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Aracena - Plaza San Pedro

The lavadero municipal municipal washing trough built by Anib © Michelle Chaplow
The lavadero municipal municipal washing trough built by Anibal Gonzalez

Plaza San Pedro

by Saskia Mier

Plaza San Pedro is a small square located at the bottom of the village with Mudejar style Ermita San Pedro (chapel) over-looking it. It was built in the fifteenth century with the function to Christianize the Moriscos who lived in the neighbourhood. It was home to the Brotherhood of San Pedro y Pan de Pobres.

Ermita San Pedro was one of the medieval chapels located on the four old roads out of the village and inside you will see the rows of bench seats made with clay backs. The chapel was restored in the 1970s and has been used for cultural events since. A section in front of the chapel is an open air contemporary art museum (MACA), where you can wander around the fifty works of art. The open air museum was opened in 1986 thanks to local sculptor, Pepe Noja

Other features of the square include a monument to the water carriers and a spring running through the street bringing water from the caves. There is also a lavadero municipal (municipal washing trough) built by Anibal Gonzalez in 1926 and was financed by Marquis and Marquise of Aracena. Today there is a beautiful bronze statue dedicated to the washing ladies, made by Pepe Antonio Marquez. You will also notice ceramic tiled benches in the square, showing scenes from inside the cave painted by Roman Ginés

Plaza San Pedro is the starting place of the tourist train, with is an interesting tour of the town. This one is a little more cultural than those at the see-side so don't expect too much singing. 

Only a few meters away you will find the entrance to the caves, as well as a large number of bars and restaurants, including renowned tapas Restaurante Montecruz, Casa José, Casas and Jesus Carrión. During the week, it is quiet and peaceful however you will find that a lot of people around at weekends and holidays. If you leave it too late, you may struggle to find a table for lunch.  There are also shops selling jamón and local produce. You can get better value in the town centre.