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Frigiliana History

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Frigiliana History

Man started wandering amidst the surrounding environs of Frigiliana as early as prehistoric times. This was determined after the discovery of remains, which were dated at 3,000 BC, in the Cueva de los Murciélagos or The Bat Cave.
Frigiliana's proximity to the Higueron River, which is also near the cave, is one good reason why prehistoric nomads chose to inhabit the area. No proper village settlement took place then.

Instead, it took nearly 3,000 years before the Phoenicians and Romans became the first organized civilizations that settled in the territory. The Romans began arriving in 206 BC and are largely believed to have dubbed the place "Frexinius ana" or "the villa of Frexinius". No one knows who Frexinius really was though.

In 711 AD, the first Moors arrived and, under the leadership of Omar Ben Hafsun, eventually set up a village fortress. When the Christian forces came in 1485, the villagers surrendered peacefully. Many of them even submitted themselves to religious conversion and were subsequently known as Moriscos.

However, oppressive actions by the ruling Christians forced the Moors to start an uprising in the Alpujarra regions of Granada. Although these rebels were quickly subdued, some 7,000 Moors of La Axarquia - relying on a promise of reinforcements from Africa - retreated to El Fuerte de Frigiliana. The reinforcements never came and the Moors made their last stand there.

By orders of the governor of Velez-Malaga, the first wave of attack was carried out on May 28, 1569. The rebels were initially able to thwart the first attacks but it didn't take long for the 6,000-strong Christian forces to overwhelm the rag-tag Arabs. The rebellion was finally crushed in brutal fashion on June 11, 1569, wherein 2,000 Moors perished and the castle fortress burned to the ground.

The following year, 1570, the remaining Moors were expelled and their lands distributed to the Christians of Granada and Valencia.
Legend has it that many of those who died in the final battle actually jumped off the walls of the fortress to avoid getting captured, and that bones can still be found on the surrounding hillside.

Today, no air of the violent past - not even the castle - pervades through the village. In its stead is an enchanting atmosphere that captivates visitors the very moment they step unto the tilting streets of Frigiliana.

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