The municipality of Cuevas del Becerro, with 16 km² of extension, is located in Guadalteba region, within the province of Málaga, and located in Sierra de Espartosa.
Cuevas del Becerro is considered the north gate of Serranía de Ronda region, which borders Comarca de Antequera.
Cuevas del Becerro town is located 20 km from Ronda and 105 from Málaga, presenting an altitude above sea level of 725 m.
Cuevas del Becerro rises on a small hill and sheltered by Sierra de Vijan (905 m) and Cerro de los Tercios (Hill of the Thirds)(948 m), between which Cuevas River flows and on which numerous streams of the northern part of the municipality of Ronda end. In the municipality there are other hills dotted with holm oaks such as Cerro del Castillón (Castillón Hill) (958 m), Cerro de las Palomas (Pigeons Hill) (957 m) and Pilón del Zorro (Fox Basin) (944 m), which contrast with the grassy areas covered with olive groves and cereal fields.
Among the fauna of Cuevas del Becerro, it is worth highlighting the presence of the short-toed eagle, the booted eagle, the common buzzard, the peregrine falcon, the eagle owl and the kestrel, among the birds. While within mammals the wild cat, mongoose and roe deer stand out.
The urban nucleus of Cuevas del Becerro preserves the tradition of the mountain villages, houses with one or two floors with a farmyard that serves as a block.
The origin of the name Cuevas del Becerro is still a mystery, although there are some legends about it. One of them says that in one of the different caves that can be found in the municipality, a figure of a solid gold calf was found. While another, perhaps more truthful, tells of the loss of a calf by a villager, this calf took refuge in the caves of these lands and was found when its bellowing was heard.
What is known is that the geographical location of Cuevas del Becerro, with a smooth orography and one of the most comfortable steps between the lands of Serranía de Ronda and Comarca de Antequera, made this place, already in prehistoric times, a place of passage and settlement of the man. Over time remains have been found on the western and northern slopes of Cerro del Castillón, in the vicinity of Fuente del Zorro (Fox Fountain) and in Cerro de las Palomas.
However, the period with the greatest number of archaeological sites in Cuevas del Becerro is the Roman period. In the Casas de las Viñas (Vineyard Houses) one of the most important deposits in the area, located next to the football field, abundant ceramic material, tesserae, stucco and coins have been discovered, as well as the existence of a Roman villa where oil and pottery was developed, from this last activity two complete kilns and part of a third are preserved. Several burials have also been discovered in the area.
Although during the Arab domination, it is assumed that Cuevas del Becerro area maintained a notable level of activity, there are hardly any documents that certify it.
In 1330, King Alfonso XI took Cuevas del Becerro, although he could not keep it in his power for a long time, again passing into Arab hands, producing the definitive conquest at the beginning of the 15th century.
The parish archive preserves documents of Cuevas del Becerro from the 18th century, among which is the ownership of the land where the town is now located, corresponding to the Marchioness of Cuevas del Becerro and Benamejí.
In Cuevas del Becerro you will have the opportunity to see different components of the cultural heritage from different times and that each one was dedicated to a different purpose.
In the archaeological site of the Casas de las Viñas you can see the Roman Kilns, which correspond to a potter accommodation from the Roman period of Cuevas del Becerro.
One of the most representative constructions of Cuevas del Becerro is the Church of Saint Anthony the Great, a simple temple from the early 20th century, with a single nave and belfry. Inside, the three semi-circular brick arches that preside over the altar stand out. It houses several images, among which the image of Saint Anthony with two calves at his feet stands out.
On the other hand, Cuevas del Becerro has quite a few fountains that you can see on your visit to the town. These fountains are: the Fuente el Patito (Duckling Fountain), known as such because it contained a woman with a duck in her hands pouring water through its beak, the Fuente Gertrudis (Gertrudis Fountain), where the women went to fill the water jugs for their family, El pilar (The basin), where formerly cattle drank, the Fuente de la Entrada (Entrance Fountain), the Fuente de la Puerta Del Sol (Sun Door Fountain), the Fuente de Plaza Tierno Galván (Tierno Galván Square Fountain) and the Fuente de la Plaza La República (Republic Square Fountain).
In addition, to the south of Cuevas del Becerro you will be able to see a small hill, Cerro del Castillón, on which the remains of an old fortress known as El Castillejo rise, from where the town is dominated. Possibly it was a strategic place of defense that visually connected with the Torre de Viján (Viján Tower), in Cañete la Real, La Torrecilla, in Teba, and the Torre de Ortegicar (Ortegicar Tower), also in Cañete la Real. Small in size, it closes an irregular space, with an oval plan. The entire summit of the hill was protected by a wall made of masonry that is currently completely demolished. Next to it, there is a town that, due to the ceramic remains found, we can date around the 9th century.
Other interesting monuments and elements of the cultural heritage of Cuevas del Becerro that you might be interested in seeing are the Casa de los Marqueses (Marquises House), the Old Mill or Olive Press and the Cubo Flour Mill.
The best thing you can do in Cuevas del Becerro, once you know the history and its most important monuments, is to explore its natural environment. You will be able to learn more about what the municipality encompasses thanks to the different activities they offer you and the beautiful attractions it contains.
One of the most unique places in Cuevas del Becerro when starting to explore its natural environment is the Nacimiento de Cuevas del Becerro (Cuevas del Becerro Source), located a few meters from the town center. It is the source of the Cuevas del Becerro River and it is a recreational area with a beautiful landscape where the spring that runs through a good part of the municipal area and supplies the Guadalteba River rises. The water runs through its pipes with special force with the first autumn rains, offering a spectacular image. It is a set of canals, cisterns and pipes that has its history for being the place where Alfonso XI rested in 1330 before directing the attack with his troops on Ronda. The ideal time of year for you to visit this area of Cuevas del Becerro is in the month of July.
You can get closer to contemplate the views that are obtained from El Molino Viewpoint, which is located a few meters from the Cubo Flour Mill and is reached very easily through the Tilín Trail, or you can do speleology in the Cueva del Moro (Moor Cave), very near the Nacimiento de Cuevas del Becerro. Also, if your hobby is climbing, Cuevas del Becerro gives you the opportunity to practice this activity in the Tajo de las Palomas (Pigeon Sheer Drop).
For the little ones there is a place with a unique attraction. These are Los “Resbalaeros”, three worn stone pits that were used by the children of Cuevas del Becerro as slides.
You will also have the opportunity to get to know the surroundings of the municipality of Cuevas del Becerro better with some of the hiking routes that explore different corners.
One of these routes is the Ascent to Colorado Peak, in Sierra de La Cueva. It is a circular route of 7 km in length with a medium level of difficulty, which begins in Cuevas del Becerro town and whose objective is to climb to Colorado Peak, from where you will have the opportunity to obtain beautiful panoramic views of the entire countryside.
Meanwhile, the other route, the Castillejo Route, makes up a 3.8 km long circular trail with a medium difficulty level. It starts next to the spring, in Cuevas del Becerro town, and goes up to Cerro del Castillón, from where you will enjoy wonderful views. Then you will go down from this hill in an easterly direction and you will go up to El Castillejo. Afterwards, heading north, you will reach the old castle site. Finally, you will go down in a northeast direction to the Nacimiento de Cuevas del Becerro.
Cuevas del Becerro has different festivities throughout the year. These festivities have their origin in different terms and some are local and others national, but it always has the charm that characterizes this population.
The first celebration that takes place in the year is the Festivity in honor of Saint Anthony the Great, patron of Cuevas del Becerro. It takes place on January 17 and the first thing that is done in it is to bless the animals and right after a mass and a procession take place.
On the night of February 2, the Candelarias are celebrated, an event that commemorates the moment in which the laborers left for the countryside. During this night, large bonfires are lit in the streets of Cuevas del Becerro.
In the month of February the Carnivals are also celebrated, of great tradition in Cuevas del Becerro and in which many residents participate.
In the middle of Lent, around Saint Joseph's Day, one of the most traditional Cuevas del Becerro festivities takes place, Partir la Vieja. On this holiday the neighbors go out to eat in the countryside and stone a gigantic doll that represents an old woman. During the celebration, rondeñas, a kind of flamenco, is danced and sung.
On May 15, the Pilgrimage of Saint Isidore is celebrated and in it meals are organized in the countryside, dances and float contests.
During the summer you can enjoy the Emigrant Festival at the end of July.
Likewise, on September 1, 2, 3 and 4, the Cuevas del Becerro Fair is held, in honor of its patron Saint Anthony the Great. During the celebration, in addition to the procession of Saint Anthony the Great, sports activities, musical performances and others such as the Fire Bull are organized, which takes place on the last day of the fair and where 3 or 4 iron shells in the shape of a bull are carried by a man and covered with fireworks on the horns, so that he runs after the people through the streets of Cuevas del Becerro. The festivities end with the final fireworks.
Finally, on November 1, All Saints' Day, the residents go out to the countryside to roast chestnuts.
The gastronomy of Cuevas del Becerro is based on typical local products such as honey, cheese, oil, as well as a wide range of homemade sweets and products derived from the slaughter of the pig.
Among the cuisine of Cuevas del Becerro, the asparagus stew, the boiled soup, the poncima soup, the common golden thistle pot, the migas, the Cuevas salmorejo, the pork rinds and the porra stand out.
In desserts and pastries, we must highlight the rice pudding, the French toasts, the oil cake and the anise cake.