History of Majaelrayo

Majaelrayo sits in the wide, green rocky slate sierra amongst rock rose bushes and scrub oak. At some 3500 ft. above sea level, it is surrounded by the peaks of El Ocejón, el Atalaya, el Campachuelo, el Collado de San Pedro to  mention a few.  The entire landscape is dominated by gray slate which makes up the main source of construction material for the houses and endless fences in the area. 

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The region was repopulated at the end of the 11th century by King Alfonso VI. The name “Majaelrayo” is a modernization of “Majada del Rayo” derived from it’s roots as a center for livestock: cows, sheep and goats. The economy was based on that activity and accounts for the enormous structures that formed the village to house said livestock. In the past, the production of charcoal was also a major exportable product. 

In reference to the above comment, the original houses were basically built to shelter animals and a small portion was set aside as living quarters that usually included no more than a kitchen/living area and a communal bedroom. Some of the houses included a large, domed oven off the kitchen area for making bread and roasting meat. 

During the first weekend of September, the village celebrates the annual feast of the Holy Child that includes traditional dances with bright colorful costumes. 


        © Richard Stephens Ely 2019