by Saskia Mier
Alcaracejos is the natural entrance to the Sierra de los Pedroches, with archaeological remains from the Neolithic era, as well as a number of Pre-Roman ceramics. It has about 1,400 inhabitants.
According to Don Miguel Asin Palacios, Alcaracejos would have derived from the word 'alcázar', meaning "cherry" in Arabic. Father Fita identifies it with an old Roman site due to its proximity to two locations with Roman remains (Ladrillar and Cerro del Santo) that could be walled enclosures. After the Re-conquest, it became an annex of Pedroche. At the end of the fifteenth century it acquiredthe title of Villa.
In 1487 Alcaracejos neighbours engaged in a lawsuit to end the Torremilano jurisdiction, which took place the following year. In 1557 a Villas meeting was held in Alcaracejos to formulate and approve an ordinance, which among other things respected the distribution of communal goods (Dehesas de la JaraRuices and Navas del Emperador) taking into account the number of inhabitants of Alcaracejos, Añora, Pedroche, Pozoblanco, Torrecampo, Torremilano and Villanueva de Córdoba.
Later, when Felipe IV stated that these lands belonged to him, representations of those Villas met in 1644 to try to buy them. Later that year the property was acquired after payment of twelve thousand ducats over four years. In 1660, together with the rest of the Villas, it was sold by Felipe IV to the Marquis of Carpio, reverting back to the Crown in 1747. At the beginning of the nineteenth century, one of the seven children of Écija lived within a cave in front of Calatraveño Port, which today is named Cueva de Juna Palomo (Cave of Juan Palomo). In 1814 it was agreed to dissolve the distribution of communal goods.
In the second half of the nineteenth century, a distorted form of local government where the political leader had total control over a rural society exerted its influence to maintain an unalterable and favourable electoral map. The uprising of 1936 was initially controlled by the right wing forces, but succumbed later that same year in Alcaracejos, passing into Republican hands for most of the rest of the war.
THINGS TO SEE
Iglesia de San Andrés
The church was built around the fifteenth century and destroyed in 1936 during Civil War aviation bombing. It was rebuilt around the 1960s on the site occupied by the previous one, under an initiative by the General Directorate of Devastated Regions. Located in Plaza de la Iglesia.
Ermita de la Magdalena
The chapel was built late seventeenth century with the cemetery evolving around it in the eighteenth century. Inside there is a beautiful carving of Santa María Magdalena. Located within the cemetery, on Calle Constitución.
Museo de la Matanza
The Museum is an institution of ethnographic character, with specific content focused on raising pigs, and their slaughter, uses and what this tradition has meant for the subsistence economy of the Comarca de Los Pedroches, and more specifically Alcaracejos. The main focus of the Museum revolves around the traditional slaughter, a festive event that brings together the whole family. Located on Calle Capitan Ferrer Morales.
Monday-Friday, group visits only.
Tel: 957 15 64 23 or 957156009.
Price: 1.00 euro (includes tasting).
Centro Termal Los Pedroches
An old grain warehouse has been turned into a modern and well-equipped Thermal Centre, combining the most advanced thermal and aesthetic techniques with the architectural peculiarities of the grain store built in the 1960s.The renovation has turned this building into the first installation of its kind in Spain. The old cells have been converted into swimming pools, Turkish baths, saunas, etc., and the biomass storage tanks operate the facilities. Located on Calle Pozoblanco.
Tuesday-Sunday, 10:30-14:00hrs and 17:00-21:00hrs.
Tel: 609 40 30 17.
THINGS TO SEE OUTSIDE THE VILLAGE
Ermita de San Sebastián
The chapel situated on Cerro de El Santo offers an idyllic panoramic view of Alcaracejos. According to popular belief the girls had to throw a stone at the bell of the hermitage, making it sound, in order to attract a boyfriend. Located south of Alcaracejos, off the N-502.
In the Alcaracejos surroundings, hiking can be enjoyed thanks to the abundance of water, numerous country houses and recreational areas for nature lovers. Consult the Tourism Office: 957 15 61 02.
Dishes to try when visiting Alcaracejos include cordero (lamb), migas "tostás" (fried bread with sardines and green peppers, albóndigas (meatballs), cocidos (stews), potaje de arroz con bacalao (rice stew with cod), gazpacho, conejo al ajillo (garlic rabbit), habichuelas (brad beans with chorizo), pollo con tomate (chicken with tomato), espinacas esparragás (spinach with egg), potaje de hígado (liver stew), potaje de bacalao (cod stew) and ajoblanco (almond and garlic soup). Sweet treats include gachas, arroz con leche (rice pudding), roscos, obispos, orrejones and perrunas (sweet honey fried pastries).
Cabalgata Reyes Magos
Three Kings procession celebrated on the evening of 5 January.
Celebrated on 20 January.
Día de la Matanza
Day of the pig slaughter celebrated in January.
Celebrated in February.
Romería de la Virgen de Guía
Celebrated on Resurection Sunday.
Quema de los Judas
Celebrated on Easter Saturday.
San Isidro Labrador
Celebrated on 15 May.
Enramada de San Juan y San Pedro
Celebrated on 23 and 24 June.
Feria de Nuestra Señora del Carmen
Celebrated the third weekend of July.
Candelorio de los Quintos y Aguinaldo
Celebrated from 8 December.