This municipality is located in the Vega de Granada, in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, right on the southern border where the mountains begins to rise up. Cájar combines the traditional architecture of its older neighbourhood with the residential villas of the early 20th century and the more modern constructions of its new developments. This town has the smallest municipality in Andalusia, of only two square kilometres, which includes several convents, for which reason it is popularly known as “the little Vatican”.
This is one of the most peaceful and pretty towns around Granada. There is a wealth of cultural activity throughout the year. The Encuentros Polifónicos (polyphony musical event) takes place in spring, the Festival Juvenil de Teatro y Danza (Youth Theatre and Dance Festival) in May, the Encuentro Internacional de Orquestas (international orchestras event) in June, the Festival de Coros Rocieros (Chorus Festival) in July and the Encuentro de Villancicos para Instrumentos de Cuerda (Christmas songs event) takes place in December.
Although the town used to be an Arab farmstead surrounded by fruit trees, orchards and gardens, evidence of settlements dating back to 2500 BC have been found. As a farmstead it was called Qïyar. Despite its small size, it became important during the development and growth of the silk trade. During the second half of the 15th century thirty five homes in what are now the Calle Reale, Calle del Orno and Calle del Rosal were built. In 1491 the bloody Battle of La Zubia was fought in the surrounding area. After the Reconquista some houses were sold to Christians.
In 1572 the church and more than a dozen homes were built. In this century it is said that San Juan de Dios came here to collect donations for the hospital. Until the 17th century Cájar was merged with Huétor Vega and was known as Guetor-Cáxar, and was only later renamed Cáxar de la Vega. Cájar was one of many towns that were badly affected by the earthquake of 1884. The present inhabitants use it as a small commuter town serving Granada.
Highlights include sausage made with ham and lomo, spices and seasoning. Another speciality is trotters in ‘ajopollo’ and various bean dishes. The Sopa de Maimones, paprika and garlic soup are all excellent as are the typical cod casseroles.