Córdoba Province - Almodóvar del Río

The castle of Almodóvar del Río © Michelle Chaplow
The castle of Almodóvar del Río, a hidden gem indeed. (Click To enlarge photos)

ALMODÓVAR DEL RÍO

Almodóvar del Río is situated on the banks of the Parque Natural Hornachuelos, and is famous for its castle built by the Moors in 740. Today the famous Castillo de Almodóvar, which was used in the filmGame of Thrones, is one of the best-preserved monuments in Andalusia and can be seen towering over the town, from the Córdoba-Seville road and train line. It has about 7,900 inhabitants.

HISTORY

The origins of the town date to the Paleolithic era, where it became an ideal area to settle due to its privileged geographical situation. Civilisations such as Neolithic, Iberian, Roman, Visigoth and Arab, which have passed through this area, have all left some sort of trace of their culture. An Iberian-Turdetano fortified settlement that stood where the current town is today was identified as "Cárbula", mentioned by Plinio. It exported local products such as oil and cereals, as well as developing an important ceramic industry and silver mining.

The Moorish era was a great development and in the year 740 the Moors built a fortress called Al-Mudawwar, named after the town. During the eighth, ninth and tenth centuries the fortress and its terminus formed part of the province of Córdoba, while in the eleventh century it was first assigned to the Taifa of Carmona and later to that of Seville. With the Almoravids, the settlemen trejoined the Córdoba jurisdiction and in the sixteenth century and part of the seventeenth century came to depend on the Almohad Court of Seville.

In 1240 it was incorporated into the Crown of Castile by Fernando III, and handed over three years later to the Council of Córdoba. In 1267, during the reign of Alfonso X, limits were established between Almodóvardel Río and Posadas. During the fifteenth century, the ownership of the Castlewas linked to the Casa de Baena y Cabra.

Almodóvar del Río and its Castle served as a deposit to purchase Fuente Obejuna in 1513, but returned to the Crown. The town had royal jurisdiction, linked to the city of Córdoba, until Felipe IV agreed to the sale of Almodóvar del Río in 1629. The buyer was Francisco del Corral y Guzmán, Knight of the Order of Santiago.

This town has participated in many historical events over the last few centuries, such as the War of Independence, the confiscation of Mendizábal and, finally, the peasant movement of the Second Republic, the Civil Warand mass emigration of fellow citizens in the seventies.

THINGS TO SEE

Castillo de Almodóvar
The Castle was restored and expanded by Alfonso XI "the Avenger" in the thirteenth century and then Pedro"the Cruel", who built the main Mudejar part of the Alcazar of Seville. Most recently the castle was rebuilt in the early twentieth century by the then-owner, the twelfth Count of Torralva, and his architect friend Adolfo Fernandez Casanova (who restored Seville Cathedral), with 800 workers taking 36 years (1901-1937) to finish the project. Neither man lived to see its completion, and who knows what the Count's total financial investment was. More>

Ermita del Rosario y San Sebastián
The date of the church's construction is not known exactly, but because of its dedication to San Sebastián, protector against diseases and epidemics, and its location outside the town, it is thought to have been built during the Fernando era or the last third of the fourteenth century. Shortly after the arrival of the black plague in the town, it served as a parish until the middle of the seventeenth century, when the church was restored and eventually abandoned. After its use as a school, a prison after the Civil War and a grain warehouse, it was restored in 1973 and later in 1992. Today it shares a dedication with Nuestra Señora del Rosario. Located on Calle Santo.

Iglesia de la Inmaculada Concepción
The primitive church dates from the middle of the fourteenth century but its current image is from 1627, when it was completely renovated, and in 1756 it underwent a new restoration. In May 1991, a fire devastated the Baroque altarpiece. Located on Calle Maestro Amalio Labajo.

Capilla del Convento
The chapel constituted the hermitage of the old Hospital, which later became a Convent and dates to the sixteenth century, being the oldest religious building in the town. In 1521 it was blessed by Bishop Cristóbal Fernández Barrionuevo, and in 1593 it was restoredby Hernán Ruiz III. Located on Calle Julio Romero de Torres.

Museo Etnológica Ángel Estévez
An ethnological exhibition that immersesvisitors in the past through more than 4,000 pieces, making it unique in the province of Córdoba. Starting from a small family legacy, its creator has been creating and enhancing the collection since 1970 with pieces from the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth century's. Visitors learn about extinct ways of life in which agriculture and livestock played a fundamental role for the economy and subsistence, and trades were exercised in an artisanal way with the help of scarce and rudimentary technology. Located on Calle Traquio.
Tel: 649 45 25 80.

Exposición de Máquinas de Coser y Carteles de Toros
The founder of this collection began with an interest insewing machines in 1980,repairing a family machine. Since then, the founder has collected about two hundred machines, the oldest from 1860, of different typologies and more than ten nationalities, providing a journey of discovery through the evolution of this great invention. Amongst its various authentic jewels is a special editionfrom the fiftieth anniversary of the Singer brand, of which only twelve arrived in Spain, and an "Elna" designed specifically for the Second World War. The collection also includes a sample of more than 500 bullfighting posters from 1887 to 1970. Located on Calle Pérez Galdos.

Opening Times:
Saturdays
Tel: 667 40 69 85

Exposición de Taxidermia
Manuel Cañete is one of the most prestigious taxidermists nationwide. He has been exercising this art since 1969 and his works have crossed borders, from France to the United States, passing through Portugal. Although he works with all kinds of animals, from African to Spanish native species, he has gained special recognition in the bullfighting world for the naturalness he achieves in the finishing of the bulls. Located on Calle María Zambrano.

Tel: 957 71 34 08, 646 52 23 68, 667 34 66 94.
Email: info@taxidermiatoro.com

Exposición de Escultura José Manuel Herrera
Guided by his passion for ancient sculpture and in a totally self-taught way, José Manuel Herrera began to sculpt stone in 2010. Hecollects limestone and sandstone blocks from the area that he converts into round-shaped sculptures based on the Iberian world.

Continuing with his technical and stylistic evolution, he expanded with a range of Roman-inspired motifs, zoomorphic figures and reliefs inspired by ancient Mesopotamian cultures. He also dared to work with marble and to model with clay reproductions of various archaeological pieces. Currently the exhibition holds more than one hundred works on display. To arrange a visit, contact via telephone: 669 07 8707.

Taller de Mosaico
The mosaic workshop of Ángel Vargas has been around since 2001. This self-taught craftsman was able to combine his passion for classical culture and archaeology and materialise them in mosaics. He has managed to master ancient and modern techniques inspired by the classical and Byzantine worlds, and in his own designs he uses 10,000 pieces per square metre of different materials such as marble, natural stone, river boulders, enamels and vitreous pastes. Located on Calle Pairejas.

Tel: 667 900 417
Email: info@mosaicosartesanosalmodovar.com

Taller de Cerámica Hermanos Pérez Pastor

The Pérez Pastor brothers began their journey with ceramics in 1998.Since then they have used techniques such as dry rope as well asgreen and manganese ceramics of Andalusian origin. They make all different kinds of pieces from domestic to commissioned works, including tile murals, decorative pieces and trophies. A special mention should be made of archaeological reproductions such as Roman and Arabic lamps, Roman amphoras, Andalusian dishes, vases and Iberian dishes, as well as other pieces of interest that can be admired in its exhibition, which also houses a recreation of a traditional ceramic oven and photographs that illustrate the history of ceramic production in the region.
To arrange a visit, contact via telephone: 676 429 747.

Ateneo Popular
A typical example of a manor house built in 1777 for Don Luis Natera, currently housing the headquarters of the Popular Athenaeum, an institution founded in 1925 to promote science and culture in the town. The poet Ricardo Molina was appointed honorary partner of the Athenaeumin 1952. Located in Plaza de la Constitución.

THINGS TO SEE OUTSIDE THE VILLAGE

Portus Romano
Located on the right bank of the Guadalquivir, it is one of the most important Roman vestiges, with its situation facilitating access to the great river. The ceramic cooking chambers of Temple and Villaseca, which produced amphorae vessels to transport oil to Rome, were on the left bank of the Guadalquivir and it is suggested that the workshop either owned a wharf of its own or transported vessels in barges to this port, storing them for shipment. Located on Calle Extrarradio.

NATURAL AREAS

Almodóvar del Río has some wonderful natural spaces surrounding it that are ideal for walkers, bird-watchers or anybody who just enjoys the countryside.

Parque Natural Sierra de Hornachuelos

The Natural Park belongs to the Sierra Morena massif, with an area of 60,032 hectares including part of the municipalities of Almodóvar del Río, Hornachuelos, Posadas, Villaviciosa de Córdoba and Córdoba. Its soft-relief mountains are colonised by oak forests, and the endangered lynx stands out among its rich fauna, all representing a natural enclave of great importance where it is possible to admire still well-preserved Andalusian mountain landscapes.

Other natural areas of interest include the Río Guadalquivir, Embalse de la Breña, Zona Recreativa Cañada Real Soriana Oriental and Ruta de a Guadalmazán.

GASTRONOMY

When visiting Almodóvar del Río, try some of their traditional dishes including gazpacho, salmorejo, rabo de toro (oxtail), mazamorra (cold almond and garlic soup, usually served with hard-boiled egg and jamón) and croquetas (croquettes usually made with stewed meat or wild ceps).

HANDICRAFTS

Crafts still produced in the town are taxidermy, ceramics, mosaics and leatherwork.

FESTIVALS

Cabalgata Reyes Magos
Three Kings procession celebrated on the evening of 5 January.

Carnaval
Celebrated in February.

Semana Santa
Holy Week.

Romería de la Virgen de Fátima
Celebrated the Sunday before 13 May.

Fiesta de los Patios
Celebrated 19-23 May. Patios and balconies are decorated with colourful flowers and open to the public to tour.

Noche de San Juan
Celebrated 23 June.

Verbena de Agosto
Celebrated in August.

Feria de la Virgen del Rosario
Celebrated first week of October.

NEIGHBOURING AREAS

The nearby villages to Almodóvar del Ríoare Posadas, Guadalcázar and Córdoba.

 

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