by Saskia Mier
Torredelcampo is situated to the west of the capital of the province, between the mountains and flat plains, in a landscape dominated by olive trees.It offers the inland tourist rich natural heritage and historic monuments. It has about 14,200 inhabitants.
The first signs of human occupation in the area are testified by lithic rubble unearthed during archaeological digs on sites near the municipality. However, the most important and numerous vestiges date from the Iberian period.
During the Roman occupation, the Iberian settlement scheme was maintained. The origin of the current municipality is closely related to the ancient settlers of the Iberian oppidum of Cerro Miguelico, partially abandoned after a deep crisis between the first and second centuries AD, with part of its population relocated to the Northwest slope and to the current site of the town, where several small settlements were established, centred around the agricultural exploitation of small irrigated orchards.
THINGS TO SEE
Iglesia de San Bartolomé
This church is a partly medieval construction, a style still visible in some areas such as the sacristy and the main altar, however, most of the current configuration was builtin the sixteenth century, with works by Don Francisco del Castillo “El Viejo” and his son, Don Francisco del Castillo “El Mozo”. Its bell tower has a heraldic shield belonging to the Bishop of the Diocese of Jaén, Don Sancho Dávila y Toledo (1600 -1615). Its interior houses the Cristo de la Vera Cruz (1580-1604),thehead of which is attributed to the sculptor Salvador de Cuéllar. (Location)
THINGS TO SEE OUTSIDE THE VILLAGE
This hill is in the Jabalcuz massif, which is part of the Sierra de La Grana. In the western and southern areas, there is a stretch of cyclopean wall, possibly from the first century AD. The wall measures about 6m in height and 20m in length. In the 1960s,remains of a Roman house were discovered in the surrounding lands. (Location)
Castillo del Berrueco
The castle is situated next to the old crossroads of Jaén, Arjona, Iliturgi and Martos. Its position is one of great strategic value, as suggested by the settlement of Cerro San Antón. The castle rises on a rocky ledge and is organised in two sections, the upper of which is crowned with two circular towers and one with a square plan. (Location)
Torre de la Muña
After the conquest of Torredelcampo at the hands of Fernando III “El Santo”, castles in the area such asCastillo del Berrueco were reformed and expanded and new watchtowers were built, among them the Torre de la Muña. It is located at 379m above sea level, between the junction of the Torrelampérezstreamsto the west and Las Correderas to the east. It is 1,640m to the north of the Castillo de Castriz. The square medieval tower was built between the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, with irregular masonry reinforced with ashlars at the corners. It is likely to have been the keep of a small rural castle. (Location)
This ruined watchtower is located on a rocky promontory of the same name, 479m above sea level. It would once have controlled the road from Jaén to Arjona, being delimited to the east and north by the Cortijo de Piedra Partida stream. It is thought to date from the second half of the thirteenth century, although the oldest existing historical reference to the building is from 1311. It was built in Andalusian times and reformed after its conquest by the Castilians. It is cylindrical in shape, 8m in diameter and maintains a height of about 7m, with a door located several meters above ground level. (Location)
Vía Verde del Aceite
This Vía Verde del Aceite (greenway) 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.This greenway follows part of the 120km-long Jaén-Puente Genil railway line used for transporting olive oil from the late nineteenth century onwards, linking Jaen 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. The line also carried coal from the Belmez mine, as well as lead and other minerals from the mines in Linares, to the port in Málaga. However,the railway was unprofitable and closed in 1985.
Bosque de la Bañizuela
The Bañizuela Forest is a natural monument; this inland Mediterranean forest is a unique oasis amidst a dry climate and houses numerous beautiful species. It has up to 22 species of trees and 15 unique types of sub-humid mushroom, with an ancient garden with very old botanical species.Surrounded by olive groves, it is characterized by the presence of gall-oak and undergrowth consisting of laurustinus, adelfilla, kermes oaks, yellow jasmine, honeysuckle, and the interesting, leguminous, bladder senna. In the lower parts of the Jaéncountryside, wherever the land is not covered by olive trees, there are patches of isolated vegetation, especially in the peaks of the small hills, where the remains of holm oaks mix with the broom and thyme.
When visiting Torredelcampo, try local dishes such as potaje de habas (bean stew), judías con perdiz (partridge with beans), potaje de acelgas y espinacas (chard and spinach stew), migas (breadcrumbs fried with chorizo), choto al ajillo (garlic goat) and flamenquín (pork roll filled with jamón). Sweet treats include dulces de almendra (almond sweets), mazapanes (marzipan), roscos de vino (aniseed biscuits) and pestiños (sweet honey pastries).
Popular festivals in Torredelcampo are Romería de Santa Ana, Fiesta de San Antón, Semana Santa and Feria y Fiestas de Santa Ana.More>
Ayuntamiento de Torredelcampo, Plaza Pueblo, 11 (Location)