ruins of Bobastro

Overview of the Ruins of Bobastro

Bobastro and its archaeological site contains the remains of various constructions; ruins of a palace, a Muslim necropolis and especially the Mozarabic church, practically carved into the rock, which were built in the ninth century and for a long time served as a refuge to the muladí rebel Omar Iben Hafsun, who, from this place, prepared the revolts against Cordoba Caliphate.


At this point the church of Bobastro, carved into sandstone rock, still remains in its original structure. Although the complex dates from the ninth century.

Designed on a basilica plan preserved part of its three naves, separated by horseshoe arches and its three apses, the two sides being rectangular and horseshoe the center one.

Bobastro and its Mozarab church. The interest of the Mozarabic Bobastro church so far, is the only architectural achievement that can be defined as purely Mozarabic, since it is a temple built by the Christian community during the Muslim rule and the Caliphate territory.


The temple is perfectly oriented to the east, it has a length of about seventeen meters wide. These dimensions may seem meager, but in the case of a construct that it was made by piercing the rock is invaluable.

It is widely believed among archaeologists who have worked in this area there are still many remains to be discovered, since I found so far clearly shows that the Bobastro archaeological complex has been excavated only a small part.

About muladí warlord Omar Ibn Hafsun, his birth is located in the highlands of Ronda, he settled in Bobastro in 880 with a group of followers. This area, he became it hes headquarters, prepared the uprising to overthrow the Caliphate of Cordoba. His activity worried seriously the caliphate, but he was finally defeated at the Battle of Poley in May 891. His conversion to Christianity discouraged more than a few followers, so that the Lord of important localities like; Archidona, Baeza, Úbeda, Priego and Écija was abandoned and the aid received by the muladíes disappeared, leading him to ask Alfonso III support. Still, the continuous defeats led him to take refuge in the almost unassailable fortress of Bobastro. He died in 917 and although his sons continued the cause of his father, Bobastro was finally taken by Abd al-Rahman III in 928.


During the last half of the ninth and early tenth century, the revolt of the Mozarabic, headed by Omar Iben Hafsun, represented a social upheaval for the emirate and later for the first Caliph of Cordoba.

The settlement of the main part of Bobastro rebels, the fortification of the city and alliances in the neighboring towns of Ardales, Cañete la Real and Alora, to build and/or improved their castles, were protected by Hafsún from the Cordoba caliphate.

view from the site - Bobastro whereabouts are known as Villaverde Mesa, of inaccessible nature, with narrow winding lanes plus deep ravines and high slits.

Bobastro whereabouts are known as Villaverde Mesa, of inaccessible nature, with narrow winding lanes plus deep ravines and high slits.

In Bobastro according to the chronicles, Omar Ibn Hafsun built several churches. One was near the palace, in the highest part of the city, clearly linked to the headquarters of the revolt. Another however, it was close to the city, on the west side of the mountain, related to the religious community protected by Umar. Both churches possessed similar proportions, but the fortress was built of stone blocks, while this was excavated in the rock. Moreover, the cave church was part of a quadrangular enclosure that housed the monks. A convent run by and for the religious community. It would be posible that the city of the Mozarabic had any other church. In fact next to the gorge of Gaitanes, is located the Ermita of Villaverde, built on a site that included a Moorish necropolis.

The architecture of the churches of Bobastro have their antecedent in the early Christian and Hispanic-Visigoth Basilica. It is logical that Omar Ibn Hafsun, would legitimize his decision in the tradition. But the real affront to the Caliphate of Córdoba is in the appointment as bishop of the church of Jafar Ibn Maqsim in 916. It is known that the Emir Abd al Rahman III, visited the place when he conquered Bobastro Hafsun's children in 928, banishing its people, destroying homes, and especially the churches the rebel had built. Tough times arrived.


Mapa de vista aerea de la situación de Bobastro

GPS coordinates 36°54'07" N 4°46'52" O

King's tiny gangway