Setenil de las Bodegas: city carved into the rock.

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Dal Kikin
November 1, 2018

Photo: iStock/Poike

The Spanish city of Setenil de las Bodegas is perhaps one of the most amazing places in Andalusia. Its main attraction is the formidable multi-ton vaults of the rock hanging over the houses and streets. The first thought that arises when looking at such an original building: "What if it collapses?"

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But the story of Setenil de las Bodegas is soothing - the basaltic rocks have stood firmly for several million years, and the town hides in the rock for more than eight centuries (although, according to some sources, people live here for 25,000 years).

Photo: iStock/Poike

Setenil de las Bodegas is one of the most amazing “white towns” in the south of Spain. It is a small, typically Andalusian town with a population of 2,967 inhabitants (according to the 2010 census), covering an area of 82 square kilometers.

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Setenil de las Bodegas has long been famous for its unique geographic location: most houses are literally carved into the rocks, built by expanding natural caves. The city is so skillfully built between the rocks that it seems to be an intricate sculpture created by some kind of visionary.

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Historical information indicates that Cetenil de las Bodegas is an ancient settlement. Its inhabitants became famous for their military courage, they steadfastly protected the city from the numerous attacks of the Roman soldiers, whom in the 1st century AD managed to enter the city only after a 15-day siege.

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Scientists believe that the etymology of the name "Setenil" is associated with military events: this word comes from septem nihil, which literally means "seven times without result." That was the number of unsuccessful attacks of the Romans, in which the inhabitants of the city managed to survive.

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The second part of the name - “de las Bodegas” - appeared later, thanks to the abundant production of valuable sorts of wine, which this area is still famous for. It is noteworthy that the first vineyards were planted in this area by Christians in addition to the olive and almond groves growing here.

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Over the past centuries, Setenil has also become famous for its meat products, especially the chorizo ??and velard sausages, which are made from pork. Themselves, the pigs in huge quantities graze on the hills surrounding the city. In addition to meat, the city is also known for its pastries, especially cookies.

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The rock protected local residents in antiquity, and protects today: in winter - from piercing winds, and in summer - from the scorching heat. On the streets of Setenil de las Bodegas there is always a comfortable temperature. So air conditioners are clearly not in demand here.

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