Originally a fortified medieval hill-town, Velez Rubio was abandoned in the 15th Century and its population was moved eastwards, closer to fields and sources of water.
Outstanding among its many churches and convent buildings is the splendid baroque church of La Encarnacion, the province’s biggest church. Built in the 18th Century its magnificent features include square towers, topped by octagonal belfries, on either side of a lavishly decorated doorway. Also on a grand scale is the unpainted carved wooden altarpiece, and in the choir, the organ, built in 1770 is still in use.
The Royal Hospital (1765) is now home to the Conservatory of Music and Tourist Office, and since 1995, to the Museum displaying artefacts from prehistoric to Moorish times, including a section on ancient cave paintings.
The caves themselves (Cueva de los Letreros) are 4km. from the town and have fresh-looking red and brown drawings (dated 4,000 B.C.) of human figures and animals, and indalos, though these are not well-preserved. (A key to the site is available at the Almacen del Trigo information office in the neighbouring town of Velez Blanco). Better preserved paintings can be seen at La Cueva de Gabar to the north of the town but these can only be explored with a guide.
The town offers cafes, bars and restaurants. On Saturdays, since 1804, a market spreads over the four main streets of the town.
The two towns are separated by a 6km. stretch of uneven land known as Ribera de los Molinos (Plain of the Mills) where 22 water-mills provide power for flour and fulling mills.