Comarca de Subbética - Carcabuey

Traditional streets in Carcabuey. © Michelle Chaplow
Traditional streets in Carcabuey.

If you’re looking for a village filled with legend, then Carcabuey is just the place you’re looking for. Just like the village itself, the mysteries of this town revolve around the castle.

The castle of Carcabuey was built in medieval times and houses the hermitage of the Virgen of María Santísima del Castillo de Carcabuey. When you visit this hermitage notice the paraphernalia hanging about on the walls, crutches and other items that have been cast off by those who no longer need them.Yes, this virgin is believed to have performed numerous miracles and she is revered by the local community.

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The castle itself has gone down in history for a battle between King Alfonso X and his rival Sancho. As the story goes, the King had ordered everyone to stay inside the castle no matter what. His rival knew that in order to emerge victorious over the local population he needed to get the army out onto open ground. He learned that the governer’s daughter had a “secret” lover and therefore devised a plan to lure her away from the castle to meet her true love and escape together. In this way, he was sure the governer would call out the troops to go after the girl and bring her back.

The governer, a man named Pero Nuño Tello, was committed to total loyalty to his king. He therefore refused to send out the troops thus losing his daughter forever as she fled with her lover.

Interestingly, when Sancho later became King, he was sorry for the injury he had caused to the governer and he called Pero to his court to make amends. However, he was only able to meet with Pero’s dead body as the governer committed suicide in order to present the King with the only loyal part of himself (his dead body) he could offer. His spirit, as the legend goes, would never bow to Sancho.

So, there, in the stories of the Virgin María Santísima and Pero Nuño’s tragedy we have the legends of Carcabuey.

María Santísima de Carcabuey. © Michelle Chaplow
María Santísima de Carcabuey

Sights to See

Carcabuey is a delightful village with pretty streets and fabulous views as it is set on a hill. The castle crowns the village on the hilltop and you can even drive right up to it, if you’re brave enough.

In addition to the castle with its hermitage lodged inside, the town itself is praised for providing some of the best examples of Cordoban-style architecture. To see this for yourself, visit the Nuestra Señora de la Asunción Church, the Calvario and Aurora hermitages.

Outside the village there are archeological sites dating back to paleolithic times and also remains from Roman and Moorish settlement. You’ll also find that the area surrounding this town offers many opportunities to enjoy trekking (with fabulous views) and other outdoor activities.

Shopping

As is typical of so many mountain villages in Andalucia, traditional arts and crafts centres on products made from wood, esparto grass and other reeds. Look for carved items and woven mats and baskets if you’d like to acquire something “Made in Carcabuey”.

Gastronomy

Expect typical mountain fare –  hearty, homemade dishes. Vegetarians beware: pork is a main ingredients in many local recipes and along with pork, the products of the yearly “matanza” (pig slaughter), which include blood sausages, cured sausages and various other forms of cured pork.

Fiestas

On Corpus Christi the residents of Carcabuey deck out the town’s streets with coloured mats. In August the Virgen de la Aurora is honoured. Holy Week is celebrated with a special procession on Holy Friday.