempranillo or the Seven Children of Ecija. And if we go back to much more remote times, we would find prehistoric settlers living in the well-known cave-houses; natural caves that have been used as dwellings for centuries, and some of them have continued to be so until today.
And to finish off, a piece of advice: Go up to the Lizón viewpoint to get the best sights of this unique village, and take a last look at the streets of Cuevas del Sol and Cuevas de la Sombra, whose respective locations flood them with sunshine... or shade.