by Saskia Mier
Villaralto is home to the Museo Pastor, located in an old village house, a must-see for those visiting the town- which has about 1,100 inhabitants.
Several prehistoric, Roman, Arab and Visigoth settlements have been set up in the area, as evidenced by a variety of sites such as Rincón de Berrocoso, El Ladrillar, Prieto Lagoon, Cerrocampo and Casa de la Mora, where a Roman villa was later occupied by Arabs, and associated with mining.
The first document that refers to Villaralto is from 1424, when Juan Ruiz de Santofimia arrived eager to incorporate it into the Señorío de Santa Eufemia, although he was ultimately unsuccessful. Villaralto was created in the fifteenth century as a dependent village of Torremilano (now Dos Torres), belonging to the Seven Villas of Los Pedroches entity until partition of the territory in the nineteenth century.
In 1633, it was sold by King Felipe IV to Don Melchor Fernández Carreras, Archdeacon of the Pedroches and Canon of the Cathedral of Córdoba. The assigned price was 1632,000 maravedíes of silver. Melchor Fernández Carreras took possession of the Villa and constituted a new administrative entity, Señorío de Villaralto, which was maintained until abolition of the jurisdictional manors in 1837.
Torremilano sent a letter to the King and Queen of Spain arguing that Villaralto de Torremilano was not independent, and should not be assignedto the Seven Villas. In 1638, judges ruled in favour of its independence. In 1771,Villaralto town received letters from the Treasury urging the town to pay its corresponding taxes. In spite of the confrontation with Torremilano, both towns maintained communication, continuing throughout the eighteenth century.
THINGS TO SEE
Iglesia de San Pedro
The Church dates from before 1564, although the exact date of its construction or where the name comes from is not known. In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, residents of Torremilano built several huts to take care of their estate from a closer position, and constructed a chapel in order to attend mass. It has undergone multiple reforms and transformations, the most important of them in 1875. Asignificant work of great artistic value is a canvas of San Pablo Ermitaño created in 1667 by Sebastián de Llanos Valdés. Currently the church is almost free of ornamentation. Most of the assets that it had were stolen and taken to unknown locations during the years before and after the Civil War. Located on Calle Ayuntamiento.
Ermita del Cristo de las Angustias
This chapel is well visited by the faithful,and adorned with votive offerings from parishioners for their concessions. Located on Calle Padre Carmelo.
Casa Museo del Pastor
The Museum was inaugurated on 10 August 2006 with the purpose of conserving and spreading the ethnological heritage related to the pastoral life of the Los Pedroches district and more specifically Villaralto town. Set within the house from the mid-nineteenth century, you can see a recreation of the way of life of shepherds fromVillaralto, an activity that has been one of the basic pillars of the local economy. There are large thematic blocks throughout different rooms of the house, where explanatory posters are displayed, accompanied by pieces and objects donated by the town residents. Located on Calle Buensuceso.
Winter, Friday, 16:00-18:00hrs.
Winter, Saturday, 12:00-14:00hrs and 16:00-18:00hrs.
Winter, Sunday, 12:00-14:00hrs.
Summer, Friday and Saturday, 18:00-20:00hrs.
Summer, Sunday, 12:00-14:00hrs.
Tuesday-Friday reserved for groups by previous appointment.
Price: Free Entrance
Tel: 957 15 01 04
Remains of a Visigothic necropolis featuring granitic material from the "El Baño" farm, an ancient Phoenician settlement. They are currently exhibited in the municipal park. Located on Avenida Parque.
THINGS TO SEE OUTSIDE THE VILLAGE
Ermita de Santa Rita
The chapel is considered a meeting place for young people to have fun, dating from the year 1900 and founded by Juan Fernandez. It has undergone numerous reforms due to the poor condition of its walls and roof, carried out by Pedro Muñoz, as well as transformations of its space, before it was surrounded by large eucalyptus trees and huge stone benches, enclosed by four rectangular and barred walls and a main entrance door. Located east of the town, off the CO-7410.
Local crafts produced in Villaralto are wicker baskets known ascestas de mimbre, as well as bobbin lace embroidery and wood carvings.
If you are lucky enough to stay for a bite to eat in Villaralto, try their morcilla de relleno (egg black pudding), escabeche (meat or fish marinated and cooked in vinegar), lechoncillofrito (fried pork), bacalao (cod), lomo de orza (marinated pork), migas con torreznos (fried bread with potato, chorizo, garlic and paprika) and morcilla y chorizo (homemade black pudding and chorizo). Deserts include hojuelas, roscas de fideos, resecas, brazos de gitano, perrunas, rosquillos fritos, borrachuelos and gachas. To drink, try the vino de pitarra, which is a wine produced in ceramic barrels typically from the region of Extremadura.
Cabalgata Reyes Magos
Three Kings procession celebrated on the evening of 5 January.
Celebrated on 3 February.
Celebrated in February.
Romería de la Divina Pastora
Celebrated the first Sunday of May.
Feria y Fiestas en Honor laVirgen del Buensuceso
Celebrated the second weekend of August.
Velada del Santísimo Cristo de lasAngustias
Celebrated the second Saturday of September.
Día de Convivencia "Todos los Santos"
Celebrated on 1 November.