This town, situated between La Serrania de Ronda, the Antequera Basin and the Guadalhorce Valley, does not belong, geographically-speaking, to any of the aforementioned areas, though the presence in its municipal region of the Guadalhorce-Guadalteba hydrological complex is probably a good enough reason to situate it in the latter.
The city, of Arabic origin, lies at the foot of the rock which bears its name and is typically Andalusian, with its narrow streets and white houses.
It contains a number of places of interest, such as Doña Trinidad Grund Cave, with its interesting pantings; Turon Castle, La Peña Castle and La Molina Bridge. Furthermore, the reservoir area boasts facilities for camping, swimming and spectacular excursions on foot, such as the Caminito del Rey route in Los Gaitanes Pass.
The first human settlements in the municipal region date back to prehistoric times. Near the city 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 region 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.