by Saskia Mier
Encinas Reales has a beautiful Neoclassical temple dedicated to La Advocación de La Expectación, and from nearby Vadofresno, one can see amazing views over the River Genil. In line with its name, this town was once surrounded by encinas (holm oaks) and, according to legend, was renamed "Encinas Reales" because Queen Isabel La Católica rested under the shade of these trees on one of her trips. It has around 2300 inhabitants.
Encinas Reales is a young municipality that was formed in 1836, when it was emancipated from Lucena. However, the site itself originates from the seventeenth century, and Roman remains have been found in Las Mersillas, indicating much earlier settlement.
The construction of houses began around the beginning of the seventeenth century, with farmers from Lucena being the first inhabitants of Encinas Reales. These farmers first came to the area to work the fields of the Dukes of Medinaceli, so that the inhabitants of the new village did not have to go to Lucena to comply with the Santa Madre Iglesia.
Building works in the town must have been very slow, since they were not completed until 1814, almost two centuries after they started. The town's early name was Encinas Ralas ('thin' holm oaks), which suggests that the aforementioned trees were very sparse. The reason for this dispersity was the continuous clearing of oak during the wars of the Christians against the Moors of the Kingdom of Granada.
THINGS TO SEE
Iglesia Parroquial de Nuestra Señora de la Expectación
This current chapel was built over a previous one, about which there is sparse documentation, such as a recorded visit by the Bishop Don Cristobal de Lovera in 1628, the writing of the first inventory of goods in 1638 and parish books from the mid-seventeenth century. The current chapel was built under the auspices of the Ducal House of Medinaceli and was finished in 1814, except for the dressing of some altars that was carried out by local Brotherhoods in the following years. It is dedicated to La Advocación de La Expectación, and is located in La Plazuela.
THINGS TO SEE OUTSIDE THE VILLAGE
Ermita del Calvario
A chapel had existed on this site since the seventeenth century, but its very low attendance and ruinous physical state prevented it from lasting long. It was eventually replaced by the current building, west of Encinas Reales, off the N-331.
Ermita de Nuestra Señora de Belén
This chapel was built by the Duke of Medinaceli in 1705 and blessed on December 12, 1705, to be kept under the invocation of Nuestra Señora de Belén. After several reformations, the residents of Vadofresno now enjoy a beautiful eighteenth century chapel, east of Encinas Reales.
For nature lovers, the Arroyo del Pilar is an ideal place to visit, and perhaps even do a spot of fishing.
Crafts produced in Encina Reales include knitting and embroidery. Many products are still produced using traditional embroidery methods.
Visitors to the town should try local dishes such as albóndigas de bacalao (cod meatballs), gallina en pepitoria (stewed chicken), salmorejo (also known as porra) and sopa de maimones (soup made with pork, bread and garlic). Sweets include flores de leche (flower pastries), pastelitos de gloria (marzipan and egg yolk pastries) and empanadillas de sidra (angel hair pasties).
Festivals in Encinas Reales
Festivals that are popular in Encinas Reales are Cabalgata Reyes Magos, Semana Santa, Carnaval, and Fiestas de San Miguel. More>