Olula del Río - History


The earliest traces of settlements found in Olula del Río are from the Neolithic and Copper Ages. The period of Al-Andalus was the most significant for the primitive town, which was located on the bank of the river in a difficult area to access, on a rock known as La Piedra Verde Olula. During this period, the area was abundant in fruit, olives, vines and, above all, mulberry trees for the cultivation of silk.

The town was conquered by the Catholic Monarchs in 1488, with Purchena and Urrácal later handed over to the Duke of Medinaceli. In 1560, it was passed onto the Crown and was sold to Miguel Serrano, a character who distinguished himself during the Moorish pacification. In the eighteenth century, Olula del Río passed into the hands of Don Diego Manuel Mesía y Serrano.

After the Christian Re-conquest, many Moors who did not want to leave their land regrouped to form parties of bandits who ravaged the Purchena and Olula area for years. These bandits, known as monfíes, were grouped around some leaders such as El Gorri or El Rami. With the Moorish uprising of 1568-1579, they found fertile ground to join the rebellion. The Marquis de los Vélez began the pacification of the territory but it was Don Juan de Austria who eventually ended the battle. With the expulsion of the Moors from the Kingdom of Granada at the end of the War of the Alpujarras, it was then repopulated by Christian families.

Until the mid-nineteenth century, Olula del Río was a town dedicated primarily to agriculture. It was at this time that the exploitation of its marble quarries began, but it wasn’t until 1945 that technological modernization facilitated a real boom in the local industry; today, around 30 companies work in the area to produce marble.