VILLANUEVA DEL REY
Upon entering the village of Villanueva del Rey, visitors are welcomed by the Ermita de Santiago el Menor, a beautiful chapel providing just a small insight into the rich local history. It has around 1080 inhabitants.
Despite the remains of a medieval castle found in the nearby Cerro de los Castillejos, the history of the town only dates back to the fourteenth century; during the Re-conquista, an initial village was founded with the name Lugar de Casillas, which later became Villanueva de las Viñas.
The original nucleus developed around the middle of the thirteenth century in the Finca de Dos Hermanas, where there may have been a former Moorish village. In 1320, it was granted town status by Alfonso XI with eight leagues of jurisdiction, on which Espiel and Villaviciosa de Córdoba depended.
In 1545, during the reign of Carlos I, Espiel became independent of Villanueva. In 1637, Felipe IV granted jurisdiction to Pedro Gómez de Cárdenas y Angulo, at which point Villanueva happened to be called Villanueva de Cárdenas. When Felipe IV granted Pedro Gómez de Cárdenas the title of Viscount in 1656, Villanueva reached the dignity of Vizcondado. With the sale to Cárdenas, Villanueva passed from the classification of Realengo to that of Señorío.
In 1711, Felipe V elevated Villanueva to the status of county. In 1775, Villaviciosa de Córdoba became independent, and in 1778 the district was finally divided into the separate, independent localities of Espiel, Villaviciosa de Córdoba and Villanueva del Rey. In 1811, by decree of the Cortes of Cádiz, the Señorío de Villanueva de Cárdenas officially ceased, and Villanueva resumed its former name of Villanueva del Rey.
THINGS TO SEE
Iglesia de la Inmaculada Concepción
This church was built in the late sixteenth century and was extensively reformed in the eighteenth century. Over time, chapels were added to the original church structure. Since 1770, it has operated as the principal baptismal chapel for the town. The church is located on Calle Iglesia.
Ermita del Apostol Santiago
The chapel dates to the early twentieth century (1908), built to replace an earlier one that was situated near the River Guadiato, in the spot known as "Campo de Gibraltar". The current chapel can be found on Calle Ermita.
THINGS TO SEE OUTSIDE THE VILLAGE
Yacimiento del Ermitaño
This is an archaeological site dating to the Chalcolithic period, approximately 2500-2000 B.C. Remains unearthed on this site include materials composed of flint flakes, plates with thickened rims, globular vessels and casseroles. To the west of the Don Juan mine, in Puerto Cacho, several large megalithic tombs were found, all also belonging to the Chalcolithic period. The site is located about 2km south east of Villanueva del Rey.
These are large Chalcolithic sepulchres. The interior structure is formed using vertically positioned stone slabs, nailed into place, with a stone ‘roof' balanced on top. The tombs have been covered with mounds of earth, leaving an open entrance facing eastwards.
Villar Dos Hermanas
This was the first urban centre of the town during the Middle Ages. It is thought to have developed in the middle of the thirteenth century, after the conquest of Fernando III, on the site of a former Moorish village. There is evidence that this settlement remained inhabited until the second half of the fourteenth century, and the remains of this village are still visible in Finca Dos Hermanas, about 4km northeast of Villanueva del Rey.
Villanueva del Rey provides an idyllic setting for anyone wanting to experience the essence of the Sierra Morena. The area is punctuated geographically by the Valley of the Guadiato and the Sierra de los Santos. In terms of fauna, a total of 125 species of vertebrates have been found, of which 72% are protected species, including the Perdicera Eagle or the Royal Owl, which are currently threatened with extinction.
For visitors looking to enjoy the wonderful rural surroundings of Villanueva del Rey, numerous tried and tested hiking routes are available including Ruta del Arroyo de la Pizarra and Ruta por la Sierra de la Marianta.
The local olive oil plays centre stage in the gastronomy of Villanueva del Rey, used to elaborate its more traditional dishes, including escabeche de perdiz (pickled partridge), boronía (stewed aubergine), ajo de patatas (garlic potatoes), gazpacho (cold tomato soup), chuletas de cordero (lamb chops) and lechón frito (suckling pig). Sweet treats include buñuelos de miel (honey dumplings), hojuelas (sweet pastries), borrachos de azúcar y canela (cinammon sugar buns) and torrijas (eggy bread).
Cabalgata Reyes Magos
Three Kings procession celebrated on the evening of 5 January.
Virgen de la Candelaria
Celebrated the 2 February.
Celebrated the 3 February.
Celebrated in February.
Día de Andalucía
Celebrated the 28 February.
Holy Week (dates vary each year).
Procesión de Santiago el Menor
Celebrated the 30 April.
Romería de San Isidro Labrador
Celebrated the 15 May.
Día de Santiago el Mayor
Celebrated the 25 July.
Feria y Fiestas en Honor a Santiago Apóstol
Celebrated the third week of August.
Celebración de la Inmaculada Concepción
Celebrated the 8 December.
The neighbouring villages to Villanueva del Rey are Espiel, Belmez and Villaviciosa de Córdoba.