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Cúllar - Venta Quemada

Driving through the village of Venta Quemada © Michelle Chaplow
Driving through the village of Venta Quemada

VENTA QUEMADA

Venta Quemada is a small village in the municipal district of Cúllar on the plateau of Chirivel, one of the ‘High Plains’ (Atliplano) of the province of Granada. The village sits within the comarca of Baza, located south of the A-92N motorway off junction km 75 (coming from Guadix, or km 369 coming from Seville). It has a population of about 125. The village shares its name with a very popular venta (roadside inn) that specialises in barbeque grill.

HISTORY

The early history of the area stems from the location being near an important Roman road. In the middle ages, this area south of the Sierra de María and Sierra de Marmon was forested and known as the Campo de Chirivel (Chirivel Plateau). During the thirteenth century, the region was on the eastern border between the Nasrid Emirate of Granada and the Christian Kingdom of Murcia. Because of this potentially dangerous frontier location, and because there was minimal farming on the land, the area was gradually depopulated. More>

Things to See in the Village

The small village is situated in a natural dip in the landscape, formed by the mainly dry riverbed, which is used as a track for farm vehicles. There is a small church and several casas señoriales (stately homes) indicating the economic wealth of the village in the last century. One has been constructed with a concrete footbridge that spans over the huge ‘Fuente del Lavadero’ (municipal wash station) which sits in the village centre. The lavadero is in fact a drinking water spring, and has two very robust water storage pools, showing how important the spring was to the development of the village. The old Venta del Alamo, which burned down in the sixteenth century and which gave the village its name, was said to be located next to the spring.

THINGS TO SEE OUTSIDE THE VILLAGE

Archaeological site of El Malagón
The archaeological site of El Malagón is also located in the municipality of Cúllar, on a gentle elevation of the Chirivel plateau. It is a Copper Age settlement belonging to the group of Los Millares and is dated between 2565 and 2200 BC. More>

Matián
The road continues south for 6km to the almost deserted village of Matián. The route is tarmacked most of the way. More>

Natural Park of the Sierra Maria-Los Vélez
The Natural Park of the Sierra Maria-Los Vélez is to the north of Venta Quemada. A huge variety of wild animals and birds are attracted to the park as a habitat because of the abundance of vegetation. More>

Venta Quemada – Restaurant
Opened at its current location in the 1980s, Venta Quemada is a very popular venta (roadside inn) that specialises in barbeque grill. Ample parking is available for cars and lorries. Service is available at the standing bar or by waiters at the tables. It is open almost 24 hrs, from 06.00 to the last customer leaving in the early hours of the morning. At the entrance, there is a shop where local produce including sausages and cheese can be purchased. Both snacks and meals at the restaurants offer excellent value for money, which, along with its memorable name, have made the venta extremely popular with travellers by word of mouth. This includes everybody from truck drivers and commercial travellers to Spanish families and a few foreign tourists.

The exterior of the venta was once painted a sickly pale green, with a wooden bead curtain hanging over the door. This was matched with typically Andalusian rustic interior décor until the whole establishment was refurbished between 2018-9. It now has a more modern feel including a glass front door.

The popularity of the restaurant is obvious; a queue often extends outside at peak times. The tables in the bar operate a sort of ‘waiting list’ managed by the staff, and the crowd at the bar can be three people deep. Be prepared to have to push yourself forward if arriving at peak lunchtime period (after 14.00), especially at weekends. The carnivores in your party will definitely find it worth the wait. A typical dish is the entrecote or solomillo (sirloin) with green peppers and chips for 15€.

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