Offering instant respite from the crowded coast, Ojen is an ideal retreat for many who seek real Spain, while enjoying the many facilities that both coastal and rural Spain have to offer.
The area of Ojen lies between the Sierra Alpujara and the Sierra Blanca (just 15 minutes drive behind Marbella), its highlight being El Juanar Valley, an area of immense natural beauty.
The village itself is surrounded by orchards of avocado, olive and citrus trees. It retains its original Arabic layout, with houses built on different levels to accommodate the mountainside on which they are built. Ojen is widely considered to be one of the most beautiful villages in the province.
The village houses the Malaga Wine Museum, a pleasant place for visitors to stop off in. Friendly staff will explain the local wines on offer and a relaxed tasting with a traditional tapa is a must. There is also a shop selling wine and related curios as well locally produced handicrafts.
Ojen boasts some traditional ventas and bodegas in which some excellent traditional Spanish food and drink are served.
Situated within close proximity to the amenities to be found in Marbella, Ojen itself has its own school, doctor and other local amenities, including an open air swimming pool, making it ideal for those moving to or spending long periods of time in the village.
Ojen dates back to the Andalusi-Arabic period, when it was known as Oxen or Hoxan, meaning "rugged place".
Records tell us that in front of the village walls (now gone) Abderraman III's troops fought with the muladíes (Christian converts to Islam) led by Omar Ben Hafsun in rebellion against the dominance of the Emirate of Cordoba. Having defeated the muladíes, Caliph Abderraman III ordered the building of a mosque as proof of Moslem supremacy over Christian converts.
Following the village's capture by the Catholic Monarchs, one hundred moriscos (Moslem converts to Christianity) and four Christians remained, all of whom were devoted to agricultural tasks. However, by the mid 16th century, the moriscos had grown tired of the abusive taxes which they were obliged to pay and, encouraged by the inhabitants of Istan, set fire to the village and its church and fled to the Alpujarra region. By the end of the same century, the village was practically abandoned.
In 1807 it was declared an independent village by Charles IV.
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