The municipality of Cástaras is part of the Parque Natural de Sierra Nevada and is located on its southern side. It is very near the village of Nieles. This hidden village is without doubt one of the most amazing in the region, and at the same time one of the hardest hit by emigration. White houses and steep streets perfectly adapted to the jagged terrain and typical La Alpujarra architecture make it a special place. The views from here are magnificent.
One of the most charming places is the spot where the old Conjuro mine is located. This spectacular site, abandoned years ago, has incredible panoramic views. From here you can see the Valle de Trevélez and the extensive territory of La Taha and Busquístar.
The locals like to refer to the town’s nickname: “an orchard sleeping between rocks and water.” This is a fairly accurate definition, what with the steepness of the terrain and the abundance of water and leafy vegetation.
Nieles is located at the foot of Cerro de las Alfanjías, a thousand meters above sea level and with a lovely view over the valley of the Río Guadalfeo and the Cerrajón de Murtas.
Of Arab origin, this town grew in importance due to its iron mines, the Minas del Conjuro, which were open until very recently. Other mines, such as local mercury mines, were closed in the mid-20th century.
After the Reconquista, Cástaras passed into Christian hands. In the mid 16th century the Moorish uprising took place, and the Moors were consequently expelled from the town. Years later, the town was repopulated with settlers from other regions of the country.
Cástaras’ population has reduced drastically due to emigration. In the 1970s, after a mass exodus of inhabitants leaving search of work, almost two-thirds of homes were closed and locked up.
In Cástaras you can find excellent sausages, hams, chorizo, blood sausage and salamis. Some of the best dishes include goat with garlic. Chestnut soup is a typical dessert also popular in other municipalities.
This celebrations take place in Nieles, anejo of Castaras. It is characteristic that women make the listones (necklaces with ribbons), which are stamped by the City Council and blessed by the priest. Later on they sell them so they are [...]