An obligatory stopping place, the Poniente Granadino is located in the Western-most part of the Province of Granada, in a large basin stretching from North to South, and delimited by the mountains towards Cordoba and Jaen, and the Alhama, Tejada and Almijara Sierras towards Malaga. The ancient presence of man in these lands has contributed, to the natural value of the surroundings, a historical-cultural value which is palpable as soon as one arrives in this land. Examples such as the megalitic necropoli of Loja and Montefrio or the rock paintings of Moclin give clear evidence of human settlement since the Lower Palaeolithic. From that time on, the occupation of the territory has been constant, as is shown by the archaeological remains from Sierra Martilla, the Peña de los Gitanos, and Tozar.
One historical period, however, stands out, that of the Muslim occupation, which, as well as leaving us individual examples, has given us the present image of the territory: a collection of white pueblos built on high lands, whose labyrinthine urban structure is arranged around a castle or alcazaba. Visits to towns such as Alhama, Loja, Montefrio or Moclin are extremely interesting, and the visitors can enjoy their beauty and charm. The countrryside did not remain free of Islamic influence either, and today it remains dotted with a collection of watch towers and atalayas, which formed part of the defensive system which made up the last frontier of al-Andalus.
With the Christian reconquest, a new region, language and art, both Renaissance, and even Gothic, would arrive, and would be imposed on the conquered, as demonstrated by the churches of Encarnacion in Alhama, San Gabriel in Loja, Encarnación in Illora, Villa in Montefrio, and Encarnacion in Moclin. These, in their interiors, testify to the impact of the l7th aud l8th centuries, in which the Catholic Faith was imposed, resulting in great works inside the churches.
The l9th century and the tendencies brought by the Enlightenment, implied a new change for the Poniente: urban planning and aesthetics passed throngh the crucible of reason and logic. The opportunity for rebuilding Arenas del Rey would allow their display: a grid-shaped urban plan, with housing adapted to the ideas of hygiene and comfort. From then onwards, the Poniente Granadino has not ceased to change, evolving, and improving itself to the rhythm of time, but never giving up an eminently rural environment whieh, as can be seen by a stroll through its fields, has adapted to perfection.