Nestled in Barranco de Romailique in the Sierra Arana, Huélago is 913 metres above sea level and is crossed by a stream that bears its name. There are many gullies and ravines in the surrounding area. Its continental and Mediterranean climate means that its winters are cold and summers are mild.
The town is long and thin. The core business of the locals is agriculture, particularly olives and cereals. The many archaeological remains make this area particularly interesting. In the Argaric site of Cerro del Coto are the oldest traces in the town. Here flint objects, stone instruments, such as axes and arrows, and copper and ceramic pieces have also been found.
Its name is the most curious of the region. In the past it was written either with an ‘H’ or ‘G’ and it seems to refer to the existence of a large pool of fresh water or a lake. The name later changed from ‘Fue lago’ to ‘Güélago’, to which it is referred in the oldest surviving documents we know of that date back to the 17th century.
Although until recently its medieval foundation was disputed, some important archaeological remains from Prehistoric and Roman times have been found. In fact the Austrian archaeologist Obermaier published one of his books about the Palaeolithic sites of Huélago. Sites dating back to the Bronze Age have also been found. All these findings indicate that the town has been continually occupied over the centuries.
Due to the proximity to other towns during Roman times, it is believed that the location of Güélago was mainly strategic and served to defend against the Carthaginian troops.
During the Moorish domination it was a military centre and a farmstead. This continued to be so during the Reconquista, as it lay on the border with Castilian territories. The watchtowers that were ordered to be built by the Nasrid kings can still be seen here today. According to written documentation, in the 15th century, after the Reconquista, the town was taken possession of by Don García de Arana, founder of the Mayorazgo de Arana. For two centuries the town was under his jurisdiction, during which the land was repopulated.
In the mid-16th century, Huélago became a district of Moreda. In the following years it passed through different hands, until the Afán de Ribera family handed over the lands to the Godoy family in the 20th century.
The culinary specialities of Huélago focus on the traditional Olla, Migas and porridge. Roast lamb is especially good here. One of their local dishes is testicles! These recipes should be accompanied by the delicious local wines.