Cultural tradition in the municipality of Cáñar is mainly made up of the various aspects of its diverse physical heritage, its folklore, its delicious typical cuisine and its popular fiestas.
Among the delicious dishes which are cooked in Cáñar, you will find puchero de hinojos, which is an excellent combination of Moorish cuisine and the Castilian traditions brought by the settlers who repopulated the area. This dish is a fennel stew made with kidney beans, pork, morcilla (similar to black pudding), potatoes, and the wild fennel which gives it its name. Another typical dish is migas (fried breadcrumbs), served with wild leaves such as campion, watercress and sorrel. You can also try the exquisite casseroles known locally as cazuelas, which have been eaten since time immemorial in this delightful place and are made from the game which has traditionally been hunted in the village, such as rabbit, hare and partridge. This game is also delicious served alongside the excellent vegetable produce which is grown in the district, in dishes such as fritada which is made from peppers, garlic, tomatoes and onion, and to which the aforementioned game, cod, morcilla (black pudding) or longaniza (spicy sausage) is added. Two very characteristic soups from this region are ajo blanco and sopa de almendras, made from garlic and almonds respectively. You can also find excellent meat in Cáñar, including lamb, veal, and goat kid. There are various typical sweet delicacies, such as roscos (ring-shaped pastries), and pestiños and buñuelos (sweet pastries fried in olive oil). Another very traditional dessert is potaje de castañas, a very tasty pudding made from chestnuts, and leche frita (fried custard), amongst others… And of course we must not forget the local wines.
The origins of the village are thought to be Roman, as there is a site from that period on the hill known as Cerro Romano. In the early stages of Muslim occupation Cáñar was called by the name of Gebel, meaning “the mountainous place”. When the Alpujarra was divided into administrative districts, Cáñar was included in the Taha of Órgiva.
Following the conquest of Granada when the village fell into the hands of the Christians, the population gradually began to be subjected to a pressure which eventually became intolerable.
This led to the outbreak of the insurrection, led by Abén Humeya. The uprising developed into a widespread revolt of the Moors throughout the entire Kingdom of Granada against Philip II. In the Alquería de El Fex, in the settlement of Pueblo Alto, Abén Farax, one of the lieutenants of Abén Humeya, was taken prisoner, and in revenge Abén Humeya totally destroyed this hamlet. Internal conflict between the Moriscos – which led to the death of Abén Humeya – enabled John of Austria to crush the rebellion quickly. After the existing population had been banished, Cáñar was repopulated by Christian colonists from other places within the Kingdom. Philip II granted Cáñar the title of Villa (royal borough) for having taken Abén Farax prisoner, and awarded it an annual stipend of 180 gold pieces. The deserted village of Bargas was destroyed by floods in the 19th century.