Jimena de la Frontera is just that, a frontier town. But the frontier goes back to the Arab presence on the Iberian peninsula, a mere 500 years ago: That’s a Moorish castle that sits above this lovely little village (photo), a reminder of things past. Jimena has been a crossroads for different peoples throughout its history – and still is.
Today’s municipality of Jimena originates in the depths of history. Prehistoric settlements have been found in the area, their principal evidence being the cave paintings at Laja Alta (photo), with others probably yet to be discovered.
Many peoples have chosen to settle here. Iberians, Phoenicians, Greeks, Carthaginians, Romans, Visigoths and Muslims, have all settled for longer or shorter periods. Oba (or Obba), as Roman Jimena was called, was so important that it issued its own coinage. The Islamic town of Xemina became increasingly significant from the III Century, reaching its apogee in the XV Century, when it was a vitally strategic piece of the frontier line between Christians and Nazaríes, as latter-day Moors are called in Spanish.
The castle-fort is a faithful witness of this fact, although its final construction dates from the VIII Century. Recent digs under the Tower of Homage, however, point clearly to its being built on Roman (photo), possibly even Phoenician, foundations.
Towards the end of the XV Century, Jimena was taken conclusively by King Enrique IV. Felipe V gave Jimena its title of Loyal for her role in the War of Spanish Succession, while Alfonso XII proclaimed it a City in 1879. The rural colonies of Buceite and San Martín were established between 1875 and 1879, later to become San Pablo de Buceite and San Martín del Tesorillo respectively and incorporated into the municipality of Jimena de la Frontera. Other villages included are Estación de Jimena, Marchenilla and Montenegral. (There is more about Jimena in Out & About. In development)
Jimena is located only a few kilometres from the southernmost point in Europe, in Tarifa. It is not on the coastline but the sea and the beaches are only 20 minutes away. Jimena is truly a working inland Andalusian village, not a pretty-picture artifact created for tourists.
Access to the village is easy: 1.5 hours from the airports of Málaga or Jerez, 40 minutes from Gibraltar, 2.5 from Seville. Spotless trains stop just below the village and there is a bus service from Algeciras and La Línea. (See schedules separately in Transportation. In development)
Road access to the rest of Andalucía and Spain is excellent. (Check GoogleMaps here. In development)