Monturque has a unique viewpoint known as the Mirador de los Paseillos or the "Balcón del Mundo" (Balcony of the World), where visitors can get amazing panoramic views across the surrounding Córdoba province. It has around 1900 inhabitants.
Archaeological excavations, carried out systematically in the interior of Monturque Castle in the 1980s by Professor López Palomo showed that the origins of the first human settlement in this hilltop village date back to the end of the third millennium B.C., during the Chalcolithic or Copper Age. Later when the Iberians arrived, the strategic position was used to full effect, with the construction of an acropolis, defensive walls and moat.
During the Roman times the important road Via Anticaria was manages from this location, intercepting those travelling from Iponuba (Baena), Ucubi (Espejo) and Ategua (Teba la Vieja, east of Santa Cruz, Córdoba). The Roman Republican Period was marked by the confrontation between Cesareans and Pompeiians in 45 BC Following the victory of Caesar, all Hispania experienced a radical transformation in many areas of cultural life. Some historians place Monturque as one of the bases acquired by Julius Caesar in the Battle of Munda (45 B.C.) against the supporters of Pompey.
During the earlier Roman Imperial Period Monturque was integrated into the Province of Hispania Ulterior between the years 197 and 27 BC. At the same time, it was integrated into the Conventus Astigitanus and around the years 73-74 A.D., the Roman Monturque was organized as a municipality under Latin law. This timeline indicates that by the Flavian era, Monturque already had very Romanized ways of life. This changed in the third century A.D. when there was an acute economic crisis throughout the Empire that triggered the decline of the municipal regime and the progressive abandonment of urban life.
The Muslim population of Monturque installed itself on a former Roman settlement and was composed, at least from the time of the Umayyads, of several Berber tribes who lived there until the thirteenth century. After its re-conquest around 1240, Monturque came under the royal jurisdiction of Córdoba, until a few years later, when King Alfonso X ceded it, together with the town of Aguilar, to Don Gonzalo Yáñez Dovinal, a rich Portuguese gentleman who collaborated with Fernando III in the conquest of the Guadalquivir Valley.
In 1357, King Pedro I decided to hand the town over to his faithful supporter, Martín López de Córdoba, forming the title of Señorío de Monturque. However, Enrique II de Trastámara arranged in 1367 for Monturque to be incorporated, along with Aguilar de la Frontera, Montilla and Cabra, into the domains that Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba was forging on the site of the old manor of Aguilar. From that point, and throughout the Late Middle Ages, Monturque continued to belong to the state of the House of Aguilar.
Monturque was an integral part of the Marquesado de Priego, founded by concession of the Catholic Monarchs in 1501. In 1709 it came to depend on the House of Medinaceli, by a union of the two lineages.
THINGS TO SEE
Castillo de Monturque
The Castle was conquered by Fernando III, 'the Saint', in the year 1240, and for a long time thereafter its ownership passed intermittently between the Crown and Nobility. One early record of this is from 1273, when half of the Monturque castle was awarded by Martin Sanchez to his grandson, Lope. Although the Castle existed during the Moorish dominion, its exact origin is unknown. The well-preserved tower, Torre del Homenaje, stands in the center of the Patio de Armas. A sober and simple structure, this tower was the best equipped tower of the castle to house its guests, who would probably only spend short stays here, as it does not show signs of having been adapted for permanent accommodation. The castle and tower are located on Calle de Rafael de Lara.
The great Roman Cistern sits under the town's cemetery and was discovered accidentally in 1885 while the ground was dug up to expand the small cemetery next to the church Parroquia de San Mateo. The cistern's function was to collect and store rainwater, it had a capacity of about 850,000 litres. A series of circular oculi, like skylights,provided ventilation to the cistern, and small doors in the walls that connected the chambers to each other, The walls of the cistern were made of opus caementicium (Roman concrete), and lined internally for waterproofing with opus signinum (a material made of tiles broken up into very small pieces, mixed with mortar, and beaten with a rammer). In addition to this large cistern, at least eight more are preserved in Monturque, smaller in size but with similar characteristics, also dating to the Roman era. The large cistern’s entrance is within the cemetery on Calle de Rafael De Lara. It can be visited with a guide by pre-arrangement and cost is 3 euro per person.
Mirador de los Paseíllos
The viewpoint is an impressive balcony from which you can enjoy a vast panorama of the countryside. It is unsurprising that this site has been dubbed the Balcón del Mundo (Balcony of the World). It is located right next to the archaeological site of Los Paseíllos. accessThe main access is from Calle de Rafael de Lara, near the entrance to the Iglesia de San Mateo Apostol.
Yacimiento Arqueológico de Los Paseíllos
The archaeological site shows Roman remains corresponding to the ground floor or basement of a large public building that has been cataloged as a Criptopórtico. Various architectural elements suggest the former existence of a second floor to this building, with luxurious, noble and grand proportions. This cryptoportic, if correctly identified, would have been a storehouse for liquids, oil, wine or grain. The site is located alongside the viewpoint, Mirador de los Paseíllos.
Iglesia de San Mateo Apostol
The Gothic style church dates somewhere between the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries. The Virgin is a fine example of late seventeenth century dress, carved in wood by an unknown artist, although possibly from the Granada School. It was restored in 1988 by the Cordovan artist Miguel Ángel González. Another highlight is the Nuestra Señora de la Alegría, an interesting work made in 2000 by Niceto Mateo Porra. The church can be visited on Calle de Rafael de Lara.
The cemetery next to the church is not only very well kept but has won numerous awards for its appearance and keeping of historical records. It is also one of a hundred cemetery’s on a European register of interest.
Ermita del Santo Cristo de la Vera Cruz
This simple chapel dates to the end of the sixteenth century, although it was restored in 1923, giving it a much more modern appearance. It is located on Calle del Santo Cristo.
The museum opened in 2004 and was founded with a view to protecting and preserving the heritage of the municipality, and to disseminate this history to locals and visitors through its exhibits.
Sunday, 11:30-14:00hrs and 17:00-19:30 hrs.
Visits on any other day are by appointment only.
Price: Free entrance.
Tel: 957 51 80 94 and 957 53 57 60.
Crafts that were once produced frequently in Monturque have since disappeared over time; however, today a small group of women continue to make decorative pieces based on the town's heritage, as a hobby.
Traditional dishes to try when visiting Monturque include conejo en salsa de almendras (rabbit in almond sauce), morcilla de sesos (black pudding made using pork brain), potaje de bacalao (cod stew) and castañas con arroz (chestnuts with rice). Sweet treats include magdalenas (muffins), roscos de galleta (biscuit rings), pestiños (sweet pastries), roscos de vino (aniseed biscuits) and borrachuelos (liqueur sponges).
Cabalgata Reyes Magos
Three Kings procession celebrated on the evening of 5 January.
Celebrated the 2 February.
Celebrated in February.
Día de Andalucía
Celebrated the 28 February.
Holy Week (dates vary each year).
Romería de San Isidro
Celebrated the 15 May.
Verbena de los Llanos
Celebrated in July.
Celebrated weekend closest to the 15 August.
Celebrated the weekend closest to the 28 August.
Verbena del Santísimo Cristo De La Vera Cruz
Celebrated the 14 September.