Traditional streets in Carcabuey © Michelle Chaplow
Traditional streets in Carcabuey


Carcabuey is a village filled with legend, with numerous mysteries revolving around the castle in particular. It has around 2500 inhabitants.


The origin of Carcabuey dates to between 9,000 and 6,000 BC. Remains of orientalizing influence during the Age of Metals have been unearthed in Carcabuey, which demonstrates that although this area has no mineral deposits, there was a culture of merchandise in keeping with other areas at the time.

During the Roman occupation, Carcabuey was one of the three most important municipalities in this region, known as Ipolcobulcula. The Middle Ages, particularly the years between between the fifth and fifteenth centuries, were characterized by the continuous arrival of people. The earliest Christian presence is not easily identified because historical sources only mention this population a long time after its conquest. It was conquered by Alfonso XI in the year 1341, and it is likely that when Fernando III conquered the population of Priego, he also seized control of Carcabuey. The Christian period ended with the establishment of the Lordship of Carcabuey in favour of Ruy Díaz de Berrio.

In the fifteenth century, Fernández de Córdoba initiated a period of great importance for the town thanks to the concern expressed by the owner of the Marquesado de Priego. Noble families enjoyed numerous privileges in the town and their heraldic emblems are still conserved in various locations today.


The medieval castle of Carcabuey was the object of incursions by Ibn Hafsun at the end of the Emirate, being dominated and demolished by the emir Add-Allah in 892. Conquered by Fernando III, it was rebuilt according to the design of other fortifications, such as those in Fuengirola or Iznájar. From the mid-thirteenth century, it belonged to the Order of Calatrava, until, in 1333, it was conquered by Muhammad IV of Granada and reconquered and modified shortly after by Alfonso XI. It was integrated into the Señorío de Aguilar after numerous donations. The fortress has five towers distributed along the wall, of which two are square and three circular. Inside the walled enclosure, the keep remains well-preserved. In the upper part of the courtyard sits the eighteenth-century chapel, Ermita de Nuestra Señora del Castillo. The castle itself has gone down in history for the battle between King Alfonso X and his rival, Sancho. According to legend, the King had ordered everyone not to leave the castle under any circumstances. His rival knew that, in order to emerge victorious over the local population, he needed to flush the army out onto open ground. He learned that the Governor'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. He was sure that the Governor would call out the troops to go after the girl and return her. The Governor, Pero Nuño Tello, was committed to total loyalty to his King and 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 Governor and called Pero to his court to make amends. However, he was only able to meet with Pero's dead body as the Governor committed suicide, feeling that his dead body was the only loyal part of himself that he could present to the new king. His spirit, as the legend goes, would never bow to Sancho. The castle which oversaw this fascinating legend is located on Calle Virgen.

Ermita de Nuestra Señora del Castillo
It is suggested that this chapel was built during the Middle Ages. In the eighteenth century, the chapel suffered a strong intervention that gave it its popular Baroque imprint. In 1952, following damage during the earthquake of May 19, 1951, it was regenerated by the Town Hall. When you visit this hermitage, note the paraphernalia hanging about on the walls, such as crutches and other items that have been cast off by those who no longer need them. This chapel's virgin is believed to have performed numerous miracles, and she is revered by the local community. The chapel is located inside the Castillo.

El Aljibe
Evidence implies that there were two cisterns; one inside the fortress and the other in the outer enclosure of the castle. Today, there is only one cistern to collect the water in Cerro del Castillo, and no remains of the interior cistern. It is a large rectangular deposit excavated in the hill, of which only its half-barrel vault roof protrudes, measuring approximately 11.15m in length, 4.60m in width and 6.60m in depth. The storage capacity for water is therefore approximately 250m³. The extraction of the water was originally undertaken through three openings in the shape of a truncated pyramid, which still exist in the vault.

According to excavations, the cistern is probably a Christian construction erected by the Order of Calatrava, once Fernando III had ceded the territory. It can be found within the Castillo.

Parroquia de Nuestra Señora de la Asunción
This church dates to the fourteenth century, and underwent various restorations during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Situated in an elevated position, it is visible from most of the Carcabuey, making it a hallmark of the village. Located on Calle Virgen.

Ermita de Santa Ana
This small chapel was built in 1583, according to a record of the license for its construction. The wooden altarpiece, by an unknown designer, was made in 1770, according to a dated inscription on its bench. The highlight is the image of the Virgin of the Aurora, representing Mary sat on a throne of clouds adorned with cherub heads. The chapel is situated on Calle Baja de Santa Ana.

Ermita de San Marcos
This chapel was built in the last years of the sixteenth century. On October 16, 1671 the School of Christ was created under the guidance of Nuestra Señora y San Felipe Neri, a congregation created by Andrés Peralbo. In 1834 the Congregation of San Felipe Neri was exclaustrated. Located on Calle San Marcos.

Templete Virgen de las Angustias
This is an altar under the invocation of Nuestra Señora de las Angustias, unique in the province of Córdoba for its artistic value and the quality of its materials. It is also unusual in having no owner, belonging to neither the Town Hall nor the Church. It was built by the former owner of the adjoining house, and after the death of the owner, it was the neighbours who were responsible for the maintenance and periodic cleaning of the monument, which can be spotted on Calle Obispo Pérez Muñoz.


Outside the village there are archeological sites dating back to Paleolithic times and also remains from Roman and Moorish settlements. Visitors will also find that the area surrounding this town offers many opportunities to enjoy trekking, with fabulous views, and other outdoor activities. Local walking routes include Puerto Escaño (6kms), Carril de Campanillas (4kms), Castillo-Calvario (3kms) and Los Pollos (8kms).


As is typical of many mountain villages in Andalusia, traditional arts and crafts centre around products made from wood and esparto grass and other reeds. Look out for carved items and woven mats and baskets if you'd like to acquire something "Made in Carcabuey".


Visitors should expect typical mountain cuisine in the form of hearty, homemade dishes. Vegetarians beware: pork is the main ingredient in many local recipes, along with the by-products of the yearly matanza (pig slaughter), which include blood sausages, cured sausages and various other forms of cured pork. Try other dishes such as potaje de habichuelas (bean stew), revuelto de patatas (scrambled eggs with potato) and naranja en aceite (orange in olive oil).

Festivals in carcabuey

Festivals that are popular in carcabuey are Cabalgata Reyes Magos, Día de Andalucía, Carnaval, Fiestas Patronales Virgen del Castillo, Corpus Christi, and Día de las Candelas. More>


The neighbouring villages to Carcabuey are Priego de Córdoba, Rute and Lucena.