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Canillas de Aceituno. E. Cabezas
Canillas de Aceituno: A land of silkworms and mulberry trees
THE STORY BEHIND A PLACE NAME

Canillas de Aceituno: A land of silkworms and mulberry trees

Silk fetched high prices in Granada's Albaicín during Spain's Islamic period but the trade fell sharply after the Reconquista

Jennie Rhodes

Friday, 1 December 2023

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The most obvious explanation of the name Canillas de Aceituno, or at least the second part, would be that it comes from 'aceitunas' or olives, which are grown in the Axarquía, where the village is located.

However, historians have come up with another theory linked to the silk industry which was once thriving in the village, as 'Azeytuní' means woven and dyed silk in Arabic.

The most likely explanation for Canillas is 'little canes' or 'reeds', from the word 'canna' meaning canes or reeds in Latin.

Silk from Canillas de Aceituno is said to have fetched high prices in the Albaicín – Granada city's historic centre - during the Islamic period.

The village was home to numerous mulberry trees, whose leaves were used to feed the silkworms that produced the sought-after material.

Mulberry leaves

Casa de los Diezmos or Casa de la Reina Mora, which still stands today in the village, was where the production and sale of mulberry leaves and silkworms in the area was controlled during the Islamic period. The area's silk trade fell sharply after the Reconquista.

The building is an excellent example of Mudéjar architecture, a style; that emerged in the 16th century.

Canillas de Aceituno's current economy is based on the agriculture and the village has been really put on the tourist map since El Saltillo suspension bridge opened in October 2020.

However before then in 2018, Canillas de Aceituno-based children's clothes company Mi Lucena hit the headlines when Princess Charlotte, the second child of the current Prince and Princess and Wales, William and Kate, was photographed wearing a blue knitted cardigan made by them.

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