The Bobastro; Moorish culture in Andalusia

The Bobastro is located near the famous Caminito del Rey in Ardales/El Chorro. Many people don’t know that this rock-hewn church from the Moorish era is absolutely unique and definitely worth a visit.

Some background information

The history of this village, nowadays a ruin, goes back to 880 before Christ. During this period the Moorish ruled in Andalusia. The rebel Omar Ben Hafsún settled in this inaccessible area, also known as Las Mesas de Villaverde, with gorges and ravines. Together with Mozararabs and other Islamic groups he had taken refuge here to prepare the uprisings against the Cordovan Caliphate.

What can you see?

On this terrain you can see a number of large structures, the ruins of a fortress, a number of rock-hewn houses, a necropolis/cemetery, but above all a very unique Mozarabic rock church. These remains suggest there is still much to discover on this archeologic site from the 9th and 10th centuries.

 If you wander through this unearthed area you will notice caves that used to serve as settlements and ancient defensive walls. The church, probably built by Omar Ben Hafsun, when he converted to Christianity, is the only one of Mozarabic origin known in what was the land of Al-Andalus. The church has a basilica plan and faces east. The nine by the ten-meter floor is divided into three naves with horseshoe arches. Some of them have been preserved.

Opening hours

In this place so much hasn’t been excavated yet. In addition, you can walk freely through this beautiful piece of nature with its rich history. Although it is a fantastic archaeological site, only a few people know how to find it.

There is a small house where you can buy an entrance ticket, that’s all. There is no toilet or restaurant.

The Bobastro is open every day except for Monday. Tuesday to Thursday from 10 am to 3 pm and at weekends from 9 am to 3 pm. Don’t be surprised if you have to wait a little longer until someone opens the gate.

Activities in the area 

In the area are various sightseeing activities;

Lakes of Ardales, a good place for swimming and relaxing.

The caves of Ardales, with the world’s oldest paintings.

Caminito del Rey, a spectacular path along cliffs in a deep gorge.