Capileira derives from the Latin capillaris-e, which means hair, related to head - in this case, the highest point of the ravine where it sits. It is located in the south of the province of Granada, nestled in the heart of La Alpujarra and lying within the Sierra Nevada National Park: indeed, we could well consider it the "Puerta" or gateway to the Sierra Nevada mountain range for its southern slope.
It sits on the left bank of the Poqueira River Valley, better known as the “Barranco de Poqueira”. Its location at an altitude of almost fifteen hundred metres means that its viewpoints offer us the best views of the ravine. From here we can also enjoy spectacular panoramas of the summits of Cerro Mulhacén and Picacho Veleta. Another of its most unique attractions is its architecture of Berber origin. The influence of these ancient peoples from the mountains of North Africa is clear to see throughout the strait.
Although its origins date back to the Phoenicians, Romans and Visigoths, the strongest legacy is that left by the Arabs. Architecture, irrigation systems, agriculture and linguistic roots are the inheritance left by a culture that was present for seven hundred years in the Iberian Peninsula. Its urban landscape is characterised by the "terraos": flat rooftops made with stones, wood and a characteristic bluish earth called “launa”, which has the unusual quality of being semi-waterproof.
The roofs or terraces are flat to avoid the “launa” being eroded when it rains. It is declared a Site of Cultural Interest, under the category Historic Site, in recognition of and to preserve its particular style of local architecture. Its urban fabric comprises whitewashed houses built into the slope of the mountain to give rise to narrow and winding streets, whose timeless stillness we can appreciate as we stroll around. Its most notable single building is the Parish Church Nuestra Señora de la Cabeza, built in the 16th century in Mudejar style.
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