La Taha is one of the municipalities in La Alpujarra that still has a large number of villages that are inhabited today. Seven of its ten towns fall within the former territory of the Taha of Ferreyra, where one of the most unique historical sites in the area is located – the Barranco de la Sangre. It was given the named Sangre (blood) because of the fierce and bloody battle that took place here during the Guerra de las Alpujarras.
Tahas were the administrative regions into which the La Alpujarra area was divided during the Islamic period. This is the only town that has kept its old name. Although the Diccionario de la Real Academia de la Lengua Española dictionary includes ‘taha’ as a Spanish word, the town’s name comes from an Arabic word.
Royal roads, cistern, bridges, mills and canals can all be found in this town, together with ancient chestnut trees, rural walking paths, charming fountains, and ancient legends.
Historically, Pitres was the capital of the municipality. It has one of the largest town squares and best woodland of the region dating back to Roman times. Its inhabitants are famously cunning. On a certain occasion one of the locals asked their governor to grant them a seaport. Although the request was strange – Pitres lies high above the sea – it gave rise to their nickname of Barbarians. Instead of taking it badly, the locals have started an amusing programme of celebrations, during which they hide sardines in the ground and they water them so they grow fat and plump.
On the slope that descends towards Trevélez, Mecina Fondales is located. Here the old public laundry can still be seen. The most interesting things is to be found in Fondales, where the English author Gerald Brenan has his summer residence. A short downhill walk to the river allows you to see the remains of an old Arab mill, considered at the time to be one of the most typical examples of medieval architecture in the area.
Ferreirola has a lovely church and water springs. Capileirilla, lies 1380 meters above sea level, and is the highest village in the municipality. Here you can see the remains of a Visigoth temple dating back to the 8th century.
Atalbéitar lies to the east of the municipality, and is one of the most modern towns of the region. Its history only goes back to the Muslim era. It is also one of the most peaceful, beautiful and verdant places in the area.
The area now called La Taha, on the southern slope of the Sierra Nevada, differs widely in altitudes, ranging from 600 to 2400 meters above sea level. It probably dates back to Roman times, but it was only under the Arabs that it became an important town. Its population suffered after the expulsion of the Moors but was repopulated by Christian settlers.
At first it was called the Taha de Ferreira, but this changed when it was given to Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba. Some of its towns sprung up in the 16th century. Throughout the following centuries it was Pitres that achieved the most prominence, to the point that the name was changed to La Taha de Pitres. Later it was just called La Taha.