Arriate – Pueblo Blanco (White Village) de la Serrania de Ronda

The Village of Arriate is situated 5 km from Ronda and is surrounded by lush green hills and mountains. The village was originally founded around a farm of Arabic origin and the name Arriate is Arabic, deriving from Arriadh, which means gardens or orchards (los verjeles). Many lovely examples of flower-filled gardens and walkways can be seen all around the village.

The vicinity is surrounded to the north and west by the River Guadalcobacin and the abundance of water makes the region ideal for growing crops, olives, fruit and vegetables. Arriate was also a village of skilled blacksmiths, carpenters and saddlers, traditions which have not been forgotten and are carried on today. Around the village many fine examples of local wrought iron work can be seen with beautifully ornate balconies, grills and gates.

During the Palaeolithic period settlers are known to have inhabited the region and dwelled in caves which stood on either side of the River. The caves were excavated from the rocks and placed one on top of another.

In 1630 on February 14th the village of Arriate gained its independence from Ronda and in 1635 was reincorporated again as part of the administrative area of Ronda. One of the most important historical events which took place is known as the “Ambush of Arriate” in 1407 where Christian and Moslem armies fought and the Moors were defeated.

The white village houses of Arriate are typical of the pueblo blanco houses of the locality, white washed with flower filled patios and resplendent in the sunshine. The village is dominated by the only church in the village, the Church of San Juan de Letrán with its tall bell tower and located on the Calle Cordones in the centre of the town.

Like all Pueblo Blanco villages Arriate enjoys its fiestas and in particular the ‘Dia de la Vieja’ (The Day of the Old One) The festival marks the end of Lent and the forty days of fasting with La Vieja (the Old One) referring to Lent. Residents and visitors go out into the countryside for a picnic where they eat the traditional Spanish omelette, salt cod, rice pudding and other delicious local food.

One of the best known hermandades (brotherhoods) of Arriate is the Aurora. The group continues the ancient custom of singing in the streets in the early hours of Sunday mornings and ancient songs from Mozarab Kharjas can be heard around the town.

Arriate has a lot to offer, a friendly town with ancient customs that offers many modern conveniences. It is a popular village also due to its close proximity to Ronda and although predominately a Spanish village it is home to foreign residents from many different countries.