The Andalusian village of Orce may be small, but is nevertheless of remarkable importance in the search of the first traces mankind in Iberia, with archaeological digs uncovering proof of settlers there from millions of years ago. In the far north of the Granada Province and bordering onto the Province of Almeria, the village of Orce is a also true discovery for anyone in search of real Andalusia. It is 926 meters above sea level and has a population of just over 1,400. At just 150 kilometres from the City of Granada, it is easily accessible by road. Orce is one of the six main villages of the region of Huescar (pronounced 'Wescar'). This whole area, together with the neighbouring region of Baza is known as the Altiplano de Granada.
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The people in the main village of Orce and in the three nearby hamlets of Fuente Nueva, Venta Micena and Pozo de la Rueda enjoy a simple rural life. The prehistoric relics include the much discussed and significant historical remains of a skull, which has become known as "El Hombre de Orce" (Orce Man). There are also fascinating and significant remains of an ancient city from the Bronze Age.
The natural surroundings are as breathtaking as the historic heritage is evident. As is the way with the southern Spanish, traditions and local cooking are taken seriously and the combination of all this elements, promises that a visit to Orce will be a real delight to the senses.
Like the other villages in Huescar, the dramatic contrasts between lush pastoral landscape and dry flatlands is one of the main attractions and something which very much sets it apart from other parts of Andalusia.
There are very interesting ancient archaeological sites at Orce: Fuente Nueva, Barranco del Paso, Barranco León and Venta Micena. It was in this last find that the cranial remains of, what is now known as, "Hombre de Orce" (Orce Man) were found.
Traditionally the local economy was based on agriculture and breeding livestock, with a particular emphasis on the famous segureña lamb, famous and much sought after for its exquisite flavour.
Many ancient stone utensils have been found and there are thought to be many human fossils still to be discovered. To date, the Fuente Nueva site is the most important of the four in Orce, for the large amount of flint, dolomitic limestone which are related to rhinoceros, hippopotamus, elephants and other mammals.
As well as these traces of ancient species, there are also archeological remains, on of great interest being 'el cerro de la virgen' (the hill of the virgin), where you can see the remains of a Bronze Age village dating back to 2,500BC.
Orce is truly rich in historic and architectural heritage, as can be seen with the Segura Palace of the 16th - 17th century, the church of the 17th century and many stately homes.
The fortress style castle at Orce is testament to its rich historic past. The Alcazaba de las Siete Torres (Fortress of Seven Towers) was built in stages, from the 6th century and was not finished until the Christian era in the 16th century, spanning a millennium of cultural changes.
For further information on Orce, contact:
Tourist Information Office
Calle Tiendas, 18
Tel: 958 746 171
Or the Town Hall:
Ayuntamiento de Puebla de Orce
Plaza Nueva, 1
Tel: 958 746 101