The town of Fonelas is located in Hoya de Guadix. In the town centre there are numerous cave dwellings, some of which are being restored as tourist accommodation, which are ideal as they are cool in summer and warm in winter. This is one of the reasons why this town is focusing on improving and expanding its rural tourism offering.
The necropolis that dates back to the Bronze Age, made up by about 70 dolmens scattered in several groups, is very interesting, as are the archaeological sites of Cerro del Gallo and Solana del Zamborino. The four watchtowers in Fonelas tell their own story; they were used in the Muslim period to defend the land.
Agriculture, especially the growing of olives, cereals and vegetables, is important in this town. Their surrounding areas, dotted with poplar trees, and the striking visual contrast between the clay of the ground and the green of the valley make this a perfect spot for walking and hiking. Visitors can admire and buy products made of esparto, as there is an important tradition of handicrafts here too.
The area occupied by the municipality of Fonelas has been a human settlement since Prehistoric times. Archaeological remains from the Neolithic, Bronze Age and Iberian civilization have been found here. All these findings have been studied and have helped us understand the evolution and history of mankind. During Roman times it became an important town heavily planted with vines and an extensive network of roads was built to make agriculture possible. It was part of Iberian Acci (present-day Guadix), located near the Via Augusta.
From the 8th to the 15th centuries it was under the dominion of the Arabs. It was a farmstead that reached great prominence because it was located along the border, with lookout towers to protect it. Of these towers, four still can be seen today: the Torre de los Moros, the Torre del Cortijo de Cuajar, the Torre de las Cuevas del Pocico and the Torre del Cortijo de Muros. In the later Arab period, it suffered many attacks from Christian troops due to its location on the border.
With the surrender of Guadix in 1489, Fonelas fell to the Catholic Kings who, years later, gave Don Álvaro de Bazán the jurisdiction and rents of the town. Later, it was part of a loan to the Afán de Ribera family and by that time it took control over its surroundings and the farms nearby. In the 19th century it was made into an independent municipality with its own jurisdiction.
The fertile lands grow excellent vines, cereals, beets, tomatoes, lettuce, courgettes and fruit, especially peaches. The typical dessert, peaches in wine, is made with local fruit.
Its cuisine also reflects its Arab tradition. Its culinary heritage is expressed in dishes like porridge, varieties of stews and Migas. Meats, such as roast lamb and rabbit, are usually roasted and Fonelas’s pickles are also well known. Local pastries include cakes and doughnuts.