“This extensive plain, like the countryside of Damascus, is – infinitely worthy of praise – the story of the travellers and of evening conversations. God handed it over like a stretched out tapestry through which rivers and streams run, on which farms and gardens grow, the most delightful of places with an abundance of crops and plantations.” The 13th century writer from Cordoba, Al-Saqundi, described the area so well. Maracena is located on the plains very near Granada.
Its lands and gardens made it one of the most prosperous towns in the area many centuries ago, whilst now it is undergoing a major urban development. The local economy is driven by both agriculture and the service sector.
Maracena was founded in Roman times and even its name that comes from Maratiena, (meaning the inheritance of Maratius) is a constant reminder of this. It was a town of some importance, shown by the fact that a millstone for an oil mill dating back to the 2nd century was found in the Casería de los Titos.
In the Muslim period Marasana also enjoyed a time of prosperity, occasionally interrupted by attacks by the Christians, such as in 1126 when Alfonso I fought against the Arabs. During the campaign of the Catholic Monarchs it was the focus of continuous attacks due to its proximity to Granada and to the role it played as an important supplier of food to Granada. After the Reconquista and the expulsion of the Moors, Maracena had to be repopulated again. In later centuries its economy focused mainly on agriculture, specifically on the growing of grapes and wine production. In the 20th century with the introduction of tobacco plantations, the town’s industry grew, and with it its population.
One of the most popular dishes is Gachas de mosto. Local sausages, Migas de maiz and Olla de garbanzos are also all delicious. Excellent local meat dishes include rabbit and Collejas al ajillo.