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The Tarifa’s History

The historical and cultural part of Tarifa is, of course, another great tourist attraction in the area, which is concentrated in the old down town of Tarifa itself, as well as the impressive Roman ruins of Baelo Claudia, located in the Bolonia cove. They have a wonderful Center of Interpretation and free or guided tours inside the ruins, and sometimes even theatrical and musical shows within the Roman amphitheater.

The Romans chose our Bolonia, their Baelo Claudia, for its beauty, and for being a protected bay, located right at the entrance of the Mediterranean Sea.

Baelo Claudia was easily accessible by the sea, so that Roman ships loaded the GARUM, the favorite sauce of the Romans. Sauce made from salted fish, which was made in this settlement and distributed by the immense Roman Empire across the Mediterranean Sea.

Tarifa: The southernmost city in Europe, was founded by the Romans in the first century, however and although Phoenicians, Greeks and Carthaginians settled on the island of Las Palomas. Most of the remains we found in the old town, tell us the story of a town with narrow streets, to protect themselves from the east wind, predominant in the area and the endless fights between Moors and Christians, in the 800 years of Muslim occupation of the Iberian Peninsula, which have plagued with their vestiges the city of Tarifa.

The city receives its name from Tarif Ibn Malluk , Berber chief who accompanied Tarik Ben Zeyad , Arab leader who defeated Don Rodrigo in the battle of La Janda (711).

The city was taken by the Muslims in 1292 by Sancho IV of Castilla called El Bravo. In 1294 the Infante Don Juan, brother of King Sancho, offered his services to King Mohamed second of Granada to betrayed the Castilian crown, and recover the city Tarifa for the Moors.

Becoming impossible the assault of the castle, the Infante resorted the trick of threatening to Guzmán, if it did not render the place, with killing its son, who previously had been kidnapped. It was famous the phrase of answer of Guzmán before this threat: "if you do not have a knife to kill him, there goes mine". For the defense of this city, Alonso Pérez de Guzmán would receive the nickname of “El Bueno”.

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