Villaharta welcomes a large number of tourists who wish to enjoy its tranquil natural setting. The small town has around 660 inhabitants.
The origin of the town dates to the first century, from one of the many inns for travellers and merchants located on the road from Córdoba to Belmez and Los Pedroches; one such inn was situated in today's Villaharta. It has been suggested that the first settlement on this site was a Celtic or Iberian-Roman town called Casóbriga. Villaharta occupies a strategic spot on the crossing point between the north of the province and Extremadura. The historian Idrisi assured that an Arab road passed through here during the tenth and eleventh centuries.
Modern Villaharta was established under the feudal Mayorazgo of Fernández de Valenzuela, Lord of Albendín, who later ceded his rights to his sister María in 1380. To his wealth were added the sales of Lopillo, also known as Páez's sales in honour of his buyer, Páez de Castillejo.
In 1616, King Felipe IV gave civil and criminal jurisdiction to the town, and in 1630 Miguel Molina became the first mayor. The spring water from Los Manantiales or Fuente Agria Spas was exploited for its health benefits, and boosted the economic activity of Villaharta during the first half of the twentieth century.
THINGS TO SEE
Iglesia Parroquial de Nuestra Señora Virgen de la Piedad
This church dates back to 1828, and has a Baroque style interior and Neo-classical façade, making use of the reddish brick of the Sierra. It is located on Avenida Andalucía.
These water taps date to the year 1955. Their water comes through an underground gallery, from a spring located next to the Plaza de la Constitución. The Town Hall has restored the decoration surrounding the taps, keeping the original tiles depicting the Archangel San Rafael and a tile with the date of construction. When first installed, the taps were the town's only source of running water, and therefore supplied all residents. They can be seen on Calle Posito.
Monumento a San Rafael
The Town Hall wanted to honour its patron, San Rafael, with a monument providing a totally original image of the Archangel. The person in charge, Aurelio Teno, managed to capture the saint's travelling character and extreme poverty, surrounding the monument with symbols conveying his story. In his right hand, he holds a stick with the eye of God; in his left, the fish with which he healed the blindness of Tobias, among other miracles. The beautiful piece is located in Parque Elías Cervelló.
THINGS TO SEE OUTSIDE THE VILLAGE
Fuentes de Aguaria
Villaharta has a series of water sources, along with some of the curious temples that sheltered the world-famous medicinal mineral springs during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The Town Hall has restored the sources of "El Cordel" and "Malos Pasos", signposting the hiking routes via which they can be accessed, along with the source of "La Boca del Infierno". Other sources that can be visited in the surroundings of Villaharta are "San Rafael", "Fuenteagria", "San Elías", "La Lastrilla", "La Lastra", "Los Angelitos" and "El Cura".
Monasterio de Pedrique
The Monastery of Pedrique dates to the thirteenth century as a place of meditation and spiritual retreat. It was purchased in the eighteenth century as an olive grove and orchard, demonstrating the self-sufficient prosperity of the site. Today it is the place of rest of Aurelio Teno, a well-known sculptor from Valles, and his tomb is accompanied by an extensive exhibition of his works. The ground floor displays the artist's sculptures and paintings, whilst the first floor exhibits his famous bronze, quartz and geodes eagles. The upper floor houses the "Tauromaquia" series, a tribute to the bravery and pain of the bull used in the ring. A tour of the exhibition takes about an hour. The monastery is situated south east of Villaharta, off the A-3176.
Price, 1 euro
Tel: 615 21 04 20
Mirador de las Zahurdillas
This area was tidied up by the Town Hall to be used for recreation and contemplation of the surrounding landscape. It was once a public site where the neighbours would thresh and winnow the wheat. The spot is located to the southwest of Villaharta, in Paraje de las Lagunillas.
Parque Elías Cervelló y Chinesta
The park owes its name to the Valencian engineer Elías Cervelló y Chinesta, who managed to make the springs of Villaharta known throughout Spain and abroad. The park boasts aromatic plants, well-kept gardens, a children's area and panoramic views of the Sierra Morena and Villaharta itself, making this park an ideal place to enjoy nature in all its splendour.
It is just south of Villharta, off the A-3176.
Villharta offers beautiful landscapes that can be enjoyed by all, especially those keen on hiking, biking and even horse riding. Visitors can enjoy routes such as Camino Mozárabe, Villaharta-Alcaracejos, GR-48 Sendero de Sierra Morrena, Villaharta-Obejo, Villaharta-El Vacar-Cerromuriano, Ruta Villaharta-Espiel, Camino de Pedrique, Camino del Molinillo, Camino a la Mimbre and Sendero de las Fuentes Agrias.
Villharta once thrived on wicker weaving, a craft carried out by the majority of inhabitants. Today, however, the craft is less popular and is only enjoyed by a skilled select few.
Visitors to Villharta can enjoy traditional dishes such as cazuela de habas (broad bean stew), guiso de castaña (chestnut stew), tortillitas de San José (stewed dumplings), caldillo de perdigón (partridge stew), lomo de orza (stuffed pork), albóndigas con caldo (meatballs with stock), arroz con liebre (wild hare with rice), ajo de bacalao (garlic cod), boronía (stewed aubergine) and potaje de Semana Santa (Easter chickpea stew). Sweet treats include torrijas (eggy bread), perrunas (lard cakes), carne de membrillo (quince jelly), bizcocho (sponge cake) and buñuelos de Carnaval (sweet dumplings).
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).
Celebrated on Holy Saturday.
Celebrated 62 days after Easter Thursday.
Celebrated the 7 May.
Feria en Honor a Nuestra Señora del Carmen
Celebrated the third weekend of July.
Celebrated in August.
Celebrated the 24 October.
Día de San Diego o del Café
Celebrated the beginning of November.