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Ojén

Ojén (population approx 2528) is a town which sits in the mountains behind Marbella in Andalusia, Southern Spain.

 
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Its name is oddly derived from an Arabic word, hoxán, meaning "rough" or "bitter" place, and therefore curious that the Moors should establish a settlement in a place they presumably did not care for. But they did, and in common with other inland villages such as Istán, it was allowed to survive the Christians' embargo on Moors living too close to the sea after the Reconquest.
It is situated beside the Almadán stream above the valley of the rio Real at an altitude of approx 200 metres, hemmed in by the Sierra Blanca and Sierra Alpujata. These may provide a clue for the Moors' determination to stay in spite of their apparent antipathy, for both ranges of mountains have long been known as rich sources of talc, nickel, iron and lead. This mineral wealth put the area in the forefront of the Spanish industrial revolution of the 19th Century.
Ojén used to be famous for the production of aguardiente, an anise liqueur that once played a major part in the town's economy. This liqueur gained widespread fame abroad and was especially popular in the city of New Orleans, Louisiana.
Close by, in the Serrania de Ronda, is the Refugio de Juanar. Originally the private hunting lodge of the wealthy Larios family, and a favoured retreat of King Alfonso XIII, this is now a hotel popular with tourists and hunters. The Serrania is still very much a hunting reserve where ibex, wildcats and eagles abound. It is also a favourite with ramblers and hikers who come to for the mountain air and the stunning views of Marbella and the coast 1000 metres below.

 

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Costa del Sol: Ojén
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