Turismo Prerrománico > CIUDAD DE BOBASTRO


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Historic environment

The city is the creation of a legendary figure for his religious whims (he was born a Muslim, converted to Christianity in 899, and finally became a Shia in 913) ‘Umar ibn Ḥafṣūn (847-917), who from this place (with his sons who inherited his power once he disappeared) built a political entity against the Umayyads of Córdoba between the years 880 and 928. See BASILICA OF BOBASTRO.


The archaeological site of Las Mesas de Villaverde and adjacent areas are located in the municipality of Ardales (Málaga). Due to its rugged relief, it is a territory divided into deep valleys formed by the differential erosion of river courses. However, despite the existence of this division into small geomorphological units, the complex is archaeologically ordered by clear internal lines around the central place, which is none other than the city of Bobastro. As a great natural fortress that it is, it is defended by several “gates” (the Andalusian authors call them castle-gates) that dominate its accesses.

There are three fundamental areas that can be distinguished in this wide space facing south (Guadalhorce valley) due to the presence of the northern mountainous wall (Sierra de Huma):

  1. A central or nuclear place around the imposing upper citadel on the Castillón hill (a fortress with a double quadrangular enclosure built by ‘Abd al-Raḥmān III in 929 when the rebellion of Ibn Ḥafṣūn ended) and the church discovered in 2001 (vid. file: “The churches of Bobastro”) that occupy the slopes of the Tajo de la Encantada and that would correspond to the madīna of Bobastro; In this large sector we find a good number of rock dwellings, all of them of great monumentality: Cueva de las Golondrinas, Cueva de la Encantada, Casa de la Reina Mora.

  2. A peri-urban area in which meanings alternate spaces made sacralized by the presence of churches with which necropolises are associated. There are two temples in this suburban area: the cave, which is the best-known patrimonial asset of the enclave and the hermitage of Nª Sra. de Villaverde, also of a cave character; vine. file: “The churches of Bobastro”) with defensive posts (Peñón del Moro propugnacle) and some residential areas (Casas de Ginés), in both cases resorting to the rock-working technique, so typical of Bobastro.</ li>

  3. Finally, a set of fortifications outside the Villaverde Tables, built by Ibn Ḥafṣūn himself for the static defense of his seat of power. Some of them are more distant from Bobastro but linked to it, such as Santa María/los Castillejos de Quintana (vid file: “Los Castillejos de Quintana”), Santa Eulia/Gibralgalia/Sancti Petri), but others, of lesser castral importance, They are located in the vicinity of the Mesas de Villaverde, occupying outstanding orographic prominences: Puerto de las Atalayas, Portizuelos, Pico Almorchón.

Virgilio Martínez In Love for URBS REGIA




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ID., 1997: Un espacio de frontera. Fortalezas medievales de los valles del río Turón y Guadalteba, Universidad de Málaga, Málaga.
ID., 1997a: “Bobastro (Ardales, Málaga): una madīna para un ‘rebelde’”, Qurṭuba, II, 123-147.
ID., 1997: “Bobastro (Ardales, Málaga): la ciudad de Ibn Ḥafṣūn”, Archéologie Islamique, 7, 27-44.
ID., 2001: “La madīna de la fitna contra los omeyas: Bobastro”, El esplendor de los omeyas cordobeses. La civilización musulmana de Europa Occidental, Estudios, Fundación El Legado Andalusí/Consejería de Cultura de la Junta de Andalucía (Exposición en Madīnat al-Zahrā’,mayo-septiembre 2001), Córdoba, 126-131.
ID., 2003: Al-Andalus desde la periferia. La formación de una sociedad musulmana en tierras malagueñas (siglos VIII-X), CEDMA, Málaga.
ID., 2011: ‘Umar ibn Ḥafṣūn. De la rebeldía a la construcción de la Dawla. Estudios en torno al rebelde de al-Andalus (880-928), Editorial de la Universidad de Costa Rica, San José.
ID. 2018. “Bobastro (Mesas de Villaverde, Ardales, Málaga): nuevas aportaciones sobre la ‘base de los ‘aŷam’ del sur de al-Andalus”, en E. Cerrato Casado y D. Asensio García (coords.), Nasara, extranjeros en su tierra. Estudios sobre cultura mozárabe y catálogo de la exposición, Cabildo Catedral de Córdoba, Córdoba, 77-93.
VALLVÉ BERMEJO, J., 1965. “De nuevo sobre Bobastro”, Al-Andalus, XXX, 139-169.
ID., 1980-1981: “La rendición de Bobastro”, Mainake, II-III, pp. 218-230.