Jayena, known as ‘Chayyana’ in the Nasrid period, is located in the valley of the Río Grande between the Cerro de Piedra Sellada and the Pantano de Los Bermejales. Its views are restricted by the Sierra de Játar on the right and the Sierra de la Mora on the left. Due to its lovely natural surroundings, Jayena is a great place for camping and is well equipped for this. On the left bank of the Río Grande, in the area known as Vacal, you can go hiking and enjoy other nature-related sports.
Although the origin of Jayena dates back to the Arab period, archaeologists found remains belonging to earlier cultures, such as the Romans and the Neolithic people. The town passed into Christian hands after the Reconquista led by the Catholic Monarchs that culminated in the capture of Granada in 1492. It was later donated by the Catholic Kings to Pedro de Granada, the founder of the noble family of the marquises of Campotéjar.
In the 18th century Jayena was not an independent municipality but was part of the region of Alhama. At the end of that century or at the very beginning of the 19th century it was finally made into an independent municipality. During the French invasion in the 19th century, Napoleon’s troops passed through here. In 1884 it suffered the effects of an earthquake that completely destroyed the town centre. The current centre was built with the donations received from all over Spain raised by King Alfonso XII.
Jayena produces a lot of cereals, legumes and vegetables, especially almonds and olives. Special local dishes include Migas, stews, and roast meats with rice. A typical recipe is a fish dish called Truchas encebolladas. Jayena is also gaining fame for its excellent goat cheeses, some of the finest in the province. It is made using the traditional method of the region in the Cortijo de Rota and is branded under the name of ‘Cueva de la Magahá’.