Villanueva de la Reina
by Saskia Mier
Villanueva de la Reina is a mountain municipality dominated by plains and a landscape of holm oaks and pine forests. The town was on the route of the Roman Vía Augusta. It has about 3,040 inhabitants.
Its history dates back to the Lower Paleolithic era, as testified by vestiges found on terraces of the Guadalquivir River. The settlement of La Crujía farmhouse is an archaeological site dating to the Neolithic era. Human presence during the Iberian era is also evidence by settlements and the discovery of abundant ancient Iberian ceramics. More>
THINGS TO SEE
The Town Hall is a large two-story building with two ashlar stone facades. On the main façade, the portal is set within a hollow framed by a semi-circular arch and Doric semi-columns; a cornice separates it from the upper floor, where a trilobed balcony opens. The left side is composed of three semicircular arches on columns on the ground floor and lintel-shaped openings on the upper floor. Next to it is a high tower, which is topped with a clock and belfry. Located in Plaza Andalucía. (Location)
Ermita del Santo Cristo
The chapel was designed by Miguel Peinado in 1953. Inside, the image of San Isidro, patron of the district of La Quinteria, is preserved. Located on Calle Santo Cristo. (Location)
Iglesia de la Natividad
This fifteenth-century church is typically Renaissance in style. The large temple has a central nave that ends in a ribbed vault where the main altar is presided over by an altarpiece from 1961, the work of Mariano Piñar Ferrer helped by his disciple, a native of Villanueva called Juan María Medina Ayllón. The previous altarpiece from the Alonso Berruguete School, probably from Sebastián Solís, was burned during the Spanish Civil War. It consists of two lateral naves separated by four columns from the central one, and a chapel, “La Del Rosario”, in the Andalusian Rococo style. Located in Plaza de la Constitución. (Location)
THINGS TO SEE OUTSIDE THE TOWN
Cuevas de Lituergo
The Lituergo caves are houses next to the Guadalquivir River, which served to shelter many families from the town. At the peak of their use, there were more than fifty caves, and each had a living room, kitchen and bedroom. Before the Spanish Civil War, they were already inhabited by some families, but it was after the War that a large number of people came to make them their own. Because of the limited machinery available at the time, many of the caves took many months to build even the entranceway. The caves were painted with lime and blue, and the floors were made of peat, known as ‘crema para las cucharas’ (cream for spoons), because it was used to wash cutlery when detergent was not yet available. Simón was the Mayor of the caves, respected by all the locals, not least for showing his face during the visits of the Civil Guards. There was no shortage of water thanks to a natural spring that was born inside the mound that covered the caves. In the cave of ‘Juanillo el Quinto’, there was dancing every week, to the rhythm of his accordion. They even put on a play in one of the largest caves, and made the costumes out of paper for the occasion. (Location)
Hermejor de la Reina
Almazara Hermejor de la Reina is an oil mill designed according to the most innovative technological concepts, combining traditional values with functionality and aesthetics. The building, inspired by the Egyptian Pyramid of Cheops, is a single structure made of stone, stainless steel and glass. Hermejor de la Reina, unlike most other mills, has no cylindrical decanters. These vessels mix oils without distinguishing between qualities and prevent the elimination of residues that ferment over time and transmit bad smells to the rest of the content. Therefore, the natural juice obtained is moved to “floating” tinolliums, whose shape, used in the past by the Phoenicians, allows the residue left after separation to be fully removed. The tinolliums are balanced against a point that instantly weighs the amount produced and allows its origin to be checked and for there to be full individual monitoring of each batch produced, followed by characterization through analysis and tasting for subsequent delivery to the cellar. La Almazara Hermejor de la Reina emerged as a company in order to expand the production and sales of an exclusive olive oil. Located north east of Villanueva de la Reina, off the J-2320, in Cortijo Angulo. (Location)
Discover the world of olive growing and biotechnology through a unique experience, and let yourself be carried away by the passion of one of the most internationally recognised and prestigious olive oils. The mill was awarded by AEMO in 2013, and the olive groves offer one of the best sources of oil. Guided visits to the mill are available, where the production process is explained from the reception of the fruit to the storage and packaging. It also includes a tasting of oils, where the basic principles of sensory analysis are explained. Located north of the town, Casa del Agua, off the JV-5013. (Location)
This bridge is, importantly, one of the first reinforced concrete bridges built in Spain and currently in operation. It was executed by expert civil engineer Ramón del Cuvillo, who, through his explanations, offers a broad vision of the historical value of this bridge, a symbol of modernity due to the materials and technology that were used in its construction. Located on the A-6075. (Location and more)
Sierra de Andújar Natual 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 spots to sit and meditate along its banks. Its 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 Villanueva de la Reina include pollo en pepitoria (stewed chicken), potaje de garbanzos (chickpea stew), bacalao encebollado (cod stew), migas (fried breadcrumbs with pork) and esparragada (local asparagus). Sweet treats include bienmesabe (custard buns), tirabuzones (doughnuts), pestiños (honey soaked pastries) and resol (coffee liqueur).
Popular festivals in Villanueva de la Reina are San Antón, Semana Santa, Romería de Santa Potenciana, San Isidro and Fiestas Patronales. More>
The tourist office of Villanueva de la Reina is located at the town hall. (Location)