A STROLL UNDER THE ROCKS
Cádiz is famed for its brown hills and white houses, but there is one place where the two elements come together and result in a unique village. Setenil de las Bodegas is famous for its Easter processions, its steep streets and its whitewashed walls. Setenil is famous for many things, but above all for its houses built under the shelter of the rocks. These are not dug out houses, but rather houses that have made use of the erosion to use the rocks as a mountain rooftop. It is quite an experience to walk down these worn streets. On either side, the endless typical white houses of the area and above us the sky disappearing intermittently to give way to a rock rooftop protecting the strollers from the heat of Andalusia.
The name Setenil comes from the Latin “septem nihil”, seven times nothing, and referring to the number of times the Christians tried to take this square away from the Moslems. Its complicated orography made this village unconquerable and has now turned it into one of the most widely visited and curious villages of the Route of the White Villages. The houses pile up under and over the rocks in a complicated architectural puzzle that makes sense if you look at the village from a distance. However, Setenil is not only houses and rocks, and numerous elements bear witness to its history between Christian and Arab constructions such as the 13th century mosque and the Church of our Lady of Incarnation, which is actually two churches in counter-posed styles: mudéjar and Gothic. A blend of styles and cultures, of architecture and nature, which gives us a different kind of village.
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