by Saskia Mier
Peñarroya-Pueblonuevo was once an industrial and mining town, and the chimneys of the old industrial zone are still one of the town's most striking features. Today, its highlights include the Museo Geológico-Minero, which houses a collection of minerals, rocks and fossils. The town has about 11, 000 inhabitants.
The oldest reference to Peñarroya dates from 1272, during the reign of Alfonso X, and suggests that the earliest structure of the town was a farmhouse later converted into a medieval village known as Peña Roja. The events of Fuente Obejuna in 1476 caused some of this town's inhabitants to abandon it, settling in the newly named Peñarroya, which belonged to the municipality of Belmez until it was segregated from it in 1894.
Pueblonuevo del Terrible appeared in the nineteenth century following mining exploitations in the area, and achieved its emancipation from the municipality of Belmez two years before Peñarroya. The name of Pueblonuevo del Terrible derived from a famous dog called "Terrible" who lived in the town and was feared for his fierceness. In 1927, the two municipalities of Peñarroya and Pueblonuevo del Terrible merged together, under the authority of the Mayor at the time, Eladio León y Castro.
New mining companies, mainly French, were developed in the area, including the Metallurgical Mining Society of Peñarroya (SMMP). The first industrial station was erected at the edge of Pueblonuevo del Terrible in 1875 by the Belmezana Hullera, to export its products and transport miners using the Belmez-Castillo de Almorchón and Belmez-Córdoba railway lines. SMMP also built a narrow gauge railroad linking Peñarroya with Puertollano, which began service in 1927.
During the first decade of the twentieth century, the Peñarroya-Pueblonuevo mining basin constituted one of the most important industrial sites in Andalucia, and was the largest in the province of Córdoba. During the Civil War of 1936, due to the strategic importance of its mining and industrial core, Peñarroya-Pueblonuevo practically became the frontline, suffering frequent aerial and artillery bombardments throughout the war.
After the implementation of the "Stabilization Plan" in the late 1950s, the French SMMP company began its withdrawal from the area, initiating a strong emigration during the following decade, the closure of industrial facilities, and the creation of ENCASUR, a company that still maintains mining operations today.
THINGS TO SEE
Antiguo Hospital Minero de la S.M.M.P.
The mining companies were obliged by law to provide medical services. This became increasingly important, until actual hospitals had to be built onsite. The old mining Hospital of Peñarroya-Pueblonuevo, now a health centre, was built around 1929 according to plans designed in Paris. It was intended to replace another older hospital that had become insufficient. Preventive medicine campaigns were also carried out here, such as that in 1919 which aimed to eradicate malaria, and the fight against ancylostomiasis or anaemia among the miners. During the Civil War, due to the proximity of the battle front, the hospital became a Blood Hospital in which German doctors were installed, as well as advanced medical and surgical equipment, to perform numerous daily operations using newer techniques. The old hospital is located on Avenida José Simón de Lillo.
Antigua Sede Directiva de la S.M.M.P
This emblematic jewel of Peñarroya-Pueblonuevo was designed around 1917 in a Parisian architectural studio as the administrative headquarters of the Metallurgical Mining Society of Peñarroya (S.M.M.P.). It was inherited by the ENCASUR Company and used as a General Directorate. Later it was a Spanish-English Bilingual School and today it is the headquarters of the Geriatric Centre of the Virgen del Rosario, part of the SAGESUR Company (Geriatric Care Services of the South). The beautiful building can be found on Plaza de la Direccion.
Ayuntamiento y Casino del Terrible
The Town Hall and Casino of the municipality of Peñarroya-Pueblonuevo are an example of the functionalist neo-Renaissance architecture of the 1920s. The building is situated on Calle de la Constitución.
This neighbourhood was once made up of the S.M.M.P. Directors' houses. The French-style chalets were equipped with large gardens and wooden fencing. Many of the current houses' exteriors have conserved this original style.
The Municipal Library was the former centre for social gatherings of S.M.M.P. executives. The French style of the elegant building makes it stand out from its environs, and its roof was restored after the fire damage suffered in 1999. The building is located within Parque Carbonífera.
Iglesia de Nuestra Señora del Rosario
This church dates to the sixteenth century, and can be found on Calle Murillo.
Iglesia de Santa Bárbara
This church was built at the peak of the mining and industrial boom and is one of the most important examples in Peñarroya-Pueblonuevo of the architectural eclecticism of the early twentieth century. This is displayed in a blend of neo-Romanesque and neo-Gothic styles. The original building was inaugurated in 1878, whilst the most recent addition was finished in 1913. Inside, the eighteenth-century altarpiece from the Mezquita Catedral de Córdoba is a highlight. The church is located on Plaza Santa Bárbara.
Parroquia de El Salvador
This chapel was built between 1930 and 1960. Today it houses the Museum of Fine Arts, and can be visited on Calle Gral. Primo de Rivera.
Museo de Bellas Artes
The Museum of Fine Arts houses a great variety of pictorial works mainly produced by provincial artists in the last decades of the twentieth century. It is located on Calle Gral. Primo de Rivera.
The Geological-Mining Museum is located within La Yutera, a factory with an area of more than 10,000m2, which dates from the mid-nineteenth century and was designed by Eiffel. Visitors can enjoy a tour of the geological history of the town, as well as a great variety of rocks and minerals, and the tools used for their extraction. The museum is located on Carretera de la Estación, Polígono Industrial La Papelera.
Individual, 2.00 euro
Over 65, 1.05 euro
Student, 0.70 euro
Groups, 0.55 euro per person
Tel: 957 57 09 86
Mercado de Abastos Sebastián Sánchez
The marketplace is a significant testament to the use of new construction materials in the early twentieth century. Built using reinforced concrete and glass, the building was one of the first in the province of Córdoba to use such materials. The market can be found on Calle Navarro Sáez.
Centro de Poesía Visual
The Visual Poetry Centre documents contemporary poetic experimentalism, and has become a major reference point for this art form throughout Spain and beyond. In 2006 the headquarters were inaugurated and the first visual poetry exhibition was held under the title "A sample of visual poetry", featuring works by José Blanco, Francisco Aliseda, Juan Grego, Rodolfo Franco, Txaro Sierra, Juan Lopez de Ael, José Antón Artze, Antonio Gómez, Tomás Salvador, Mikel Jauregui, Pepe Murciego, Fernando Millán, Julia Otxoa, Ricardo Ugarte and Miguel Ángel Zorrilla. It is a public centre, which depends financially on the Department of Culture of Peñarroya-Pueblonuevo and the support of the Provincial Council of Córdoba. Visitors to the facilities have access to specialized archives, bibliographies and original documents, as well as a large sample of experimental and ‘object' magazines. The centre also features an exhibition hall with visual poems. The collection is composed of more than 1,000 works donated by different collaborators, and can be visited on Carretera de la Estación, Polígono Industrial La Papelera.
Price: Free Entry
Tel: 957 57 09 86
Fábrica de Harinas "Santa María" Museo Antonio Espadas Pérez
The flour factory is an industrial building from the early twentieth century, which retains the main body where wheat and other by-products were cleaned, conditioned, milled and packaged. It was in operation until the 1990s, passing through different hands, from the S.M.M.P. to its last owner, Antonio Espadas Pérez and his family. He then donated it to the Town Hall, along with the original Swiss machinery from the Daverio house, which can be viewed during Museum visits. The land belonging to the flour factory occupied approximately one hectare, containing the factory itself and its surrounding warehouses, carpentry, bakery, entrance garden and transport area, as well as four chimneys, one of which can still be seen today. The factory produced around 10,000 kilos of flour every day, with 70% being exported to countries including Egypt, Russia and Syria. The site can be visited on Calle Fábrica.
Guided visit subject to prior booking
Price: Free Entry
Tel: 682 63 55 92
Lovers of nature and outdoor sports such as hiking must climb the Peñón, the peak of which affords great views of the Guadiato Valley and Peñarroya-Pueblonuevo itself. The schematic paintings of the Abrigo de la Virgen can also be viewed.
Visitors who want to sample typical local dishes should try carnes de caza (game meats), migas con torrezno (fried bread with pork), lechón en adobo (suckling pig in dressing), codillo de San Fernando (pork joint), sopa de patatas con uvas (potato soup with grapes) and gazpacho (commonly known in the town as rairrán).
Traditional crafts still produced in Peñarroya-Pueblonuevo include pottery, embroidery and leatherwork.
Cabalgata Reyes Magos
Three Kings procession celebrated on the evening of 5 January.
San Antonio Abad
Celebrated the Sunday closest to the 17 January. The traditional dance, Danza de las Espadas, is performed.
Celebrated the 2 February.
Celebrated in February.
Holy Week (dates vary each year).
Cruces de Mayo
Celebrated in May.
Romería de San Isidro Labrador
Celebrated the 15 May.
Romería de San Bernardino
Celebrated at the end of May.
Celebrated the first week of August.
Feria de Nuestra Señora de la Asunción
Celebrated the 15-18 August.
Fiestas en Honor a la Virgen del Rosario
Celebrated the 7-12 October.
Fiestas en Honor a Santa Bárbara
Celebrated the 4 December.