Setenil De Las Bodegas
Carved through a river gorge is the beautiful Spanish town of Setenil De Las Bodegas. While Setenil is well known for its Moorish roots, chorizo, and once-thriving vineyards, it’s really the unique geography of the town that makes it such an intriguing place to visit. Patterns in the rock that the Rio Trejo has spent centuries eroding away lend to the town’s character. Resourceful settlers of this area used the gorge to their advantage and built their settlement into the rock wall itself. After all, 3 walls are easier to build than 4!
Setenil De Las Bodegas history starts with the Moors (African Muslims from the middle ages). The land was once a fortified Moorish town with a castle that still remains today. Setenil De Las Bodegas name is a reference to the phrase “septem nihil” or “seven times nothing.” This is believed to refer to the seven battles protecting this area from acquisition from Christians. Eventually the area was taken by Christians whom held the land to this day. The second half of its name, “De Las Bodegas”, comes from the vast number of vineyards that the city used to be famous for, which makes sense given that bodegas is spanish for wine shop. Unfortunately during the Great French Wine Blight, an infestation of grape phylloxera destroyed most of the vineyards. The vineyards may not have recovered, but there are so many other reasons to see Setenil De Las Bodegas.
Places to see
Iglesia de la Encarnación
The Parish Church of Our Lady of the Incarnation (or Iglesia de la Encarnacion, which has a much better ring to it) is a old yet gorgeous church built in Setenil in the early 1600s. The project to built the church didn’t come without some hiccups. They lost funding before completion and the church was never quite finished, rather a facade was put up to seal the church in the later half of the 17th century. Now the church exists as a perish you can visit, overlooking the Spanish town. The church’s interior sits slowly sinking into minor disrepair, but the architecture and stunning views alone are enough to make the trip worth it. That view comes with a price though. To get to Iglesia de la Encarnacion, you have to climb the narrow and steep streets all the way to the top of a cliff, so put on your running shoes before you head out to see the church!
Interestingly enough, the restaurant considered to be the best in Setenil de las Bodegas, is the chain restaurant, La Tasca. Although this isn’t like any La Tasca you’ve been to before. While all the reviews I’ve read claim the food is great, the real appeal is the fact that it’s built into a cave. There’s not much more to say, but just look at the pictures and see why this is somewhere you have to eat if you’re in Setenil.
The Nazari Castle is an old Moorish Fortress remaining from the early settlers of Setenil. While much of the greatness the castle used to offer has been lost to time, some still remains to come visit. The fortress used to have 40 towers and defensive walls that were used to help protect them against the seven christian sieges that earns the town its name, but eventually was taken over and many of the defenses removed. While there isn’t a huge amount to explore anymore, the entrance fee is only 1 euro and the views of the city as well as the old buildings make it more than worth it to stop by in your trip to Setenil de las Bodegas.
Have you ever had the pleasure to see Setenil? If so what was your favorite part of the trip? If not do you want to go now? Let us know in the comments below!