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Mancha Real

Mancha Real

by Saskia Mier

Mancha Real is situated to the east of the capital of the province. It sits at the foothills of the Sierra Mágina, more precisely beneath the Peña del Águila. The town spreads across a landscape of smooth hills covered by vast and fertile olive groves, and has about 11,320 inhabitants.

HISTORY

The first indications of human presence in Mancha Real date to the Paleolithic era, in the settlement of El Soguero. During the Neolithic era (fifth and fourth millennium BC) and in the Bronze Age (third millennium BC) there were abundant settlements in this area, including those of Piedras Gil, Cerro Moreno, Cerro Alcalá and Peñaflor.More>

THINGS TO SEE

Plaza de la Constitución
The main square is an important meeting place for the locals, equipped with shady trees and benches to rest and talk. Many of the town’s most important streets converge at this point, including its emblematic Calle Maestra. The square is dominated by a music stand in the center, and is surrounded by some of the most interesting urban buildings, such as the Town Hall and the Iglesia de San Juan Evangelista. (Location)

Casa de Diego Martínez Vadillos
This palatial seventeenth-century house is also known as Casa de Doña Paz, named after the woman who lived there under usufruct with her two daughters until her death. The house stands out for its interesting stone doorway, which frames its entrance finished in a half point between fluted pilasters, where it supports an entablature showing a noble shield and from which a straight split pediment emerges. The house was designed by the famous Eufrasio López de Rojas, who also took part in the construction of the Iglesia de San Juan Evangelista. Located on Calle Maestra. (Location)

Iglesia de San Juan Evangelista
The church is the most significant cultural asset of Mancha Real, and its design and construction is credited to numerous prestigious architects from the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries, such as Andrés de Vandelvira, Juan de Aranda, Eufrasio López de Rojas and Ventura Rodríguez. Several researchers have suggested the intervention of Andelvira in the church’s design, based on a study of similarities with the right side of the Cathedral of Jaén. This theory is thrown into doubt by the church’s columnar structure, a model absent from any of Vandelvira’s other works. Nonetheless, the four sections with spherical vaults in the central nave and grooves in the sides could well attribute the church to Vandelvira and his school. In addition, the works were interrupted in 1575, the year of his death. The works resumed in 1614 and, by the middle of the century, at the initiative of Cardinal Baltasar Moscoso, the pace and quality of the works intensified. The reorganization of the internal space was proposed by Juan de Aranda, designing a high choir to take advantage of the wide gap that remained between the stirrups, but which he left unfinished. He designed the main portal, of extraordinary workmanship and beautiful composition, mannerist both in concept and in ornamentation, exquisitely carved in stone and structured like an altarpiece. From 1670, López de Rojas worked on the choir, covered the basement with a barrel vault with lunettes and traced the tower, another of the outstanding highlights of the temple, which he placed on the southwest side, further emphasizing the two doorways of the temple. Its base is quadrangular and the first body, devoid of decoration, is supported by strong stirrups. In 1775, he took charge of raising the second body of the Ventura Rodríguez tower, which left its mark on the balconies with a semi circular arch over imposts, boxed pilasters and triangular pediments with a shield on the tympanum. The body of bells, later restored, presents vases in the four corners on which the octagonal body rises, which supports a pyramidal spire. The complex and ornate temple was declared a Site of Cultural Interest in 1983. Located in Plaza Constitución. (Location)

Convento de San Juan de la Cruz
This former convent, with foundations dating from 1586, is now a private home. Of the previous building, only a small part of the façade is preserved, a section of exterior wall that appears divided into three sections by pilasters, the two lateral ones being blind and the central one open through the access door. The portal consists of a semi circular arch on imposts with a raised key and jambs supported on a plinth. The axis of each of the pilasters is crowned with pyramidal pinnacles. There are future plans to convert the building into a theatre. Located on Calle San Marcos. (Location)

Ermita de la Inmaculada
The chapel dates from the eighteenth century. Its main façade has a bench running at the foot, and its interior is accessed through a semi circular arch of exposed brick topped by a small niche. The composition is crowned by a belfry with a hollow for a bell and adorned with an iron cross. Located on Calle San Marcos. (Location)

Parque de la Alameda
The park is a huge public space that runs partly parallel to Parque del Emigrante. It is very popular for its extensive facilities, shady trees, colourful fountain and benches, as well as spaces for outdoor activities and children’s games.On July 23, 2011, the park was reopened after extensive re-modeling and the addition of the facilities visible today. (Location)

THINGS TO SEE OUTSIDE THE VILLAGE

Castillo de Ríez
This castle can be found in the Auringi countryside, and existed when the Roman legions under Scipio seized Jaén and the Carthaginians were defeated in the Battle of Castulo. It belonged to the Tarragona province and stood next to the Roman road from Guadix to Cástulo. The fortress was razed during barbarian invasions and rebuilt in the last years of the Visigothic rule, but it was also looted after the Arab conquest. In the times of Fernando III el Santo, after the taking of Jaén, the castle was rebuilt to defend the area, which was highly threatened by intrusions and Andalusian raids. At present only a few lines of walls presuppose their existence. Located north of Mancha Real, off the A-316. (Location)

Torre del Risquillo
Situated on a small hill,4m of the height of this quadrangular tower have been preserved. On the surface there are glazed ceramic elements, from the Medieval period, as well as some from the Roman era. Located north of Mancha Real, off the A-316. (Location)

Conde de Argillo
Conde de Argillo is the oil produced at Finca Arroyovil, in the foothills of the Sierra Mágina. From its springs come the waters used to irrigate its 8,000 centenary olive trees, which produce Extra Virgin olive oil of the Picual olive variety, which contains the highest content of oleic acid (80%), as well as polyphenols and phenolic acids that give it high antioxidant power, so that it can retain its quality for more than 18 months. At Finca Arrollovil, you can enjoy a rural house, La Cateta, and participate in the olive harvesting process (November and December) beforetastingthe oil. It is part of the OleoTour Jaén project, with the aim of promoting Oleotourism and the culture of the olive tree. Located Carretera Jaén-Baeza, Km35,5. (Location)

NATURAL AREAS

Peña del Águila
This Morrón consortium mountain, which reaches a maximum altitude of 1,540 meters, offers spectacular views over repopulation pine forests on dissolving limestones. It is located to the right of the path that leads to the top of Almadén, which is of geological interest since the bioclimatic floor changes drastically with the altitude. Mancha Real also has two spaces classified as Special Conservation Areas (ZEC) by the Ministry of the Environment of the Junta de Andalucía, which occupy approximately 7.5% of the total area of the municipality. One of these spaces corresponds to the Peña del Águila and is part of the project to expand the Sierra Mágina Natural Park.

GASTRONOMY

Traditional local recipes are still passed between generations in Mancha Real, including morcilla (black pudding) and the popular papajotes, a soft dough of flour and water that is fried in abundant olive oil, passed through the pan with the help of an iron mould that gives them the shape of donuts, and then sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar.

FESTIVALS

Popular festivals in Mancha Real are Fiestas de San José, Fiesta de San Marcos, Fiesta de San Isidro and Feria y Fiestas de la Virgen del Rosario.More>

Bus Service

There is a bus service from Mancha Real to Jaén bus station and to Ubeda, Carzola and other nearby villages. More>

Weather forecast

The weather forecast for the next few days for Mancha Real. More>

Tourist office

The tourist office of Mancha Real is located in the town hall. (Location)

NEARBY PLACES

The neighbouring villages to Mancha Real are PegalajarJaén City, Torres and Jimena.