by Saskia Mier
Jamilena belongs to the Martos district and is situated to the west of the capital, at the foot of the Sierra Sur mountains, nestled in a distinctive landscape of infinite olive groves. It has about 3280 inhabitants.
The known origins of Jamilena extend back about 2,500 years. Its early settlement was testified by the 1931 discovery of a necropolis and series of tombs in La Dehesa. Archaeological excavations on this site suggest a population nucleus of Iberians around the fifth century BC. However, this necropolis is predated further by the series of arrowheads and lithic instruments discovered in El Calvario by the Franciscan archaeologist Alejandro RecioVeganzones, which are thought to have belonged to the Palaeolithic period, specifically to the Solutrean industry.More>
THINGS TO SEE
Iglesia Parroquial de Nuestra Señora de la Natividad
The church was built in the second half of the sixteenth century at the wish of Emperor Carlos V. The plans were made in 1559 by Francisco del Castillo “El Mozo”, the prestigious Italian-trained architect, who directed the works until his death, after which his brother, Benito, took over. Construction advanced slowly due to the lack of economic resources and by1600 it was still not completed.The temple was built, as established by the customs of the Order of Calatrava, on the place occupied by the previous hermitage of Nuestra Señora de la Estrella. The dome near the presbytery preserves seventeenth-century paintings, while those that can be seen on the intrados are from the second half of the twentieth century.The main entrance is reached by a small stairway, above which stands the bell tower. The most significant feature is the mannerist bucranium of the second body of the tower, a kind of ornamental mask with garlands, inspired by Serlio’s drawings, which clearly denotes the authorship of Francisco del Castillo. Declared a Site of Cultural Interest in 1994. Located on CalleIglesia.
Ermita de San Francisco
This contemporary chapelwas built in 1920, and its clear volumetric and expressive profile has made it a site of artistic interest. Its stylization and exterior decoration are inspired by the late Spanish-American Baroque. Its construction was ordered by Felipe Martínez Garrido, a former rich owner of Jamilena. The chapel’s architecture also takes inspiration from some early twentieth-century buildings in Andújar. Several canvases of great value are kept inside the chapel, including a seventeenth-century representation of San Francisco Solano. Located on Paseo Fuente Mayor.
This is a group of houses built in the first halfof the twentieth century,which stand out for theirinterior and exterior ornamentation. The first house, located at No.14,was built in the 1910s, attributed to the architect José Corbellá Pené, and belonged to the Martínez family. Another house located at No.9 wascommissioned by Julio Martínez Román around 1928, and displays regionalist influences; the same can be seen at No.13, which was built in 1905 and destroyed in October 2014. Located on CalleLlana.
Its construction dates from 1887, according to the project of Jaén-based architect Justino Flórez Llamas. It was built on the sites previously occupied by the prison, the Town Hall houses and a bread oven, which had to be demolished so that the site where the new Town Hall was to be built would be larger. Since then, the municipal offices and the law courts have been located here. This municipal building underwent several renovations and modifications in the late 1960s. The most recent renovation was completed in 2020. Located in Plaza de la Constitución.
This fountain, located next to the Ermita de San Francisco,supplied water to the municipality and served as a drinking trough and municipal laundry area. The current construction is from 1980 and was built on top of the ruined former fountain from1713. However, the existence of afountain on this site has been documented since the fifteenth century. Located on Paseo Fuente Mayor.
Legend has it thatat the end of the seventeenth century, a devoted married couple lived onJamilena’sCalleOscura. Juan Cárdenas and María Potenciana Bonillahad no children but great faith. Cárdenas worked in the fields, and when possible, he went to Torredelcampo to sell firewood.Potencia longed to own a canvas of Our Lord carrying the Cross on the way to Calvario, and on one of his trips to Torredelcampo, Cárdenas met with a young man in“Los Picones” to buy such a painting for his wife. He took the painting, but agreed with the seller that he would pay him when he returned from selling firewood. True to his word, Cárdenas returned to the spot later that day – but the seller had disappeared. Cárdenas waited all afternoon, eager to pay his debt, but the young man never returned. He eventually went home, carrying the painting of Nuestro Padre JesúsNazareno to his wife. Over time, the image became venerated in Jamilena as well as in many neighboring towns. Today, Los Picones is a crossroads, with Camino Real leading to Martos on one side and the road that leads to Jamilena on the other. In August 2004 a small monument was built here to commemorate the legend of the donated painting. The residents of Jamilena and the surrounding towns visit the spot regularly and there is never a shortage of flowers on the monument.
THINGS TO SEE OUTSIDE THE VILLAGE
Ermita de San Isidro
This chapel’s architecture is composed of very simple lines, and inside it is venerated to San Isidro Labrador, patron saint of farmers. Located 3km west of Jamilena on Carretera de la Sierra.
Baños de la Salvadora
Archaeological remains of medicinal baths supposedly from the Arab period, although some researchers suggest they may be Roman. They feature a series of circular baths with access stairs. Located south east of Jamilena, at the end of Calle Emperador Carlos V.
Ermita el Calvario
According to legend, this small chapel was Father Rejas’s favorite place to pray intimately in solitude, the purpose for which it was built. It was reconstructed in 1984. It is housed in a grove of pine trees and surrounded by wonderful views. The location is also the place where evidence of the first human settlements in Jamilenawerefound, dating from the Paleolithic period. Numerous lithic remains have been found of the Solutrean industry, a lithic quarry, megalithic remains and a Chalcolithic necropolis. Located off Camino de la Dehesa.
Sierra de Jamilena
Jamilena has a mountainrangeformedbyPecho de la Fuente, Cueva de la Dehesa, Peñablanquilla (or Pecho del Espinar) and Sierra de la Grana, with a maximumaltitude of 1,240m. The Sierra can be traversed viaits many trails and you can enjoy its abundant natural setting with wonderful landscapes and views. This mountain range is also used for mountain sport activities and animal grazing.
Since ancient times, locals have prepared their traditional delicacy, arroz con conejocaldoso (rice and rabbit). For the Carnival, it is traditional to prepare el relleno, which is made with the salted stomach of a pig, filled with ham and chopped chorizo. When el relleno is not stuffed into the pig’s stomach, but allowed to cook like a simple meatball, it is known as albondigón. DuringEaster, the guiso de bacalao con patatas (cod stew with potatoes)is a traditionally eaten on Good Friday. Other dishes worth trying include machacao (tomato, pepper, orange, tuna and egg salad) and sopa de ajo (garlic soup). Sweet treats include roscosfritos (fried sugar doughnuts) and hornazos (pastries filled with a hard-boiled egg).
Popular festivals in Jamilena are Día de San Antón, Semana Santa, Romería de San Isidro and Feria de Agosto.More>
Ayuntamiento de Jamilena, Plaza de la Constitución, 15 Location