EL REAL DE LA JARA
by Saskia Mier
El Real de la Jara forms part of the Parque Natural de la Sierra Norte de Sevilla (natural park), which makes it an ideal spot for nature lovers and outdoor activity enthusiasts. At certain points around the village you are able to enjoy views of the beautiful surrounding countryside. It has about 1500 inhabitants.
El Real de la Jara's origin dates to Roman domination, but it is in the Middle Ages when it becomes important, thanks to its strategic situation. Depopulated during the Gothic domination, it does not reappear in history until the Moorish era and Almohads in 1148.
The Moors named it 'Xara' and re-conquered by Fernando III El Santo. In 1498, Catholic Kings granted him the 'title of Real', which preceded 'Jara', and was granted numerous privileges and exemptions.
Its specific location, sitting on the original route of the Via de la Plata, made El Real de la Jara an important place, as well as being a stopping point for many pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago.
THINGS TO SEE
Casa de Cultura
A culture hall used for theatre acts, carnival plays and conferences. Located on Calle 28 de Febrero.
The Mudejar castle was built during the Christian era in the second half of the fourteenth century, and still conserve the original walls. Archaeological remains have been found on site of the castle, declaring it of cultural interest in 1985. Located at the end of Calle El Zumacal.
Ermita de Nuestra Señora de los Remedios
The chapel is suggested to originally have been an Arab mosque, where the Mihrab was conserved. It was used as a prison, after which it was restored by El Realejo workshop. Located on Calle Cervantes.
Iglesia de San Bartolomé
A Mudejar style church with original structures dating to the fifteenth century. Its interior holds the works of thirteenth century artists, including the painting of "Las Animas" attributed to Francisco de Zurbarán. Located in Plaza de San Bartolomé.
Plaza de Toros
The bull ring was built during the nineteenth century in 1927 with true Sevillian style and has since been restored. Located in Plaza Egido.
Ermita de San Antonio
The chapel was built in 1999, thanks to the collaboration of the villagers, this small brick building is located in the camping area of the Ribera del Cala.
Museo de Ciencias Naturales
The museum contains an important sample of archaeological remains extracted in different excavations of the castle, as well as a varied collection of native animals from the area, dissected by the taxidermist Rafael Díaz. The museum also houses the clock tower 'torre del reloj'. Located on Calle Cervantes.
For opening times, consult the town hall in Plaza de Andalucía, 954 73 30 07.
Mirador Cerro del Elejido
A viewpoint located within the centre of the village, next to the water deposit, with views over the wholes village and surroundings.
THINGS TO SEE OUTSIDE THE VILLAGE
Castillo de las Torres
Christian castle dating to the thirteenth or fourteenth centuries. It was reinforced in time with 'torres' (turrets) in the corners that justify its name of "Castillo de las Torres" (Castle of the Towers). Located in Calle José María Pedrero, which is over the border in Badajoz, but a short distance from El Real de la Jara.
Mirador de la Loba
A viewpoint overlooking the Sierra Padrona and its peak, highest in the province of Seville. Located on the SE-179 to Cazalla de la Sierra.
Ribera del Cala
A natural space currently used as a camping area, equipped with snack bars and other facilities. Located on the SE-177 west, turning off at Camino del Batrocal.
El Real de la Jara offers a range of walk routes for beginners right threw to more advanced walkers. These include Ruta de la Ribera del Cala, Ruta del Pantano o Batrocal, Ruta del Castillo, Ruta del Sendero de la Lobera, Ruta del Barranco de las Torres and Ruta de la Buitrera y de la Santa.
It is very typical in El Real de la Jara to enjoy all products derived from the Iberian pig, especially the guarrino frito (fried pork) and the caldillo (pork soup). Game meat is also very popular with dishes made with venison, rabbit and wild boar. There is also an important cheese industry in the area so it is worth trying some local cheese. As for sweet treats, the homemade honey pastries such as virutas realeñas, buñuelos de viento, flores, madejitas, piñonates and roscos.
Cabalgata de Reyes Magos
Three Kings procession on the evening of 5 January.
Celebrated in February.
Día de Andalucía
Celebrated on the 28 February.
Cruces de Mayo
Celebrated in May.
Celebrated on the 13 June.
Celebrated on the evening of San Juan, 24 June.
Celebrated in July.
Celebrated in August.
Feria y Fiestas en Honor de San Bartolomé
Celebrated on the 24 August
El Real de la Jara is located 78km from Seville. To get there, take the SE-30 towards Merida leaving Seville. Take exit 747 towards Zufre-Santa Olalla Sur-El Real de la Jara-Almadén and 2nd exit at the roundabout. At the next roundabout, take the 1st exit onto the A-5301, continuing until your reach El Real de la Jara.