Setenil de las Bodegas


Welcome to the town of Setenil de las Bodegas in Spain, where around 3,000 inhabitants are living quite literally, under a rock.


Believe it or not, people chose to settle here for practical reasons. The natural caves of Setenil turned out to be ideal living quarters because rather than needing to build entire houses to keep out the heat in the summer and the cold in the winter, all they needed to build was a facade. It is believed people have been living here since pre-historic times.


The town’s name ‘Setenil de las bodegas’ reflects its rich history; setenil, from the latin words septem nihil– “seven times no”, refers to the seven times the Catholic rulers tried to take back the territory from the Moors, the medieval arabian inhabitants who ruled much of Spain for several centuries. Only on the seventh attempt to conquer Setenil were the Catholics able to win the territory– one of the last Muslim strongholds in Iberia. ‘Solid as a rock’ Setenil (unavoidable pun) later began using the cool areas under the rock to store all kinds of local produce in large storerooms, which is how the town earned the second part of the name, “bodegas“, meaning ‘warehouse’ in Spanish.












Setenil de las Bodegas has a Mediterranean climate, with hot, dry summers (Jun–Aug) and mild winters (Dec–Feb). Carnival (Feb/Mar) includes street parades, dancing and music. Easter Week (Mar/Apr), or Semana Santa, sees 2 local brotherhoods put on competing processions through the town’s narrow streets. The Feria de Setenil de las Bodegas (Aug) is a multi-day event with concerts, horseback riding and flamenco dancing. The Fiesta del Aceite (date varies) celebrates local olive oil production with a market and tastings.

Location: the province of Cádiz, Spain

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One Response
  1. June 6, 2013

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