Ubrique is a picturesque pueblo blanco (white town) in the Serrania de Ronda Mountains of Cadiz province. Spectacularly situated in front of the crag of the Cruz de Tajo, the town follows the valley of the Rio Ubrique. This beautiful and tranquil town has a long, interesting history which stretches back over many epochs and empires. For over a century, Ubrique has been world-renowned for its leather industry supplying the likes of Loewe, Louis Vuitton and Gucci.
Today, the town’s national fame also comes from its most celebrated persona, the flamboyant retired bullfighter, Jesulín de Ubrique. His finca, Ambiciones, can be seen from the A373, on the left heading south from Prado del Rey towards El Bosque. Jesulin remains the town’s favourite son.
Attractions in Ubrique include the bullring, appropriately enough in Avenida de Jesulin de Ubrique; there’s also a bullfighting museum, Museo Taurino Jesulin de Ubrique, and a peña cultural named after the bullfighter. Also of interest are the Baroque Public Fountain and the Al-Andalus fountain of Los Nueve Caños (Fountain of Nine Pipes).
The town in situated where the Natural Parks of Grazalema and Los Alcornocales Natural Park meet, so you can enjoy superb hiking in the surrounding area. Nearby is the Roman site of Ocuri, a rare example of an archaeological columbarium (a place for storing funerary urns). Also close to the town is the Castillo de Fatima, the remains of a Moorish castle. Most restaurants and cafes are located on and around the main drag, Avenida Dr Solis Pascual.
Celebrating the town’s excellent quality leather, as used by top fashion houses, is the Museo de la Piel (Leather Museum) in Avenida Herrera Oria, housed in a restored 17th-century Baroque monastery built on the orders of the Duke of Arcos, Rodrigo Ponce de Leon. During the War of Independence, French troops burned the church, which was rebuilt but burned during the Civil War in 1936. It has since been reconstructed for a second time, and today is the site of this museum celebrating Ubrique’s most famous industry.
This museum has exhibits of old leather working machinery and an art gallery with tooled leather works of art hung as paintings, next to a beautiful patio on the ground floor of the building. On the second floor of the building is a beautiful room with a high vaulted ceiling, where exhibits show how leather is worked and made into bags, with beautiful examples of leather goods.
The convent was started in 1660 on the orders of Rodrigo Ponce del Leon, Duke of Arcos, and finished in 1670 under the direction of Fray Pedro de Andujar. The church has one nave with a vaulted ceiling and a hemispherical cupola at the presbytery. The main altar has the image of Nuestra Señora de Remedios, the patron saint of Ubrique, created in the 17th century. This image is venerated by Ubriqueños. On either side are the images of San Rafael Arcangel and Santa Teresa de Jesus. On the upper part of the retablo is the image of Christ Resurrected and large paintings of San Miguel Arcangel and La Piedad, both dating from the 18th century. The façade has three arches at the bottom. On the top there is a triangular pediment with a small round window. The atrium has a large ceramic retablo which has the images of Beato Diego Jose de Cadiz and the image of Nuestro Padre Jesus del Gran Poder of Seville.
The patron saint of Ubrique is Nuestra Señora de Remedios and the town’s feria is held on the second weekend in September, with other notable events including Carnaval, ending with the Entierro (Burial) of the Patacabra, a traditional leather-working tool, on Sunday. Another leather-themed fiesta is The Romeria of Santo Isidro is on the last Sunday in May.