by Saskia Mier
Espelúy is a small town located in the middle of mountainous countryside. The Guadalquivir River, as the protagonist of this region, provides sustenance to the community’s agricultural activity. The town about 620 inhabitants.
Espelúy has an impressive legacy from prehistoric times. Among the numerous settlements established locally throughout history, that of Las Tiesas stands out, a town from the third millennium BC, evidenced by remains of circular huts and slags, testimony to its metallurgical activity. Another of the most outstanding sites is that of the Cerro de la Plaza de Armas in Sevilleja, which after the previous one, already shows a town with rectangular-shaped houses built on terraces, and with different types of burials. This place was repopulated in Ibero-Roman times, with a walled structure built surrounding the plateau. Remains from this period have also been located on the site of the current population. More>
THINGS TO SEE
Castillo de Espelúy
Among the most representative buildings is the castle from the Caliphate era. It was the first written reference to Espelúy from the thirteenth century, when the General Chronicle reported that it was one of the Muslim castles attacked and destroyed by Fernando III “el Santo” in 1224. The castle fulfilled an important mission in one of the key strategic points of control over the Guadalquivir and Guadalimar Rivers. Its most distinctive element is its magnificent keep, with a square plan and two superimposed rooms covered by barrel vaults inside. It was declared a Historical Monument in 1985. In 1993, the Junta de Andalucía granted special recognition to the castles of the Autonomous Community of Andalusia. Today, what remains is the beautiful rectangular homage tower. Located north of the town, at the end of Avenida Felix Rodriguez de la Fuente.(Location)
Iglesia Parroquial de Santa Catalina
The church was built in 1954 on the old oratory of Santa Catalina. On its tall, narrow whitewashed façade is a simple lintel feature, which frames a door with a semicircular arch with a split pediment to house a cross. The structure is topped with a belfry. Located in Plaza Constitución.(Location)
Hacienda del Pilar
The Hacienda del Pilar, which owes its name to the Virgin of this dedication placed on its façade, was built in 1904 as a farm and later remodeled as a private manor house. As property of the former Minister of Public Instruction, José del Prado y Palacio, Marques del Rincón de San Ildefonso, Alfonso XIII stayed there when he visited Jaén in 1916. It was accessed through well-kept English style gardens with a monumental fountain in its centre and another, in imitation of the Sevillanas, on its side. The façade, with two colonnaded galleries, one of them glazed, feature wooden columns and neat railings, all in a markedly eclectic style. In the interior, the syncretism continues with an element of special interest: a Renaissance patio belonging to a Palace in Andújar, which was demolished in the second decade of the century. The painting was acquired and transferred to Hacienda El Pilar by its owner. Nine slender columns, eight arches of padded coffered ceilings, spandrels, medallions, shields and noble coats of arms were decontextualized from their original building and moved here along with a large basin fountain, with four shells and two cups, adorned with caryatids. Located on Avenida Felix Rodriguez de la Fuente.(Location)
THINGS TO SEE OUTSIDE THE VILLAGE
Iglesia de la Inmaculada Concepción
This modern church was built in 1968, housing the images of San Miguel, San José and the Virgen de la Inmaculada Concepción. Located southeast of Espelúy, in Poblado del Lara, on Carretera del Puente.(Location)
Paraje Las Aceñas
In this recreational area is the source that formerly supplied drinking water to the entire town. Located approximately 2km from the town.
Dishes to try when visiting Espelúy include pipiraana (tomato, pepper and onion salad), gazpacho (cold tomato soup), potaje de habas con berenjenas (bean and aubergine stew), espárragos en salsa (asparagus), migas de pan con melón (fried breadcrumbs with melon), potaje con panecillos (spinach and chickpea stew) and garbanzos con bacalao (cod with chickpeas). Sweet treats include leche frita (fried custard), pestiños (sweet pastries dipped in honey), roscos de leche (doughnuts) and bienmesabe (sweet, almond and honey custard dessert).
Popular festivals in Espelúy are Festividad de San Antón, Festividad de San José, Festividad de Santa Catalina and Fiesta de San Miguel. More>