Located at the foot of the Vega de Granada, Atarfe has both agricultural and mountainous areas. In the municipality you can visit the ruins of the Medina Elvira, the town built between the 8th and 11th centuries on the site of the Roman town Iliberis, considered the core of the city of Granada as we know it today.
The foundation of Elvira took place a few years after the entry of Arab-Berber troops against the ruinous Roman state of Iliberis. Arabs and Jews inhabited this former capital of the region, also known as Eliberri by the Visigoths. There was constant internal friction between the two peoples, so the Arabs were forced to leave and instead settled in the Albaicín and Alhambra districts of Granada. This is the historical connection between Medina Elvira and the Albaicín district, where numerous inscriptions have been found referring to Iliberis. Granada is almost a continuation of Iliberis. The Roman and Arab Granada existed side by side with Iliberis, although the former was always more powerful and more politically important.
This city used to be a Neolithic settlement. Later it was inhabited by the Iberians, Romans and Visigoths. It was known as Elvira and it was the capital of the Cora (administrative district) of Elvira during the Cordoba Caliphate. In the 11th century, the Zirí Dynasty court moved to Granada, so Elvira lost much of its political power. This resulted in a mass emigration to the new capital. In 1485 the Catholic Kings destroyed the remains of this town, sinking it into oblivion. It was in the mid-19th century that the town gained importance in the municipality when numerous Roman and Moorish remains were found.
Atarfe has a wide range of delicious traditional dishes thanks to its rich tradition in growing vegetables and legumes. Many of these dishes have Arab influences, as can be seen in the stews, bean omelettes and gazpacho. The Ensaladilla de la Sierra, a potato-based dish, was created for people walking up into the mountains. Custard curls and Flores are some of their best pastries.