by Saskia Mier
Los Villares is situated in the midst of the Sierra de Jaén mountains, on the banks of the Frio River, to the south of the capital of the province. It is surrounded by olive groves and is famous for its wicker crafts. It has about 6,020 inhabitants.
A prehistoric civilization is suggested by various cave paintings on the walls of the Los Cañones area, bordering Jaén.There are also indications of Iberian and Arab settlements and remains of Roman civilization, including such treasures as coins, jewels and utensils found throughout the area.Many of these remains are now housed in the Archaeological Museum of Jaén. These numerous populations that once lived and flourished in Los Villares disappeared over time, due to continuous looting by bandits and deserting soldiers from the Nasrid Kingdom of Granada. This led to a gradual depopulation of the municipality, leaving it temporarily lifeless. More>
THINGS TO SEE
Iglesia Parroquial de San Juan Bautista
The original temple was founded by Juan de Requena and Bastián Ruiz del Salto on April 22, 1539, dedicated to SanJuan de Bautista. The first clergyman to serve it was Miguel de Biedma. During the seventeenth century,the small temple was in great need of expansion, and the famous architect Eufrasio López de Rojas was commissioned to carry out the simple project, but the project was halted due to a lack of funds. In May 1785, the Viceprior and factory manager, Manuel de Arredondo, requested the reform and expansion of the temple due to its poor condition. In June of that year, the master builder Ramón Maroto issued a detailed report on the works required to secure the old area and expand the temple. With the works authorized, work was started by the architect Miguel de Aranderas, who at that time was one of the most accredited in Jaén. The work involved, among others, the stonemasons Agustín Peinado, Manuel Caballero, Juan de Armenteros, Juan de Ortega and Pedro Caballero.The new temple was opened for worship in 1798. In 1829, it was once again the object of some remodeling, directed by Don Manuel Paedilla. During the tumult of the Civil War, the church was seized on August 3, 1936, leadingto its destruction. Nonetheless, today it preserves its primitive disposition typical of Mannerist religious architecture. Located on Calle Sacristía. (Location)
Casas Capitulares del Ayuntamiento
These houses were built on the site of previous ones, according to the proposal of the Council raised in 1769 to the Royal Council of Castile and authorized on June 14, 1773. The project was carried out by the architect Don Manuel López, and masons from Porcuna, Antonio Toribio and Juan de Huertas, assisted in the works. The architectural lines were inspired by the guidelines given by the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando. The building was inaugurated in 1775. It has more recently been rehabilitated whilst preserving its original eighteenth-century feel, and wasinaugurated in 1999. Located on Calle Parras. (Location)
Palacio de Vizconde
The Viscountcy of Los Villares was created by royal decrees of Felipe V issued on September 15, 1707 and May 2, 1708, and handed over to Don Francisco de Zeballos y Villegas Sainz y Solórzano (1655-1709). The Zeballos family wanted to remodel the large manor house that he owned in the town, transforming it into grand building better representative of his noble status. The result was the current palace, better known locally as the “Casa Grande”.The main façade, somewhat disfigured by modern remodeling, has the typical layout of eighteenth-century Granadan stately homes, and is made of fine ashlar. The interior features many original details, including the patio, the stately staircase covered by a graceful vault, some corbels and footings made of carved wood and the remains of paintings and coffered ceilings. Located on Calle Carera de Jesús. (Location)
THINGS TO SEE OUTSIDE THE VILLAGE
The beginnings of the family-owned Almazara Jiménez oil mill dates back to the end of the nineteenth century. Today, it is managed by the third generation, and its production methods are built on principles of sustainable development and high quality. The olives come from the surrounding groves, which have served rural families for centuries. Integrated production and a careful, early harvest are promoted and incentivized amongst farmers. Highlights of the annual production includethe high percentage of Extra Virgin ground each day, the cold extraction, natural separation and storage in a carefully temperature-controlled cellar.Located on Antigua Carretera de Martos, Km 1.7. (Location)
Hotels in Los Villares
Book Casa Rural near Los Villares
Ruta Natural de la Sierra
This route, part of which is shared with the Ruta Puerto del Navatrillo, is undoubtedly the longestlocal walking itinerary, running approximately 9km through rural roads and trails in the municipality, inviting you to enjoy fully the mountainous beauty of Los Villares.
Ruta Puerto del Navatrillo
This circular route of 7.4kmis composed of rural roads and trails. Its panoramic views will delight photography enthusiasts, and geology lovers will be able to visit places of great interest, as well as discover the remains of cave paintings in the Contadero Cave. There is a good rest area on the route with picnic facilities.
Ruta del Cerrejón
If you are looking for the best panoramic view of Los Villares, you will find it on this route. As well as the chance to soak up the best of the natural environment surrounding the town, dotted along the route are testimonies of ancient ways of life, including cultivation terraces, farmhousesand water flour mills.This route is also manageable at just 3.7km.
When visiting Los Villares, try local dishes such as atascaburra (potato, cod, tuna and egg salad), pipirrana (tomato, pepper and onion salad) andchoto (goat). Sweet treats include bollo de calabaza (pumpkin sponge cake), pan de higo (fig bread) androscos fritos (fried doughnuts).
Popular festivals in Los Villares are Fiestas de Nuestra Señora del Rosario, Fiestas de San Juan and Romería de San Juan.More>
There is not a bus station in Fuensanta de Martos. The central main bus stop is located outside the town hall in Plaza de la Constitución. There is a bus service to Jaén bus station. More>
The weather forecast for the next few days for Los Villares. More>
The tourist office of Los Villares is located in the town hall. ((Location)