This district is a contrast of climates and landscapes: for example, Charches is situated at a high altitude and has a mountainous climate. Valle de Zalabí has a fantastic tourist offering: it is perfect for enjoying beaches, going skiing and exploring La Alpujarra, because it is near to the coast of Almería (about 100 km), to the Puerto de La Ragua and to Granada (70 km).
Another attraction is the unique tourist accommodation in cave dwellings. There are many great options in this area.
The three towns that make up this municipality (Alcudia Guadix, Exfiliana and Charches) merged in 1973, but the history of each one is quite different.
There was a town called Zalabí as far back as the 2nd millennium BC, facing the hill where the Ermita de San Buenaventura stands today, by a small fortress built in the 16th century. However, Al Cudiat (meaning ‘hill’ in Arabic) was built in the 8th century around a fortified castle. From the 10th-11th centuries a new town was created on the site of the oldest town, in the place now occupied by the Ermita de San Buenaventura consecrated on 11th May 1492.
Exfiliana was called ‘Ex-Julia’ (meaning ‘outside Guadix’) by the Romans and founded by the first Christians who arrived in Acci around 306 AD. It changed its name to ‘Tustar’ or ‘Xustar’ with the arrival of the Muslims, and in the 16th century it changed again to ‘Yxfilyana’. After the rebellion of the Moors in 1568 and their subsequent expulsion, its population plummeted. It was later repopulated by Christian settlers from other parts of Spain. The mystical poet Al Xustari and the sculptor Torcuato Ruiz del Peral were born here in 1269 and 1708 respectively.
There are two versions regarding the history of Charches: one claims that it was a place where Muslims would pass on their way from Guadix to Baza to avoid the Catholic Kings; the other claims that it has been a settlement ever since the 16th century, with twelve shepherds from the nearby town of La Calahorra dividing it into as many lots and creating the current system of irrigation using the water-clock, with each lot watering the land for a certain amount of time.
The local cuisine has a good reputation. Its specialities include potato soup, Sopa de panecillos, Fritá de conejo, Tarbinas, Tallarines, Ajillo de conejo, Arroz con conejo, Pepitoria de pollo, Rin ran, Olla de los segadores and Encebollado.
Excellent local pastries include doughnuts, pancakes, fried doughnuts, Borrachillos and Manjar blanco. The municipality is one of the few in Granada where bread is still baked in a wood oven.