VILLANUEVA DE CÓRDOBA
by Saskia Mier
Villanueva de Córdoba, like many of the small towns in this area, has a long history that spans centuries. It has around 8700 inhabitants.
The town was founded in the middle of the fourteenth century, although there is archaeological evidence of human habitation in the area during the Visigoth period and even earlier. Its primitive name was Encinaenana, probably due to the holm oaks (encina) that grew around the habitation.
Towards 1345, a plague drove inhabitants from neighbouring communities to search for new settlements closer to the town. One of them, created in the first years of the second half of the fourteenth century, would form the nucleus of today's Villanueva de Córdoba. In 1242, Fernando III granted two villas and castles of Pedroche to the Cabildo de Córdoba, including from Villanueva de Córdoba.
Villanueva de Córdoba received the title of town in 1533 and was part of the area known as Los Pedroches. In 1560, it fell under the jurisdiction of the Marquises of El Carpio. When Felipe IV put the communal land of the valley villages up for sale, Villanueva de Córdoba had to buy its share. In 1724, the town participated in the demarcation of the Seven Villas de los Pedroches and finally in 1747, the competition between the Marquises of El Carpio over the population concluded, and the population fell into the hands of the crown, where it remains today.
THINGS TO SEE
Iglesia Parroquial de San Miguel Arcángel
This church was constructed in the sixteenth century, although there is evidence that it was constructed on the former site of a fifteenth-century Christian temple. It underwent a great deal of reconstruction during the eighteenth century, making it larger and grander while still retaining its humbler original features. The roof of the side naves is covered with rich textures. Visitors will be astonished by the incredible crafted wooden roof inside the main part of the church. The tower was completed in the late eighteenth century and was built with the economic support of the Dioceses of Córdoba and their Bishop, Baltazar Yusta Navarro. The church is located in Plaza de España.
Ermita de San Sebastián
This building was constructed in 1585 but was converted into a chapel in 1952, funded by the Brotherhood of San Sebastián. The original belfry was replaced by one with two bodies and three bells; one of these bells was transferred to the nearby Iglesia de San Miguel Arcángel, but in 1688, during the pastoral visit of Cardinal Salazar, Bishop of Córdoba, he ordered that the bell be returned to the Ermita de San Sebastián. In 1757, repairs were carried out on the entire building. In July 1936, during the first days of the Spanish Civil War, the chapel was used as a prison for people detained by the Republicans. All its images and altars were destroyed. Between 1964 and 1965, the parish house was built, designed and directed by the parish priest at the time, Don Rafael Gutiérrez Márquez. The chapel is situated on Calle San Sebastián.
Convento de "Las Obreras"
The Convent, better known locally as "The Workers' Convent", was constructed between 1941 and 1957, and although a more modern construction, it stands as an amazing example of the local workmanship of granite. Inside is a beautiful Neo-Baroque jewel designed by the architect Carlos Sáenz. Located on Calle Real.
Iglesia de Cristio Rey
This church was built in the early twentieth century, to serve the Convento de Hijas de Cristo Rey. The driving force behind the creation of the convent and church was Doña Dolores Herruzo Moreno, however, due to the lack of funds and various incidents including the death of a worker in 1920, the work could not be completed until 1928. The church can be found on Calle Dolores Herruzo.
Antigua Audiencia (Old Court)
One of the most important civic buildings in Villanueva de Córdoba, the Antigua Audiencia reflects the splendid use of granite in this area. It was constructed in the seventeenth century on Plaza de España.
Refugio Antiaéreo de la Guerra Civil
The Civil War shelter was built in 1937 to protect the population from aerial bombardment. The large space is divided into five naves by red brick arches resting on thick granite pillars. It has access to three tunnels, one of which extends 70 meters. The shelter is located under the Plaza de España.
The public wash baths were built at the beginning of the twentieth century, due to a lack of accessible water for the town's inhabitants. A series of baths were built around the outskirts of the town. Currently, three of these have been restored; La Fuente del Caño, El Gusanito, and El Regajito. These baths now form open air eco-museums on the "Laundry Route", where their history and importance is explained on panels.
Centro de Interpretación de la Dehesa
The Interpretation Center of La Dehesa is a typical twentieth-century house, restored and converted into a museum. The exhibits focus on the ways in which the land is cultivated as a natural and economic resource, as well as the culture and ways of life that it has generated. The museum can be found on Calle Pozoblanco.
Weekends and Holidays, 10:00-14:00hrs
Tel: 957 12 06 03
Museo de Historia Local
The local History Museum contains pieces from the Paleolithic, Neolithic, Chalcolithic, Roman and Visigoth periods, and is located on Plaza de España.
During the Easter Week, Feria de Agosto and Christmas, the Museum is open every day, 10:00-14:00hrs.
Tel: 957 12 00 00
Villanueva de Córdoba-Los Pedroches Train Station
This station on the AVE high speed rail line from Córdoba to Madrid opened on 29th March 2014 to help the economic development of the town and the Los Pedroches area. The station offers Altaria and AVE train lines to Madrid, Seville, Barcelona, Algeciras, Antequera, Ciudad Real and Córdoba, amongst others.
Being in the midst of one of the best forests in Spain, Villanueva de Córdoba has always produced crafts with local wood. The fine granite in the area has also been used in the construction of civil and religious buildings.
The area has traditionally been the source of fine jamon ibérico (cured ham) and local preserves. Try local cuisine such as morcilla sanga (black pudding), chanfaina (meat stock), migas tostás (fried breadcrumbs served with chorizo), gazpacho (chilled tomato, pepper and garlic soup), potaje de habas verdes y judías blancas (broad bean and white bean stew), pisto (vegetable stew) and lechón frito (suckling pig). Sweet treats include hojuelas, flores (honey pastries), roscos (aniseed biscuits), magdalenas (muffins), mostachones (similar to madeleines) and cahajones or cagajones (choux buns coated in sugar syrup).
Cabalgata Reyes Magos
Three Kings procession celebrated on the evening of 5 January.
Festividad de San Sebastián
Celebrated the 20 January.
Celebrated in February.
Día de Andalucía
Celebrated the 28 February.
Holy Week (dates vary each year).
Feria del Libro
Celebrated in April.
Fiesta de la Cruz
Celebrated the weekend closest to the 3 May.
Celebrated the Pentecost Weekend.
Romería de la Virgen de Luna
Celebrated on Pentecost.
Verbena de San Juan
Celebrated the weekend closest to the 24 June.
Feria y Fiestas
Celebrated the first week of August.
Feria del Jamón
Celebrated the weekend closest to the 12 October.
Romería de la Virgen de Luna
Celebrated the second Sunday of October.
Día Internacional de las Migraciones
Celebrated the 18 December.