by Saskia Mier
Fuente Tójar preserves an ancestral tradition that is celebrated during its Feria Real de San Isidro Labrador. The event features a troupe of famous dancers, made up of eight men dressed in multicoloured costumes that dance to the sound of their own instruments. The village has around 700 inhabitants.
The origins of Fuente Tójar date to ancient times, with human presence indicated by the town's most important archaeological site; the remains of an Iberian-Roman city. Other highlights include a cistern and large pool in the area known as Los Corralones. Discovered in 1780, its interior later served as a refuge during the Civil War of 1936-1939.
The history of Fuente-Tójar is defined by oil, the dancers of San Isidro and the hills of La Mesa and Las Cabezas. Here, prehistoric substrates suggest ancient Iberian-Roman municipalities like Sucaelo and Iliturgicola, though this latter town does not appear in many historical sources.
In 1341, Alfonso XI integrated Fuente Tójar into the Abbey of Alcalá la Real.
THINGS TO SEE
Iglesia de Nuestra Señora del Rosario
The Baroque church dates to 1778, with interior altarpieces and idiosyncratic images such as San Isidro, a work by Pedrajas. The church is historically very poor, and its property consists only of the church itself, its contents, the priest's house and the garden. The humble church is located in CI Positillo.
Ermita de Calvario
The creation and origin of this chapel derives from the promise made by a soldier on the battlefront of the Civil War of 1936-1939. After the war and faithful to his promise, the soldier performed the necessary procedures before the Priest of Fuente Tójar and received authorisation for the chapel's construction. The soldier, born in Fuente Tójar, raised funds among his neighbours, appointing Antonio Ortega González as the treasurer of these assets. Apart from a required bricklayer, almost all the work was carried out by soldiers of the Cuerpo de Infantería de Córdoba. The works lasted some months. Many years later, the beautiful doors of the hermitage deteriorated until they completely disappeared, the roof caved in and only the solitary walls remained, forming a site of ruin. For some years the chapel served as a bar area during theLivestock Fair, and can still be seen at the end of Calle Calvario.
Museo Histórico Municipal
This archaeological museum grew from artistic programmes in the town in the early 1970s. The first museo graphic activity was an exhibition in 1972 at the Headquarters of the Local Agrarian Chamber, featuring pieces collected at the archaeological sites in the municipality. Many pieces found during agricultural work were also donated to the museum. The recovery of the town's archaeological heritage culminated on February 20, 1985 when the Municipal Plenary formally founded the Municipal Historical Museum. After a series of renovations, the museum now has three exhibition halls, presenting a journey through the history of Fuente-Tójar, from its first settlers to the present day. Located on Calle Nueva.
Visits by appointment only
Price: Free Entrance
Tel: 957 55 6028
THINGS TO SEE OUTSIDE THE VILLAGE
Ermita De San José De La Mesa
This chapel was built in 1974 thanks to a young teacher, Fernando Leiva Briones, who together with Antonio Sánchez Pimentel (Secretary of the Brotherhood of Farmers) and Don Antonio Aranda (Head Priest of the Church of Fuente Tójar) performed the necessary procedures to allow its construction. Money was raised amongst the town and young volunteers put themselves forward to assist the building process. It was built on the northern slope of the hill of La Mesa, overlooking Fuente Tójar and Alcaudete, which can be seen in the distance. The land was donated by Agustín Ortigoso. The chapel only has one room, with an image of San José, acquired after its inauguration by Priest Don Antonio Aranda. Since 1974, the traditional "merendona" has been held here on the day of San José, when all the villagers come together to spend the day eating and drinking amongst their natural surroundings. Welcoming this custom, Priest Don Antonio Aranda thought of organizing a Brotherhood named "The Romeros of San José de la Mesa", so that each year the day can be marked with a pilgrimage. The chapel is located west of Fuente Tójar, down a track which leads off the CO-7205.
Fuente Tójar offers an easy hiking route for visitors to explore the area, known as Ruta Los Barrancos- Fuente Tójar. The route leads east of Fuente Tójar, beginning at the Town Hall (on Calle Castille de Campo) and travelling 6.4km, past Cortijo del Mellizo, Cortijo del Mosquito and Cerro de las Cabezas to its final destination of Aldea de Todosaires. The route takes approximately two hours to complete.
Cerro de las Cabezas
Cerro de las Cabezas is an archaeological site located next to Fuente Tójar. It was the location of an Iberian-Roman town, called Iliturgicola, which acted as the political and socio-economic centre of the area during the Protohistoric and Roman eras. In the 1780s some colossal marble statues were found, which had been mutilated and had heads and arms missing. Cinerary urns,fragments of clay with precious engravings and numerous other objects have also been found.40 years ago, the villagers of Fuente Tójar found an extremely rare key; it was a quarter of a metre long and consisted of a gold bow with silver and iron trimmings.
Cerro La Mesa
This areas shows further evidence of prehistoric sites. There are carved limestone rocks that have been identified as remains of an indigenous village dedicated to farming or herding. Behind Cerro La Mesa, next to the village of El Cañuelo, there is a water source called de la salud (of health) because its mineral water is thought to have healing properties. In 1812, a farmer who was cultivating land next to the water source found a wall; with growing curiosity, the farmer continued to dig and discovered a well-constructed stone pond or bath, equipped with a conduct to empty the water.
This view point was built in 1996, and from this spot visitors can contemplate the beauty of the subbética in all its glory. It is a strategic point equipped with stone tables and benches, ideal for picnics, and is situated on Calle Canteruela.
When visiting Fuente Tójar, try their local dishes such as sopa de habas con mayonesa (broad bean soup with mayonnaise), sopa de albóndigas (meatball soup), salmorejo, potaje con bacalao (cod stew), mojetes (tomato, onion, egg and tuna salad), espárragos (asparagus), sopa demaimones (soup made with pork, bread and garlic), sopa de tomate (tomato soup), migas (fried bread) andensalá de naranja (orange salad). Due to FuenteTójar'slocation surrounded by olive groves, an extra virgin olive oil of the highest quality is produced here, protected by the Designation of Origin Priego de Córdoba. Its exquisite oil forms the basis of most of the dishes which constitute the village's rich and varied gastronomy.
Festivals in Fuente Tójar
Festivals that are popular in Fuente Tójar are Cabalgata Reyes Magos, Semana Santa, Carnaval, Feria Real San Isidro Labrador, Día de San José, Semana Cultural, Fiesta de la Cruz de la Cubertilla, and Fiestas de San Miguel. More>
The neighbouring villages to Fuente Tójar are Zamoranos, El Cañuelo, Castile de Campos and El Solvito.