This peaceful little town of less than 8000 inhabitants, equidistant between the Costa del Sol, Granada and Sevilla, has been an important cattle farming, leather production and mining centre since Roman times. Archaeological digs in the vicinity have uncovered Roman architecture and coins, as well as brass busts of Octavius, Claudius, Constantine and Trajan. Nowadays, however, it is mainly known as one of the key stops on the Algeciras-Bobadilla 'Mr Hendersons railway' line.
Car drivers, who will reach it 30km from Antequera on the A-384 (was N-342) which continues on to Olvera, Arcos de la Frontera and Jerez de la Frontera, will also find it a worthwhile diversion to see the flocks of brilliant pink flamingos that, in season, nest in the nearby La Fuente de la Piedra ('fountain of stone') waterlands.
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Like much of Andalucía, its post-Roman history followed the familiar pattern of Visigothic and Arabic invasion. It fell to the Christian forces relatively early in the Reconquest, in 1324, when the town was almost totally destroyed. It was considered sufficiently important to both Arabs and Christians to have been the subject of several fierce battles, notably in 1237 between the army of Mohamed Alhamar, Moorish king of Granada, and rebels from Campillos and nearby Loja. After the reconquest and fall of Granada in 1492, it was rebuilt and resettled by farmers and coal workers from Osuna and Teba.
THIINGS TO SEE
The most important monument in Campillos is its central Iglesia Parroquial Nuestra Señora del Reposo, the parish church of our lady of rest, which is just off the town's plaza central. The impressive bell tower was built by Fray (father) Miguel de Santísimo Sacramento in the 16th century. Its chief architectural style is Doric, with two stone facades, one Doric, the other baroque.
The main altar in the church features a pine tabernacle with eight columns "jónicas", that is, of the Ionian or Ionic school of architecture, with the familiar fluted columns and elaborate capitals of classical Greek architecture.
Also worth seeing is the Ermita de San Benito, the town's patron saint. The saint's modest hermitage was built between 1578-1569 although the building seen today was extensively rebuilt in 1756 and 1814. The vestiges of the town's Arab castle, el Castillo de Gobantes, loom over the centre.
Fuente de las Piedras is in fact only one of more than half a dozen of lagoons in the surrounding countryside. Even at 540m above sea level, these are salt water lakes, one, the Laguna Salada, is a gigantic salt pan where salt has been harvested for hundreds of years. More>
The most important fiesta is the one celebrating patron saint San Benito Abad, which is held on July 10-11 every year. The town's summer feria happens every first fortnight of August.
The local speciality is Porra Campillera, a dryish soup or stew with tuna, eggs and ham, similar to another, better known, regional speciality, salmoreja, which uses oranges, fried fish, cod and tuna. Peasant specialities using garbanzos are also popular.
Avda. Santa Maria del Reposo, 7
Tel: 952 72 21 68 and Fax: 952 72 31 05