Ojén is situated inland 10 kilometres from Marbella and just south of the smaller village called Monda. Ojén has a population of around 2000, natives known locally as 'Ojenetos'. Ojén is 309 metres above see level close the the Alpujata mountains.
Ojén is another traditional Andalucian pueblo blanco, chosen for its defensible position. Its original name was 'Hoxan' which means 'Rough Place' and it is uncertain as to why it was given this title since the location of the town bears little or no resemblance to its name. It is known that the settlement was established very early on as a castle and Abderraman III fought a battle here in the 10th century against the Caliphate from the castle walls.
After their victory the Caliph decided that a mosque would be built in its place. The castle and existing locality were then destroyed during the Moorish uprising in 1569, although many of the houses survived.
The modern town still resembles an Arab settlement with its flat roofs and cuboid dwellings. Most of the houses are whitewashed from top to bottom and are positioned on many different levels of the mountain slopes. Some stones from the ruins of the old castle still exist on top of the hill, while other monuments in the town include the parish church, which was built on the site of the old mosque and is dedicated to Nuestra Senora de la Encarnacion.
Being a mountainous region the most common sports of the area include paragliding, trekking and climbing. The local gastronomy includes a lot of game, such as rabbit and wild birds, which find their way into sauces, pies and stews. Rice is also a popular staple, its popularity dating back to the time of the Arab occupation. During Semana Santa chestnut soup is popular, as it is in other villages such as Mijas where they serve roasted chestnuts. The speciality of the town and one of its most important local products is Ojén aguardiente or anís. This particularly potent alcoholic beverage, which tastes of very sweet aniseed and liquorice, is often drunk in a shot glass at breakfast time. The best places to eat in Ojén are near the sanctuary of El Refugio del Juanar, which is close to the main part of the village.
If you plan to be in the village during fiesta time then the dates of the town's most important festivals are in October, on May 12th, and on February 28th. Ojén is by no means the most picturesque of the Andalucian pueblos blancos but it is worth a quick visit if you are passing. Ojén is located just outside Marbella on the Carretera to Ojén, which is a very scenic mountain road.