Of all the villages that make up the Huescar and Baza regions of the Altiplano area in the Granada Province, Cortes de Baza is arguably the most unspoiled of all. Its humble agricultural rural community and traditional way of life has remained intact despite modern advances and 21st century rural tourism. At an altitude of 701 metres above sea level, this beautiful municipality covers an area of around 140 Km2 and is in the GPS zone 30S with the bearings X: 05 20 40 and Y: 41 67 80. With a population of just over 3,000, this is an idyllic natural paradise, where you can expect a warm welcome from the local community.
Situated on the north point of the beautiful Negratin lake, Cortes de Baza offers the visitor not only the delights and benefits of being on the fringe of the Natural park, but is also a wonderful area to enjoy water sports and fishing.
Getting to Cortes de Baza
By road take the A92 from Granada toward Guadix. Still on the A92, follow the signs for Baza and then continue on to Cortes de Baza. The distance from Granada City is less than 120 kilometres and the roads are generally very good.
The history of Cortes de Baza goes back to prehistoric times, evidence of which is all around the area in the form of remains. This is especially true of the area known as Hoya de Baza. Ancient artefacts such as a Mammoth jawbone, cooking bowls and many other objects from Iberian, phonetician and roman cultures were found and subsequently taken by the authorities to Madrid to be catalogued.
Sadly the Castle of Cortes did not stand the test of time and is now only distinguishable by what remains of the foundations. This ancient monument was originally built in the 13th century by the Muslims to guard against attack from the Castilian armies.
Cortes de Baza enjoyed a time of great prosperity and splendour during Roman times and right through to the end of the time of the Moors, after which it went into decline. It has always been closely bound to Baza and is now looking to become a more independent municipality, which looks possible thanks to a new prosperity brought to the village, in the form of rural tourism. One of the main attractions is the interest in the sale and rental of many beautiful cave houses, which form part of the history of the area and, it would seem, is set to play important role in the future.
Places of Interest
As well as the archaeological finds already mentioned above (see history) some Roman hot springs have been discovered and are apparently buried in the Los Laneros area.
The well preserved parish church of ‘Nuestra Señora de la Anunciación’ was built in the 16th century following the Christian conquest. Although built in the renaissance style, it still has evidence of the wonderful Mudejar craftsmanship in the intricate woodwork, carved out of pine taken from the surrounding forests.
There is another church in the Campocámera area, but this time in the form of a modern building, dedicated to the ‘Virgen del Rosario’.
Another fairly modern building is the hermitage of the ‘Santos Médicos’, the patron saints of Cortes.
In Cortes de Baza and the surrounding area, there are many cave dwellings, some inhabited and some in need of renovation. While in the Cortes is it worth visiting Las Cuevas del Cubete.
The weekly market of Cortes de Baza is on each Saturday morning.
On the 3rd of May is the Dia de la Cruz (Day of the cross) and, as in many parts of Andalusia, it is celebrated in Cortes de Baza with the decoration of crosses using flowers and many other colourful materials. A very pretty time to visit – especially in the areas of Las Cucharetas, Los Laneros and La Teja .
On the penultimate weekend of August, there is a festival held in honour of the patron saints, San Cosme and San Damián (Los Santos Médicos).
In this very attractive corner of Andalusia, the younger generation, living in Cortes de Baza is keen to revive old traditions and one which is being successfully re-integrated is the building of bonfires during certain fiestas. The fiestas of San Antón , San Blas and Santa Lucia are being made more fun as well as maintaining a welcoming sense of camaraderie to friends and visitors alike.
As with most of the villages in this cooler part of Andalusia, the food reflects the good appetites of those who work hard on the land and live through cold winters. Fruit, vegetables and cereals are produced locally and all add to the excellent home cooking to be sampled. Rabbit, hare and chicken are used in many of the main dishes, as well as the delicious lamb. Dates, currants, prunes and honey often form part of the sweets, showing some of the signs of the Moorish influence in the cooking. Despite the high sugar content is many of the deserts and the large portions you can expect in general, the ingredients are more likely to be fresh local produce, providing a tasty, healthy meal.
For further information on Cortes de Baza, contact the Ayuntamiento (Town Hall)
Ayuntamiento de Cortes de Baza
Tel: 958 736 004