Archez, Salares, Sedella, Canillas de Albaida, Canillas de Aceituno, Competa, all villages which stand at the foot of the impressive Tejeda and Almijara Sierras; all morisco (Moorish convert to Christianity) villages, where vines were the main crop and are still an important element in the landscape as well as the economy; all display similar characteristics, reflecting the true essence of the Axarquia region, its scenery, its way of life and its history.
The layout of their streets and the architecture of their whitewashed houses, which create unforgettably-picturesque corners, gives them a unique seal of identity, so much so that, together, they make up what is known as the Mudejar Route (Ruta del Mudéjar).
The highlight of the village is the minaret of Our Lady’s Church.
The first human settlements in the municipal area date back to prehistoric times. Near the village stands a cave known as Cueva de Ardales, or Cueva de Doña Trinidad Grund, which contains animal paintings -goats, horses and stags- and other illustrations pertaining to the Upper Paleolithic peroid (Solutrean and Magdalenian eras, 18,000 – 14,000 years B.C.)
During the Roman occupation, La Peña fortress was built, along with La Molina Bridge, which crossed the River Turon.
Ardales and its municipal area enjoyed its period of greatest glory during Moslem times, particularly during the muladi (Christian convert to Islam) uprising of the late 9th-early 10th century, led by Omar Ben Hafsun, who, with Bobastro as his headquarters, created a defensive arc made up by the castles of Ardales, Turon, Teba and Alora, even stretching as far as Archidona.
Many studies establish the location of the fortress town of Bobastro in the Villaverde Plateaux, near Ardales. This important Mozarabic settlement contained a cave basilica, houses, hermitages, and, on the hill, a caliphal fortress, all of which are no more than archaeological remains today.
Ardales’ strategic position saw it change hands frequently during the Middle Ages, alternating between Christian and Moslem control. It was definitively captured by the Christians in 1389, during the reign of John I. Its castle was the scene of the “Pact of Ardales” between King John I y and Yusuf Ben Al Mavi, prince of the Nazari Kingdom in Granada.