FUENTE DE PIEDRA
The village of Fuente de Piedra (with a population of approximately 2,000) is close to the Natural park and lake; Laguna de Fuente de Piedra. Due to the presence of the lake, it seems that man has been in this area since prehistoric times. Later, commercial links were maintained with the Phoenicians and the Carthaginians. During Roman times, the lake was named "Fons Divinus" or divine spring, due to the medicinal properties of the water. In 1461 Rodrigo Ponce de León of Marchena took possession of the area, overthrowing the Moors. A prosperous time followed, until the beginning of the 19th century, when continued drought caused a fall in the population. Now, in modern times, it is once again a thriving town in exceptionally beautiful natural surroundings.
The village itself is typically Andaluz with its whitewashed houses with wrought iron protecting the balconies. As well as a few impressive houses built for noblemen of the past, there is also the palace of the Marques of Fuente de Piedra, which dates back to the 19th century and is built in the neoclassic style.
There is only one church - that of the "Virgen de las Virtudes" - the patron saint of the village. It was built in 1891 in the neo-mudéjar style and has an interesting main façade, with a rather gothic like stain glass window over the main entrance.
The Donkey Sanctuary
While in Fuente de Piedra, it is well worth visiting the Donkey Sanctuary, where nearly 50 donkeys from all over the world have been saved and are being well looked after.
From miniature to giant donkeys, here size really doesn't matter. In Spanish it is called "El Refugio del Burrito' and is easy to find by turning off at the Hotel Conde de la Laguna until the end of the track. Open to visitors 7 days a week.
Tel: 952 735 513
If you like to see traditional village fiestas, there are various celebrations throughout the year:
January 6th. The 'Cabalgata' when the Three Kings go through the streets on decorated floats, giving out sweets to the children for Christmas.
In February 1st and 2nd is Carnival time in the village.
Day of Andalucia
February 28th is the Day of Andalucia. Shops shut and the village celebrates.
The second Sunday in May is the day when the people of the village have a huge celebration picnic in the country - the 'Romería' in honour of the patron saint, the Virgen de Las Virtudes.
Feria de Santiago
July 25th and for some days after, is the Feria de Santiago - the Santiago Fair.
Virgen de las Virtudes
September 7th and 8th sees the village fair in the name of the patron saint, the Virgen de las Virtudes. There are horse races, fireworks and a very interesting array of traditional outfits worn to celebrate this annual event.
If you decide to stay in the area, there are a couple of local, family run bed and breakfast establishments, rural tourism and also a camping site which is open throughout the year - Camping La Laguna, (Cat.2), Tel: (+34) 952 735294). There is also a family run 3 star hotel, Hotel Conde de la Laguna with swimming pool.
There are also around five or six small local bars and restaurants, where you can sample traditional dishes, such as gazpacho, rabbit in garlic or chic pea stew.