LUCAINENA DE LAS TORRES
by Saskia Mier
Lucainena de las Torres, more popularly known as Lucainena, has the privilege of lying adjacent to one of the most magnificent protected areas in Andalucía, the Parque Natural Sierra de Alhamilla. It has about 540 inhabitants.
Madoz named the village ‘Lucainena de las Siete Torres’, originating from the Iberian or Hispano-Roman era, from the villa of the Roman patrician Lucainus. During the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, the town’s name appears recorded as Locayna, La Caynera or Alocainona. The name ‘de las Torres’ refers to the castle that defended and surrounded Lucainena in the Middle Ages. It was always a strategic-defensive site monitoring the mountain pass between the coastal regions and further inland.
During the Al-Andalus period, it belonged to the so-called Tierra de Níjar, according to Tapia Garrido. With the Christian conquest, the Catholic Monarchs ceded these lands to Don Enrique Enríquez. This manor, also called the Estado de Tahal, was made up of thirteen places in the Sierra de Los Filabres and Lucainena.
With the Moorish rebellions (1568-1570), the town was depopulated and later repopulated from outside the Kingdom of Granada as ordered by the Pragmatic of Felipe II. In the seventeenth century, the town passed to the Marquis of Aguilafuente by marriage or sale.
The nineteenth century was an important time for Lucainena, with the abolition of the manors in 1835, after which the town obtained legal-administrative independence and saw economic growth in the wake of the mining boom. In 1849, it had 1,205 inhabitants, which rose to around 2,455 inhabitants by 1900.
THINGS TO SEE
Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de Montesión
The church dates back to 1505 and was built on the site of a former mosque. Around the time of the Moorish rebellion in the same century, the area was invaded by the pirate Omar- Al Askenn, who looted the population in 1566. During the seventeenth century, the new church was erected, and although it was built under the invocation of Santa María, the true patron is Nuestra Señora la Virgen de Monte-Sión. Looking at its architecture, facade and exterior decoration, we might consider it to be out of tune with its time. Whilst other churches in the area reflect the Baroque fashion of the time, this one is rather austere, we might even say fortified. It should be noted that, since 2004, several conservation and adaptation works have been carried out both on the outside and inside. Located on Calle el Viento.
Hornos de Calcinación
The Calcination Furnaces were recently recovered and depict a faithful reflection of the mining past of Lucainena de las Torres. After extraction, the ore was treated in these furnaces, before subsequent transport via rail. This rail route has today been converted into a Vía Verde leading to the port of Agua Amarga (Carbonera). Located in Paraje Minero.
This Vía Verde was developed in 2009, taking advantage of the route of the old mining train between Lucainena de las Torres and Agua Amarga. Between 1896 and 1931, this railway transported a total of 3,795,569 tons of ore. This splendor was extinguished with the Civil War and the subsequent dismantling of the road. In 1942, the activity in the mines ceased completely, and the steamship “Bartolo” loaded for the last time in Agua Amarga. Later, the mining facilities and the railway were dismantled; the locomotives, the bridges, and the rails were cut apart and transported to Almería, where they would embark to continue their work elsewhere. The route runs for 5km and is suitable for those on foot, bicycle or even on horseback, from the foothills of Sierra Alhamilla through an arid landscape to the El Saltador farmhouse. Located on Calle Bilbao.
When visiting Lucainena, one must try local dishes such as gurullos de conejo (pasta stew with rabbit), pelotas de maiz (corn meatballs), potaje de calabazas (pumpkin stew), potaje de trigo (wheat stew), caldo de pescado (fish stew), choto al ajillo (garlic goat), sopa de ajo (garlic soup) and caldo colorao (fish soup). Sweet treats include bollos de nata (cream cakes), empanadillas (sweet filled pastries) and cuajao de almendras (almond flan).
Popular festivals in Lucainena de las Torres are the Fiestas de San Sebastián, Feria de la Virgen del Monte Sión and Romería de Santiago. More>
The tourist office in Lucainena de las Torres is located in the town hall. More>