The Town Devoured By Rock
The 3,000-odd inhabitants of Setenil de las Bodegas, a beautiful Andalucia region, seem to be stuck between a rock and a hard place. When they enter their houses, they see rock face; when they stroll through their city, they walk on rocks. Has the city been hit by a meteor and if not what caused its unusual construction?
Setenil de las Bodegas, about 18 km away from Ronda in the province of Cadiz, has wedged itself between the cliffs eroded by the Rio Trejo river. The old houses especially are built under the cliff overhang and the newer ones against the hillside.
The name Setenil developed from the the Latin septem nihil – “seven times no” – which refers back to the period of the Christian reconquest, when Catholic kings tried to win back territory from the Moors, who had come from Africa and ruled the Iberian peninsula since 711. In Setenil’s case, only the seventh reconquest attempt was successful, in 1485, making the city one of the last bastions of the Moors until they were driven out of western Europe in 1492.