by Saskia Mier
Pedroche has a unique Renaissance tower at the Iglesia Parroquial del Salvador, or la Transfiguración, which looms over the rest of the village centre. The town has about 1,500 inhabitants.
The exact origin of what was the Roman villa of Oxintigis is not known. According to Fray Andrés de Guadalupe, the town was erected in 2,263 AC; however, the great Roman historian Pliny the Elder has argued it was founded in 300 AC.
During the Roman period, according to Don Juan de Oraza, Oxintigis was renamed after the famous Baedro. Little is known of the Visigoth period, except that they expelled the vandals from Pedroche, and the Visigoths built the Castle of Pedroche, which they named Bretus Hins. There is a legend told by Moral Padilla that Don Rodrigo, the Visigoth King, ordered that the children of Witiza be followed, and they were captured in the Castle, Betrus Hins.
During the Moorish era, Pedroche was the most powerful town in the current province of Córdoba. It later fell into the hands of the new Moors, and in 1155 passed onto King Alfonso VII, known as El Reu de Pedroche. Pedroche was first conquered by Alfonso VII but the Moors recovered it the following year. Alfonso recovered it once again in 1158 and delivered it to the Order of Calatrava for defence, but it was useless as it fell back into Moorish ownership after the Battle of Alarcos. Finally, after the Castilian victory in Las Navas de Tolosa, it fell into the hands of Christians.
During the fourth and fifth centuries, the towns of Villanueva de Córdoba, Alcaracejos, Villanueva del Duque and Añora were born and placed under the command of the capital of Pedroche Valley. During the fifteenth century, Pedroche was under the tutelage of the Catholic Monarchs.
In the middle of the sixteenth century,Felipe IV separated the Valle de los Pedroches from the jurisdiction of Córdoba, giving it to the Marquises of El Carpio. In 1747 jurisdiction of the Marquisate disappeared for the towns of Pedroche. Between 1808 and 1810 French troopslooted Pedroche, leaving it in absolute poverty.
THINGS TO SEE
Iglesia El Salvador
A National Monument, also known as Parroquia de la Transfiguración, the church was constructed during the reign of the Catholic Monarchs. The initial parts of the church were constructed during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, with the head of the temple built later in the fifteenth century and decorated with paintings from this era that can still be seen behind the Baroque altarpiece. An original Mudejar coffered ceiling remains in good condition. Located on Calle Santa María.
The tower has been a National Monument since 1979. Materials were used from the Castle to construct the tower, around 1520. In 1544, the architect Hernán Ruiz II directed the works until 1558. Juan de Ochoa completed the work by installing the cylindrical body in 1588. Simultaneously with the tower, the walls of the chapel transept that would have been the largest in the church were built, appearing in one of them the date 1539. In 1885, an electric spark from a strong storm caused the displacement of several ashlars of the dome and produced a hole that in 1910 covered a brick Aragonese escalator. Before its state of ruin, between October of 1987 and January of 1988, emergency works were carried out under the direction of the architect Don Jerónimo Sanz Cabrera. The tower is constituted by four bodies, reaching a height of 56 metres. The first body was built in 1532, measuring 10 metres wide and 20 metres high.The second body was built in 1535 and the third quadrangular body forms the bell tower, leading to the fourth body of the construction. Located next to Ermita de Nuestra Señora del Castillo, on Calle Santa María.
Ermita de Santa María del Castillo
Declared a Monument in 2010, the chapel is built on the immense rock on which Pedroche is located, in the same place where the Arab Castle was situated. It is not known with certainty when it was built, but it is believed that it was erected on part of the site that occupied the Castle, using some of its foundations. It was demolished and destroyed at the end of the fifteenth century, and it is believed that building would have been resumed in the first years of the sixteenth century, that is, between 1500 and 1510 approximately. In 1995, paintings of incalculable artistic value that could date from the time of the Re-Conquest appeared on the inner walls of the chapel. The paintings were traced back to the Gothic period. Located on Calle Santa María.
Convento de la Concepción
Declared a Monument in 2008, the Convent was built in 1524 at the request of the people and founded by nuns from Santa Clara de la Columna de Belalcázar. In July 1855, the Government of Queen Isabel II promulgated a decree of dissolution, which affected the Convent and forced the Sisters to move to others run by the Order. Years later and probably due to Isabel II's Concordat with Pope Pius IX, restoration was carried out by Sister Teresa de Jesus and four other nuns, and completed in 1887. Located on Calle Francisco Botello.
THINGS TO SEE OUTSIDE THE VILLAGE
Ermita de la Virgen de Piedrasantas
The chapel was built in the sixteenth century with Baroque elements added in the eighteenth century. Inside there are seven wooden benches with the names of the Seven Towns ofthe Pedroche Valley, whose representatives met here to discuss matters common to the villas. Located north of Pedroche, off the CO-7102.
Ermita de San Sebastián
The chapel was built between the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, although it has undergone several renovations. The building was declared in ruins in 1964 and was rebuilt thanks to donations from neighbours. The last renovation was made in 1993. Located north of Pedroche, off the A-435.
Pedroche has some wonderful hiking routes which are ideal for exploring the area in detail. An urban route known as Ruta de las Fuentes allows visitors to discover the many water sources that can be found in the village.
Those visiting Pedroches should try their local delicacypollo en escabeche (stewed chicken with garlic and onions), as well as morcilla de borrego (lamb black pudding) and guiso de rollos (lamb stew). Sweet treats can be purchased in the Convent, produced my nuns.
Cabalgata Reyes Magos
Three Kings procession celebrated on the evening of 5 January.
Fiesta de San Sebastián
Celebrated the Sunday before 20 January.
Celebrated in February.
Función de los Soldados
An ancient festival of Pedroches, celebrated on Easter Monday. The legend of its origins relates that in 1917 during the war in Morocco a modest housewife, Clarita, suffered the bad luck of her boyfriend,Manolete, going to war. In total sadness one afternoon, she made a promise with the Virgen de Piedrasantas that if her boyfriend returned from the first Monday of Easter she would dedicate a mass and festival to the Virgin.
Fiesta de los Piostros
Celebrated 7 and 8 September.
Virgen del Rosario
Celebrated the Sunday before 7 October.