by Saskia Mier
La Carlota is named after King Carlos III, who founded the present day town in a desert area known as La Parilla in an attempt to re-populate the area. The area attracted immigrants from central Europe, a fact that can still be seen in the facial features of the local descendants of these, mainly German, founders. It has around 14, 000 inhabitants.
The area around La Carlota hosts various archeological sites, with remains from the Paleolithic times through to the Bronze Age. The entire municipality has been declared to be a point of cultural interest by the regional government.
The current town of La Carlota was founded in 1768 in the interest of King Carlos III, to colonize some unpopulated areas of the Guadalquivir and Sierra Morena valleys. The legal framework to carry out this colonizing enterprise inspired the Law of the New Populations of Andalusia, which established two large colonization zones; La Carolina (Jaén) and La Carlota (Córdoba). The project was promoted by the Count of Campomanes and Pablo de Olavide.
The recruitment of new settlers was entrusted to the Bavarian adventurer Juan Gaspar de Thürriegel, who brought just over seven thousand German and Flemish Catholic colonists to Spain. Today, the influence of Central European names and ethnic characteristics still exists among the town's inhabitants.
THINGS TO SEE
Real Posada y Fonda
The left wing of this building was finished in 1769 to serve as an inn, and the right wing was constructed in the late eighteenth century for stabling and storage. The inn was ideal for travellers and merchants, many of whom would rest here with their animals whilst following the camino real (royal road). The building has officially been of Cultural Interest since the year 2000, and is located on Avenida Carlos III.
Palacio de la Subdelegación de la Intendencia
The exact date of the foundation of the Palace of the Subdelegation is unknown; however it is thought to date to between 1770 and 1780. In 1835, the Subdelegation was replaced by the existing municipal institution which currently serves as the Town Hall. This is situated on Avenida Carlos III.
Parroquia de la Purísima Concepción
This church dates to the eighteenth century, with a unique Baroque exterior façade. Located on Plaza de la Iglesia.
Real Cárcel and Museo de Historia Juan Bernier
This simple Neoclassical building was built as a jail for the Colonial Intendance. The interior is designed to house prisoners and provide living quarters for the jailers. Today, it houses the Juan Bernier History Museum which was formerly situated in the old Palacio de la Subintendencia. At the end of October 2000, the Museum had to close its doors due to serious humidity problems that endangered the longevity of many of the exposed pieces. In 2002, the Museum was moved to its current location. It has four sections arranged chronologically; Prehistory, Ancient History, the Middle Ages and the Modern and Contemporary Age. There are also some monographic sections, such as that relating to ancient construction materials and natural history. The museum is located on Calle Blas Infante.
Mercado de Abastos
The building that now houses the indoor food market was built at the beginning of the nineteenth century. Vendors bring in fresh goods from the local area. It can be visited on Avenida Carlos III.
Monumento Conmemorativo de la Fundación
This is a commemorative monument erected in 1967 at the request of the Royal Academy to commemorate the bicentenary of the town. It shows the Spanish King, Carlos III, delivering the founding decree of the New Populations to Don Pablo de Olavide, along with the Count of Campomanes.
THINGS TO SEE OUTSIDE THE VILLAGE
Parroquia de Nuestra Señora del Rosario de Fuencubierta
The construction of this church was the initiative of the Cordovan Bishop, Sebastián Herrero Espinosa de los Monteros at the end of the eighteenth century (1769) as one of the three rural chapels in this area. The carved and polychrome wood altarpiece is from the second half of the eighteenth century. Located north west of La Carlota near the small hamlet of La Fuencubierta.
Parroquia de María Auxiliadora de Aldea del Garabato
This church was built thanks to Jose Antonio Martin Prat y Armesto, Division General and Horseman of San Lázaro de Jerusalén. It was blessed on October 18, 1953 by the Bishop of Córdoba, Fray Albino González y Menéndez Raiga. The decoration is typical of the eighteenth century. The church can be found north west of La Carlota, near the small hamlet of El Garabato.
Vía Verde of the Campiña
The Via Verde of the Campiña (countryside) follows part of the old Córdoba-Marchena railway line which stopped operating in the 1970s, through fields of sunflowers and cereal crops among olive groves, which are especially beautiful in spring when a contrast of colours can be seen in the numerous fields that cover this flat landscape. The route is around 28 km in length and runs between the south west of Córdoba and La Carlota. It has now been adapted for cyclists and walkers. More>
The local cuisine in every Andalusian town is worth sampling, as even the most traditional dishes often have their own variations in every corner of the region. If you are after something savory, try the cocido (pork stew), salmorejo (cold tomato and garlic soup), chorizo hervido con vino (sausage boiled in wine), and do not forget the fresh fish. The best of La Carlota's pastries are gachas (similar to semolina), leche frita (fried milk), rosquillas de santo (aniseed biscuits) and pestiños (sweet honey pastries).
Festivals in La Carlota
Festivals that are popular in La Carlota are Cabalgata Reyes Magos, Semana Santa, Carnaval, Día de Andalucía, Feria y Fiestas de la Paz, Feria del Libro, Fiestas del Santísimo Cristo de la Misercordia, and Día de la Colonización. More>