by Saskia Mier
Bujalance is home to the tallest tower in the province, a 55m watchtower which forms part of the Muslim fortress which is its main tourist attraction. The town has around 7500 inhabitants.
The origin of Bujulance dates to the Copper Age, with Roman remains also found in the area. In the Roman period, the lands of Bujalance, like many others near the Guadalquivir River, were affected by the phenomenon of rural settlement, conditioned by the fertility of the riparian lands and the ease of communication facilitated by the river.
In the tenth century, during the Muslim era, the Castle of Bury al-Hansh (Serpent Tower) was built as a watchtower for access roads leading to the city of Córdoba. It originally had seven towers, of which three remain. In the thirteenth century, the town was already appearing in documentation as Burialhanc or Burjalhance.
In the year 1594, at the end of the reign of Felipe II, Bujalance was able to separate definitively from the jurisdiction of Córdoba by a Royal Decree of June 8, 1594. Subsequently, in 1630, Felipe IV granted the town the title of City in exchange for 80,000 ducats.
Following the War of Independence, the response to the French occupation, bandits periodically abused the town during the first half of the nineteenth century, given its strategic location near the Camino Real to Madrid.
THINGS TO SEE
Castillo de Bujalance
The Bury al-Hans Castle was built in the tenth century, during the caliphate of Abderramán III, and is a clear example of Moorish military architecture in al-Andalus. It has since undergone numerous renovations, the last of which was in 1512, for which Queen Juana I of Castile ordered all the expenses to be paid. Of its original seven towers, only three remain standing today; Mazmorra, Malvavisco and Las Palomas. In 1963, the Ministry of Culture declared it an Historical Monument. Currently, its courtyard is used as a cultural space, hosting the Festival of Theater, Music and Dance (Noches en la Alcazaba) and the Andalusi Dinner during the summer months. The castle is located in Plaza Santa Ana.
Parroquia de San Francisco
This church is considered a jewel of Andalusian Baroque art. Its original construction dates to 1530, although it was burned down in 1936 and rebuilt in 1952. The entrance courtyard is surrounded by chains, a Neo-Baroque chapel, an icon of Christ made by Antonio Castillo Lastrucci and a large Baroque brick tower of 33m in height, built in the eighteenth century. The impressive church can be found on Calle Poeta García Lorca.
Parroquia de Nuestra Señora de la Asunción
This church is also known as the Cathedral of La Campiña, built next to the Castle after the Christian conquest of the city by Fernando III, on the site of the former mosque. The impressive main altarpiece dates from the sixteenth century and is attributed to Guillermo de Orta and Andrés de Castillejo, with paintings by Leonardo Enríquez de Navarra. The tower is 55m high and its silhouette can be seen between the slopes of olive groves from several kilometers away. It is the tallest tower in the province and has a slight inclination, emulating the Tower of Pisa. The church and tower are located on Calle Manuel Mantilla.
Ermita de Nuestro Padre Jesús
This chapel dates from 1580 and is unique for both the technique and shapes used in its construction. Inside it holds images of Jesús Nazareno, Simón Cirineo and the Virgen de los Dolores, all by Antonio Castillo Lastrucci. The chapel also acts as a viewpoint where you can enjoy beautiful views of the surrounding Bujalanceña countryside. The site is on Calle Jardines Jesús.
Ermita de la Vera Cruz
This small, simple chapel dates from 1570 and has undergone several restorations, most recently after the Civil War, when a partial reconstruction was required. Its interior artistic highlights include the San Juan Bautista, linked to the Alonso de Mena Granada circle, by Cordovan sculptor Juan Martínez Cerrillo. The chapel is located on Plaza de Santa Cruz.
Convento de las Carmelitas Descalzas de San José y Santa Teresa
The Convent was founded in 1708 with its own chapel. The main Baroque altarpiece of carved polychrome wood is a beautiful example of Corcovado Rococo, along with several paintings and samples of Cordovan goldsmithing of the seventeenth century. The beautiful collection can be visited on Calle Carmelitas Descalzas.
Iglesia del Hospital de San Juan de Dios
The church of the Hospital of San Juan de Dios was founded in 1542, conserving paintings by Antonio de Contreras. The seventeenth-century claustral courtyard is a particular highlight. The building has now been converted into residence for the elderly, and is located on Calle Eduardo Sotomayor.
Casa Consistorial, Arco y Plaza Mayor (o de los Naranjos)
Recently restored, the Town Hall was built in 1680 during the reign of Charles II and presides over the architectural complex of the Plaza Mayor (popularly known as Plaza de los Naranjos), which after its last restoration in 2006 has recovered the look it had in the 1920s.
Museo Histórico Local "El Hombre y su Medio"
What was the municipal granary in the eighteenth century is today the Historical Museum. It exhibits archaeological pieces, fossils, reconstructions, models, photographs, drawings and stuffed animals curated in a didactic fashion so that visitors get a clear, chronological idea of the cultures that have passed through this area. The museum can be found on Calle 28 Febrero.
Out of hour visits by appointment only.
Tel: 957 17 12 89
The area around the village is perfect for outdoor activities such as hiking, with cattle routes such as Cañete de las Torres and Sendero de las Avutardas.
Local crafts still produced in Bujalance are based around olive wood, which is the main industry in the region. Ceramics and rush weaving are also very popular.
The local gastronomy is heavily influenced by the town's most famous product, olive oil, and consists of typical dishes such as patatas rellenas (potatoes stuffed with meat), cholondros (pork loin in almond sauce), joyo (bread served with olive oil, olives and broad beans or cod), cordero a la miel (honey lamb), flamenquines de jamón serrano (pork escalopes stuffed with jamón serrano), cocido (chickpea stew), gazpacho and ensalada de naranja, bacalao, aceitunas y aceite de olive (orange salad with cod, olives and olive oil dressing). Sweet treats include pestiños, lazos, caracolillos (sweet pastries), roscos de naranja (orange biscuits), cuajados de Bujalance (curd) and almendrados bujalanceños (almond biscuits).
Cabalgata Reyes Magos
Three Kings procession celebrated on the evening of 5 January.
Día de la Candelaría
Celebrated the 2 February
Celebrated in February.
A celebration to mark the end of the olive harvest.
Holy Week (dates vary each year).
Fiesta del Joyo con Bacalao
Celebrated the 1 May.
San Isidro Labrador
Celebrated on 15 May.
Verbena de San Pedro
Celebrated the 29 June.
Verbena de la Magdalena
Celebrated the 22 July.
Verbena de Santiago
Celebrated on 25 July.
Verbena de San Roque
Celebrated the 16 August.
Celebrated the 11-15 September, granted by Royal Decree in 1638.
Festividad de la Satísma Virgen de la Medalla Milagrosa
Celebrated the 27 November.
Día de la Inmaculada del Voto
Celebrated the 8 Deciembre.
The neighbouring villages to Bujalance are Cañete de las Torres, Prágdena, Villa del Río and Montoro.