by Saskia Mier
Marmolejo is popular with travellers who enjoy rural and active tourism. It is also home to one of Andalusia’s many spas, and part of its lands are at the foot of Sierra Morena, within the protected area that makes up the Sierra de Andújar Natural Park, an ideal enclave for sports such as hiking. It has about 6,760 inhabitants.
The 200 archaeological settlements catalogued in Marmolejo are testaments of the occupation of these lands during Prehistory and Antiquity, the oldest dating back to the Paleolithic era, located on the terraces of the rivers. In the third millennium BC, the land was occupied by small nuclei (Santa Cecilia, La Casilla de Maroto) and other larger ones, possibly fortified (La Aragonesa and Las Torrecillas), which served as defense to Marmolejo. More>
THINGS TO SEE
Torre del Depósito de Agua
The Marmolejo water tank tower was built in 1950 and restored in 1997. It has a capacity of 3,000m3 and is built in reinforced concrete with a coating of PVC sheets. Formerly, the Sancho Dávila football field marker was attached to one of its sides, although it was removed when the stadium was moved to its new location. At present, its dome houses communications equipment for the Local Police, Civil Protection and Municipal Television. Located off Calle San Sebastián.
The Town Hall was built in 1929 and refurbished in 1989. Its symmetrical façade is crowned with a central screed formed by two sections, topped with a belfry. Located in Plaza de la Constitución.
Iglesia Parroquial de Nuestra Señora de la Paz
The origins of this church date back to the fourteenth century. The transept was added to this primitive foundation in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries and the two portals in the eighteenth century. However, the church’s configuration today is the result of reform carried out at the end of the nineteenth century by the architect Justino Florez Llamas, according to the historicist and eclectic lexicography of the time. Located on Calle Iglesia.
Iglesia de Nuestro Padre Jesús
Also known as Ermita de Jesús, this church was one of many that existed in the town, according to the seventeenth-century historian Terrones Robles. Whilst the vast majority of these churches have been destroyed over time, this church has survived, thanks to restoration works carried out in 1887. This consolidation work was paid for by Teodoro Martel and Teresa Bernuy, Counts of Villaverde la Alta. After the Spanish Civil War it was looted, leaving only a marble tombstone located under the belfry. Located on Calle Jesús.
Museo de Arte Contemporáneo Mayte Spínola
The Mayte Spínola Contemporary Art Museum was created in 2004 using a donation from the artists belonging to the “ProArte y Cultura” Group, whose founder and director is Mayte Spínola, with Cristóbal José Relaño Cachinero being Mayor of Marmolejo. The Board of Trustees of this museum, chaired by the Mayor of Marmolejo, features writer Carmen Posadas, historian Carmen Iglesias, businesswoman Alicia Koplovitz and art patron Baronesa Thyssen. The museum is located in the courtyard of an early twentieth-century olive mill, in an exceptional building built in 2010. It is an eclectic collection that reflects the various trends of the second half of the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. Currently, it has more than 250 works by national and international artists. In 2016, the museum received an important donation of a collection of emergent sculptures from the sculptor Miguel Fuentes del Olmo, Emeritus Professor of the University of Seville and Medal of Andalusia. Located on Calle Jesús.
Friday and Saturday, 10:00-14:00hrs and 17:00-19:00hrs
Holidays, 10:00-14:00hrs and 17:00-19:00hrs
Guided tours by appointment only
Over 65, €1
Under 18, €1
Groups (min. 5 people), €1 per person
Tel: 626 908 226
Email: [email protected]ç
THINGS TO SEE OUTSIDE THE VILLAGE
Balneario de Marmolejo
The Marmolejo public spa building dates from the first half of the twentieth century, and is housed in an eclectically styled set of buildings on the banks of the Guadalquivir River. Among its beautiful gardens, a building from the end of the nineteenth century particularly stands out, known as Casa del Médico, which currently houses the Interpretation Centre. The Spa has three springs of mineral-medicinal waters (Fuente Agria, San Luis and Buena Esperanza) believed to heal the kidney, stomach and liver. Formerly it also had bathtubs where people could submerge themselves to obtain the benefits of the waters on their skin. This spa appears in the story of the novel “Sister San Sulpicio” by Armando Palacio Valdés. It has recently been renovated. Located north west of Marmolejo, off the A-420 km 7.
Centro de Interpretación del Balneario
The modern Interpretation Centre exhibits the history of the Marmolejo Spa with modern interactive resources and original historical pieces. Situated in the Casa del Médico, a nineteenth-century building that was once the Spa doctor’s office and a bathing and hydrotherapy centre, with beautiful classical gardens that house a valuable sculpture from the end of the nineteenth century, popularly known as ‘the Goddess Higea’, by the French sculptor Mathurin Moreau, from the Val d'Osne factory.
Monday, Wednesday-Saturday, 08:00-12:00hrs and 17:00-20:00hrs
Tel: 953 54 01 26
Puente de San Bartolomé
Work on the San Bartolomé Bridge began in 1550, in order to link the urban nucleus and fertile plains with the mountains. Its construction was completed in 1587. Located north west of Marmolejo, off the A-420.
Castillo de la Aragonesa
The fourteenth-century castle is currently privately owned, and its structure has undergone extensive damage, raising concerns for its long-term conservation. In 1993 the Junta de Andalucía granted special recognition to the castles of the Autonomous Community of Andalusia. Located west of Marmolejo, off the A-4.
Ermita de Santo Cristo
Built at the beginning of the nineteenth century, this chapel was situated at the end of the Via Crucis that was at the exit of the town leading towards the Spa. It was one of the stops on the route of the old tram. Located off the A-420.
Ermita de San José
This chapel was related to the religious cults of the inhabitants of the Marmolejo farm of La Centenera. The exact date of its construction is not known, although estimates place it somewhere in the mid-nineteenth century. The last patron of this chapel was Manuel Garzon y Guerrero, a notary from Andújar. At present, the chapel is in ruins. Located several kilometres north of Marmolejo.
Gran Hotel & Spa Marmolejo
The construction of this hotel dates from the 1920s. After many years of operation, it closed its doors until it was completely renovated in 2000. The Gran Hotel & Spa is a three-star hotel and medicinal spa built in a classic Andalusian style with a restful atmosphere where visitors can enjoy a healthy and tranquil holiday. Marmolejo is 65km east of Córdoba and about 220km from Málaga. The closest train station is in Andújar (10km away), while Jaén is 54 km away.
Control de la Cabrera
This viewpoint is especially suited to photographers and those with telescopes wishing to observe the night sky – both because of the advantageous situation of the spot, and the many electrical sockets in the guard’s hut which visitors can use for their equipment. Located north east of Marmolejo.
Sierra de Andújar Natural Park
The gently rolling 74,774ha Sierra de Andújar, part of the vast Sierra Morena, is densely wooded and boasts one of Andalusia’s best preserved expanses of Mediterranean forest and scrubland. Flowing through the rocky hills is the Yeguas River, with many lovely meditative spots along its banks. The more remote areas are inhabited by an impressive number of endangered species, such as the Pardel lynx, wolf, black vulture and imperial eagle.
Dishes to try when visiting Marmolejo include espinacas al estilo de Jaén (egg and spinach), ensalada de perdiz (partridge salad), pipirrana (pepper and tomato salad), andrajos con liebre (rabbit stew), bacalao a la Baezana (cod stew) and caracoles (snails). A very popular pudding is panecillos con leche y canela (bread pudding).
Popular festivals in Marmolejo are Candelaria, Feria y Fiestas de San Julián, Romería de San Julián, Fiesta de San Isidro and Romería de la Virgen de la Cabeza. More>