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Fuensanta de Martos

Fuensanta de Martos

by Saskia Mier

Fuensanta de Martos is one of the largest olive oil producers in the province of Jaén, although its economic activity also centres around upholstering furniture and rearing pigs. It has about 3,040 inhabitants.

HISTORY

The strategic location of Fuensanta de Martos has lead to its role as a control nucleus throughout history, as evidenced by the remains of fortified enclosures from different periods dotted around its territory. The fortified enclosure of Cerro Algarrobo dates from the end of the Iberian period and the dawn of the Romanization of this area. Peculiarly, it was a trapezoidal fortification and has signs of bastions along the route of the wall. During this phase, it would depend on the great Iberian city of Tucci, converted in Roman times into Colonia Augusta Gemella. In this last phase, there was a proliferation of rustic villages such as Atalaya and Las Monjas in the municipality of Fuensanta. From the latter, a black marble funerary stone has been unearthed with an inscription dedicated to a free marriage. This relic is kept in the Provincial Museum. More>

THINGS TO SEE

Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de la Fuensanta
The church dates back to the sixteenth century, and its design is recognisably Renaissance, although without the stylistic fanfare typical of other buildings from the period. Its interior consists of a single box floor, divided into three naves that support smooth shaft columns with Doric capitals and sparsely decorated pointed arches. Externally, the church has two bodies separated by molding with two sober façades framed by semicircular arches. The most unique element of the church’s structure is its tower. Located in Plaza de la Constitución. (Location)

Fuente de la Negra
The fountain’s shapes are perfectly symmetrised by the arrangement of two twin spaces with three stylised gaps covered by small semicircular arches that emphasise the jets of water. Inside, in a niche covered by glass, made in the second half of the twentieth century by María Isabel Sánchez Bonilla, a small image of the Virgin is venerated, about 8m high and in the style of classic iconography. Located in Paseo Fuente La Negra. (Location)

Lavadero
The public washing area dates back to the seventeenth century, with characteristic architectural elements of the popular Baroque style, such as the carpal access arches and the small central Solomonic column that rests on a pillar. Its use as a predominantly social space has been maintained almost until today. The interior space is an elongated rectangular nave (10x2.5m), made of mortar and lime, with a central channel, and covered by a roof of skylights. Located in Paseo Fuente La Negra. (Location)

THINGS TO SEE OUTSIDE THE VILLAGE

Torre del Algarrobo
The remains visible today suggest a tower with a straight cylindrical body of 5.20m in diameter, on a raised platform in its northern part. Most of the remains are concentrated in this sector and show the usual construction system of masonry perimeter, with a maximum preserved height of 3.18m. Around the tower you can see the remains of large-scale fortressed walls, which may be the remains of an Ibero-Roman settlement. The site has served multiple purposes in recent history; today, there is a sand quarry on the hill, and the tower has suffered numerous collapses following its use in the 1980s as a spot for blowing up rocks. However, the fate of the tower has been more optimistically secured by its becoming a Site of Cultural Interest in 1985. Located west of Fuensanta, off the JV-2215. (Location)

Ermita de la Ribera
During the 1950s, the priest of Fuensanta, Fernando Garcia Valencia, decided that that year the children’s first communions would be celebrated on the esplanade of a farm called La Castillería. They improvised an altar, and adorned all the chairs in white. The event was attended by all the residents of the area. After this celebration, the priest met with some of the neighbours and discussed the possible construction of a hermitage at the school. Word quickly spread, and the neighbourhood approved. Work began immediately on the land donated by Doña Paquita Gutierrez Sanchez. At the beginning, two Brotherhoods were organized, one for men, which in its first years reached more than 200 members, and another for women, that exceeded a hundred. They acquired the image of Virgen de Carmen in March 1954. The chapel was inaugurated on June 5, 1954. Located in Las Veletas. (Location)

Hotels

Book Casa Rural near Fuensanta de Martos

El Encinar de Cobo is situated in Fuensanta de Martos and offers a terrace. The air-conditioned accommodation is 39 km from Jaén, and guests benefit from complimentary WiFi and private parking available on site.

This country house with garden views has 6 bedrooms and 1 bathroom with a shower. Towels and bed linen are available.

NATURAL AREAS

Despeñadero
A large-scale natural monument, located on the banks of the Río de la Virgen, formed by a large rocky mountain with a vertical wall. In this area there are different caves, where deposits belonging to the Neolithic era have been found.

Cerro Gordo
Once used as landfill, this natural area is currently undergoing extensive reforestation.

COUNTRYSIDE WALKS

Ruta de la Ermita
This 33km route is typically done by bicycle, although can also be completed on foot. It takes approximately 4 hours from start and finish, and ends in Fuensanta.

GASTRONOMY

Dishes to try when visiting Fuensanta includes habas fritas con jamón y huevo (fried beans with Iberico ham and egg), lomo de orza (roast pork), setas (wild ceps), choto al ajillo (goat stewed in garlic) and gambas al ajillo (garlic prawns). Sweet treats include bienmesabe (custard buns), tirabuzones (doughnuts), pestiños (honey soaked pastries) and resol (coffee liqueur).

FESTIVALS

Popular festivals in Fuensanta are La Candelaría, San Isidro, San Juan, Feria and Romería del Carmen. More>

Bus Service

Cambus provide a two bus a day Monday to Friday and one on Saturday bus service M02-19 from Jaén city (Bus Station), Torredelcampo, Torredonjimeno, Martos and Fuensanta de Martos. (More>)

NEARBY PLACES

The neighbouring villages to Fuensanta are Martos, Castillo de Locubín and Los Villares.