AREA: 114,10 km² ALTITUDE ABOVE SEA LEVEL: 494 metres AVERAGE ANNUAL RAINFALL: 710 l/m²
AVERAGE ANNUAL TEMPERATURE: 17 ºC POPULATION CENSUS: 2.566
HISTORY AND LANDSCAPE
The geographical situation of Casarabonela, on the western border of the Guadalhorce valley region, makes its lands overflow the valley, so to speak, and enter the natural region of Ronda by Alcaparaín (1.200 m.) and Prieta (1.521 m.), until it reaches the river Turon in the limits with the municipality of El Burgo. This mountainous front of the highland covered with pines mixed with limestone, acts as a background to the town of Casarabonela.
A post card town, surrounded by terraced plots which raise vegetables and fruits from the bottom of the valley to the foot of the sierra in search of springs. In the centre, surrounded by olive groves and cereal fields, the sierra of La Robla (563 m.) rises amid pine groves and looks out to her larger sisters in the highland and to the Zalea fields, in the heart of the Guadalhorce.
The appearance of neolithic vestiges in the caves of the municipalitys sierras, prove mans presence in these lands from long ago. But the most important testimonies come from the Roman era. They created a first settlement with an advance post they called Castra Vinaria - castle of wine - and built roads which crossed its territory. Remains of two of them are still conserved, one which joins Casarabonela to Málaga on the south and the other with Ronda on the west.
The Arabs extended and reinforced the old Roman fort and kept its name, which by popular deformation came to be pronounced as Csar Bonaira, from which its actual name comes from. The Arabs reinforced their defences to such a point that it was the last town in the area to fall before the Christian troops during the Reconquest. From the 15th century the name Casarobonela was used.
After the expulsion of the Moors, the lands were distributed among the repopulation coming from Extremadura and other areas of Andalucia. In 1574, Felipe II conceded it the title of village, according to the documentation conserved in the town hall files.
Places to Visit
Casarabonela, with white houses and windy steep streets, conserves its Arabic physiognomy and therefore the colour and taste of the white villages in Andalucia, with quiet squares, such as the one with the town hall with its small building with projecting lintelled balconies, its lamps and clock on the front, and houses with niches where they place images of popular devotion. The most relevant building is the parish of Santiago, an old colegiate primitively built over an old mosque in the 15th century in late Gothic style, but which has suffered various modifications along history. This temple is raised over the highest part of the town, very close to the ruins of the Arabic castle, and consists of three naves of different heights, separated by arches and held by rectangular pillars.
Inside the church there is the choir situated in the chancel, and the chapel of Sagrario. The niche of the high altar holds the image of the Virgen del Rosario (polychromed wood from the 18th century). Outside, the front is formed by an arch, entablature, and pediment open in side volutes which point to a framed oval with the cross of Santiago. The tower rises on the outside in an impressive way, with the last of its three bodies with long gaps and arches and a pyramidal ceramic cover.
The chapel of the Cruz from the 18th century, is abandoned and closed to worship, and of the old Arab castle only a few stones remain. Outside the town there are two sites, Taivilla (Roman era) and Los Villares (old medieval town). Other places of ecological and scenic interest are the caves of Hoguera, Fuente Quebrada (spring), and Columnas; the spots of Chorredón, the plain of San Cristóbla and San Julián, and the Corta and Jácara chasms.
There are some craftsmen who work with reedmace and leather for making horse harnesses.
The local cooking is based on year round dishes such as the stew pot in diverse modalities, rabbit with garlic, fricassée of kid and especially in the winter are the soups, and broth. Bread and olives have special acceptance. Wine rusks and oil cakes are home-made bakery products.
FESTIVITIES AND TRADTITIONS
Casarabonela conserves the staging of the Passion during Easter, in which they have some outstanding processions.
In May is the festivity of the cross and during the last week of July they celebrate the fair and festivities of Santiago Apóstol while on the 7th of November they organize a pilgrimage for the patron saint Virgen del Rosario. Other interesting celebrations are on the 12th of December and the Virgen de los Rondeles, and the 31st of December the bell ringing for the end of the year in the town hall's square.