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Martos

Martos

by Saskia Mier

Martos is considered the greatest producer of olive oil in Spain, and the world. This important city is situated beneath the Cerro de la Peña, topped with the ruins of the castle of the same name and has incredible views over a vast sea of olive trees. It has about 24,300 inhabitants.

HISTORY

The origins of Martos date back to prehistory. The development of a town in this location is undoubtedly due to the existence of the much earlier population nucleus of La Peña. Its strategic location, offering natural defenses, and abundant springs offering natural water sources were the determining factors that led to human settlement on its slopes. Despite the defense that La Peña offered, different civilizations that have passed through this human settlement have reinforced it with new defensive constructions. More>

Hotels in Martos

Book Hotels in Martos

Set in a park next to Martos Bull Ring, Hotel Hidalgo offers 3 terraces, a restaurant and a night club. Guests can use the municipal swimming pool, opposite the hotel, for free.

Each air-conditioned room has free Wi-Fi, a TV, minibar and a private bathroom with a bath tub. Some rooms feature views of Martos Bull Ring or the town.

This smart and comfortable hotel is located 10 minutes’ walk from the centre of Martos, a famous producer of olive oil. It offers a terrace, free Wi-Fi and rooms with a balcony.

Air-conditioned rooms at Ciudad de Martos feature functional decor and wooden floors. All come with a plasma TV, safe and a private bathroom with hairdryer.

Hotel Fernando IV is offering accommodation in Martos. Each accommodation at the 2-star hotel has city views, and guests can enjoy access to a shared lounge and to a terrace. The accommodation offers a 24-hour front desk, airport transfers, room service and free WiFi throughout the property.

THINGS TO SEE

Iglesia de Santa Marta
The church stands on the ruins of an Arab mosque as a result of the conquest of the town from the Islamic forces by Fernando III of Castile. The church is consecrated to the patron saint of the city, Santa Marta, and according to tradition, the remains of the Carvajal Brothers, Knights of the Order of Calatrava, who were executed in Martos in 1312, are buried there. Construction of the current church began in the fifteenth century. Following the aesthetics of the Gothic style, the main chapel and the baptistery were built covered with beautiful ribbed vaults. At the beginning of the sixteenth century, its main portal was erected, a splendid example of the Renaissance Gothic. In the middle of that same century,the church underwent an important transformation attributed to the architect Francisco del Castillo “El Mozo”, consisting of the rebuilding of its stonewalls, respecting the Gothic elements carved in stone: presbytery, baptistery and doorway, and raising new columnar supports of a giant Tuscan order of impeccable classicist modulation. Towards the year 1562, it is known that the master Francisco del Castillo finished building the tower, embedded in the building’s factory, and divided into three bodies. Located in Plaza de la Constitución. (Location)

Castillo de La Peña
This high fortress is the ruins of a fourteenth-century castle built by the Order of Calatrava, which was itself built over the ruins of another ancient Arab fortress; this, in turn, was constructed over another primitive Iberian-Roman fortification. It was one of the main defensive bastions that the Order of Calatrava had in front of the Nasrid Kingdom. Legend has it that the crime against the Carvajales Brothers took place in and around it, carried out by King Ferdinand IV of Castile, which cost the Monarch his life. Declared a National Historical Monument in 1985. (Location)

Castillo de la Villa
The urban castle, together with Castillo de la Peña, makes up one of the most important defenses that the Order of Calatrava had protecting the Kingdom of Granada. It sits on a rocky hill where the acropolis of the city of Tucci was located in the Iberian-Roman period, which in the Islamic period was converted into a hisn (fortified castle). The enclosure was attached to the Peña (rock) by walls, the remains of some of which are still preserved today. Declared a National Historical Monument in 1985. (Location)

Torre Almedina
This tower was built in the thirteenth century by the Calatravos monks, a solid ashlar construction with a height of approximately 25m. It is currently undergoing restorative works. Located on Calle Franquera. (Location)

Torre del Homenaje
The main tower of Castillo de la Villa offers excellent views over the fortress. Situated at the highest part of the city, it remains in a good state of conservation, having been restored. The ground floor was occupied by a cistern that would collect rainwater from the roof. The other two floors are covered by ashlar barrel vaults. The upper floor is covered by a vaulted roof, with a dome and brick pendentives. Currently, this tower is open to the public, since it has been repurposed as a Cultural and Historical Interpretation Centre. Located on Calle Primero de Mayo. (Location and Opening Times)

Muralla Urbana
Only a few fragments remain of the defensive wall, such as wall canvases and the aforementioned towers. The enclosure was oval-shaped, with each end pointing east and west respectively. However, actions are being carried out to recover and consolidate the fragments that are still standing. (Location)

Casa Consistorial (Ayuntamiento)
The Town Hall is situated in the former jail and council building, a monumental work that collects the most outstanding and innovative aspects of Andalusian Mannerist architecture. It was built by architect-sculptor Francisco del Castilloin the sixteenth century, standing out for its majestic façade and imperious exploded lintel on which a triangular pediment appears that is split to house the coat of arms of the Habsburgs. Located on Plaza de la Constitución. (Location)

Fuente Nueva
An ornamental fountain also by architect and sculptor Francisco del Castillo, finished in 1586. This architectural element is representative of the flourishing historical period of Martos, at the end of the sixteenth century, belonging to the Mannerist Renaissance style. The beauty and austerity of this local monument have, throughout history, served a dual function, both as a practical urban feature and as a monarchical symbol. Located at the intersection of Avenida Miraflores and Avenida Pierre Cibié de Martos. (Location)

Hospital San Juan de Dios
A remarkable seventeenth-century building, dated in keeping with the stately architecture of the surroundings. The façade, unlike the Baroque style of other buildings of the Order, is contrastingly sober. The door, made of wood and fitted with nails, gives access to a hall that communicates with a small square patio with a gallery of arches on both floors on square and carved pillars. The temple has a single nave and the presbytery is covered with an elliptical vault on pendentives. This building, which has been restored, today houses the INEM Headquarters, in what used to be a Hospital. Located on Calle San Juan de Dios. (Location)

Convento San Francisco
The convent dates to the sixteenth century and had an important impact on the population of Martos. Its façade stands out for its decorative richness, featuring stone renderings of human faces, foliage, geometric elements and shields. Located in Plaza de la Fuente Nueva. (Location)

Iglesia de las Madres Trinitarias
The church dates from the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, with a single nave that has deep square chapels on both sides that communicate with each other and also with the transept. Outside, the main façade has a sober Renaissance-style portal with a semicircular arch on imposts framed by boxed Tuscan pilasters and decorated with marquetry plaques. Located on Calle Real de San Fernando. (Location)

THINGS TO SEE OUTSIDE THE VILLAGE

Cortijo de Maria Luisa
The farmhouse is an easily accessible and spacious spot, ideal for people from the adjoining towns to get together on summer nights to enjoy the meteor shower. The wide horizon which the farmhouse faces is extremely dark at night, free from light pollution. It is easily reached from the village of Monte Lope-Álvarez. Going towards Albendín, close to the province border is a turn-off to the left to Alcaudete. At this point, you can see the large plain of cereals with the old farmhouse, preceded by a row of trees along the access road. It has a large area to leave your vehicle and settle to enjoy the night-time show. Located off the JA-4311. (Location)

Aceites Cortijo El Madroño
The Extra Virgin olive oil comes from the Picual olive selected and harvested on the Cortijo El Madroño estate.It is kept in an inert atmosphere in stainless steel cellars at constant temperatures so that the oil maintains all of its properties, which are reminiscent of the olive groves, almond trees and other aromatic herbs on the estate; leaving a mild, oily and fruity taste in the mouth, with aromas that blend well in the nose. It is slightly sharp and has a tart end note. On the farm, the fruit is harvested on sunny days and ground on the same day. This careful method has been passed down through generations for 200 years, and results in a limited-production  oil which has won several awards. Located off the J-213. (Location)

COUNTRYSIDE WALKS

Vía Verde del Aceite 
This greenway or railway path covers 55km between Jaén and the Guadajoz River, where it joins the Vía Verde of the Subbética. It is suitable for walkers, cyclists and wheelchair users. It follows part of the 120km-long Jaén-Puente Genil railway line used for transporting olive oil from the late nineteenth century onwards, linking Jaén with Málaga and Algeciras and opening up the market for oil. Dubbed the ‘tren de aceite’ (oil train), it was the first time olive oil could be moved in bulk.

Other popular routes in the area include Ruta de los Castillos y las Batallas, Ruta Mozárabe and Ruta del Nacimiento.

GASTRONOMY

The gastronomy of Martosoffers a wide variety of dishes in which Extra Virgin olive oil is the fundamental ingredient. Try dishes such as el hoyo (bread and oil), ajoblanco (chilled almond and garlic soup), picadillo de naranja (orange salad), potaje de habas (bean stew) and conejo con aceitunas (rabbit with olive sauce). Sweet treats include perrunillas (almond biscuits), mostachones (sponge cakes) and roscos de anís (aniseed doughnuts).

FESTIVALS

Popular festivals in Martosare San Juan de Dios, Fiesta de Santa María de la Villa, Romería de la Virgen de la Victoria, Fiestas de San Juan and Feria y Fiestas de San Bartolomé.More>

Bus Service

There is a bus service from Martos to Jaén bus station and other nearby villages. More>

Weather forecast

The weather forecast for the next few days for Martos. More>

Tourist office

The tourist office of Martosis located in the town hall. (Location)

NEARBY PLACES

The neighbouring villages to Martos are Jamilena, Torredonjimeno and Fuensanta de Martos.