Segura de la Sierra

Segura de la Sierra

It is evident at first glance that Segura de la Sierra is part of the Ruta del Castillo (Castle Route) through the lands of Andalusian. Its urban centre, which was declared a Historical and Artistic Site, is crowned by an impressive castle of Muslim origin remodelled during the Christian era, which has the category of National Monument. Just behind the castle you can also see the so-called Torre del Agua, a watchtower-type tower similar to the Torre del Espolón that is also found in the municipality of Segura de la Sierra. It has about 1800 inhabitants.

HISTORY

The history of Segura de la Sierra goes back in time to the dawn of civilisation. The rock paintings found in the caves of Collado del Guijarral and Cueva de la Diosa Madre attest to the human presence in these lands since the fourth millennium BC. Closer to the urban centre of Segura is the settlement called Segura la Vieja, located at the top of a mountain a few kilometres from the village of Moralejos which had traditionally always been attributed by the locals to peoples such as the Iberians, Phoenicians and even to the Bronze Age. The truth is that its remains, poorly preserved and little studied, still hide their true origin, although the most plausible hypothesis is that they must have come from a Roman town, given the numerous remains of this nature present nearby. More>

THINGS TO SEE

Ayuntamiento
The Town Hall is a Renaissance paradigm, a former House of the Society of Jesus, which opens with a lintel arch with raised keystones flanked by box pilasters and Doric columns. The second body is embellished by a continuous balcony, a triangular pediment decorated with studs and noble oval shields with feathered helmets. Inside, the most interesting space is the hallway itself, with a transverse archway with two unequal openings, one of which houses the start of the staircase. Calle Regidor Juan de Isla. 

Castillo de Segura
The fortress of Segura de la Sierra was the central axis in the formation of one of the most important territorial and jurisdictional entities of Castile over the course of the thirteenth to fifteenth centuries. In the fifteenth century there was a transition between the Middle Ages and the Modern Age, a fracture that caused far-reaching changes in the mentality of the constitution of modern society. But it is also a cultural border, since this is where Muslim and Christian cultures met and separated. The heritage value of Segura Castle and its town, declared a Picturesque Landscape and Historical-Artistic Site, has required action focused on two fundamental aspects: create awareness of the richness of its history and offer the visitor the possibility of being surprised to discover a world of such variety and contrast. The castle has suffered various processes of abandonment and disregard throughout history. It was in the 60s when a restoration took place that, with greater or lesser fortune, has allowed for this historic building to be open as a public space. At the end of the twentieth century and the beginning of the twenty first, it underwent another adaptation process that, also, with greater or lesser success, has led us to reflect on museographic intervention. Located on Calle Castillo.

Opening Times:
1 May-30 June, Tuesday-Sunday, 10:30-14:00hrs and 17:00-20:30hrs.
July and August, Tuesday-Sunday, 10:30-14:00hrs and 17:30-21:30hrs.
1 September-31 October, 10:30-14:00hrs and 17:00-20:30hrs.
1 November-30 April, 10:30-14:00hrs and 16:00-18:30hrs.

Price:
General, €4.50
Under 6yrs, Free
Over 65 and Groups, €4

Tel: 682 83 42 93

Casa de Jorge Manrique
Among the civil architecture of the sixteenth century, Casa de Jorge Manrique stands out, on whose façade there is a semicircular arch decorated with plant motifs, flanked by boxed pilasters and complemented by small Ionic columns. Behind a cornice, in the upper area, the noble coat of arms of the Figueroa family was carved in stone, along with a Cross of Santiago, which denoted the relationship with the Order granted by Rodrigo Manrique. The building is currently a hotel, Hotel Poeta Manrique. Located on Ordenanzas del Común.

Plaza de Toros
A former parade ground and stables, it is one of the oldest and most curious bullrings in Spain. The first thing that surprises is its quadrangular floor plan and its lack of protective walls and stands, so entry to the bullfighting festivities is free, with the foot of the mountain where the castle sits being used as stands. There is a tower attached, with remains of a wall, which is currently used as an infirmary, and which was one of the access gates to Segura. Located on Calle Castillo.

Baños Árabes
The Prophet Muhammad said “Hygiene is an act of faith” and for Islam, water is a symbol of purity, where bathing and toileting are a pleasurable act of purification of body and spirit. The Arab public Hammam (baths) were central buildings within Islamic society, not only used for simple cleansing, but also for social gatherings, civic events and even religious ceremonies. Given the hygiene precept of Islam, both men and women visited these buildings, although at different times and days, and performed all acts of personal hygiene, from bathing to shaving or relaxing massages. These were relaxation centres, where daily problems were eliminated and the spirit and social inequalities were cleansed, in a bath all men were equal, whether they were rich merchants or vassals. The Arab Hammam (baths) are heirs of the ancient Roman baths, although on a smaller scale. The Muslims eliminated all those elements that they found unnecessary (swimming pools, bathtubs, etc.) and left a system based more on steam than on the water of the hot springs. This type of building preserved the structure of said thermal baths of a reception room, cold room, warm room and hot room. These constructions were made with thick walls, to promote insulation, and vaults with skylights that gave some light and allowed the interior temperature to be regulated. In addition, the walls were painted and tiled to give the whole a more beautiful appearance. Another thing to keep in mind is that the doors were built “out of joint” to avoid air currents between the rooms. The baths were restored in 1971. Located on Calle Baño Moro. 

Fuente Imperial 
A monument that reflects the transition between Gothic and Renaissance is the imperial fountain, built in front of the church in 1517. It has a large front divided into three channels that separate Ionic columns and adorn at their ends, rolled fins. The central channel displays a large shield framed by a cavetto molding with the arms of Carlos V on a two-headed winged eagle; other laureate shields are shown on the sides. It is crowned by gargoyles with vases at the ends and a crest runs along the upper area. Located on Calle Iglesia.

Iglesia de los Jesuitas
The original Jesuit church was built in the last quarter of the sixteenth century. The arrival of the Jesuits to Segura de la Sierra occurred around 1569 and the church was built between 1583 and 1593, being in use until their expulsion in 1767. It has a Latin cross plan and its doorway is located at the foot. It presents Renaissance decoration, with a semicircular arch with reliefs of very deteriorated apostles in the spandrels, flanked by two free-standing columns on a pedestal, with a Doric capital. Currently this building has been deeply restored and converted into an assembly hall for exhibitions in which various activities are held. The church is framed within a patio of great beauty that gives entrance to this building and another annex. These buildings with a quadrangular floor plan and interior patio, with attached orchards and stables, are currently used as homes. Located on JV-7032.

Iglesia Parroquial
The church was built in the sixteenth century on the site of the old Romanesque temple. Napoleonic troops, fleeing to France, burned it down and it was later restored between 1814 and 1817 by the architect Sebastián de Azcuaga. Its only nave is rectangular, its roof is vaulted although somewhat flat and a cornice runs throughout its interior, which is made of plastered and whitewashed masonry. Three chapels mark its floor. The one next to the Gospel houses polychrome carving images whose iconography corresponds to the Holy Burial (a Recumbent Christ attributed to Gregorio Hernández), San José, Virgen de los Dolores and the Inmaculada Concepción. The chapel on the Epistle side, also Renaissance, has a similar structure and its access arch is made of ashlar. Finally, the chapel of the Virgen de la Peña presents the peculiarity of the shield in the keystone of the semicircular arch and, in the center and on a brick pillar, it houses a piece of great artistic value, the Virgen de la Peña with the “Child in Arms”, a Gothic sculpture from the fourteenth century, with a wave line, in alabaster, originally polychrome, from the monastery of the same name. The church has accumulated a rich religious iconography during its history, with about 20 images in addition to five paintings. Located on JV-7032.

Pozo de la Nieve
This type of construction, of which some very well-preserved examples can still be seen in the Sierra de Segura, were mainly used for the production of ice for food preservation and even for medicinal purposes. These “freezers” consisted of a well lined with stones and with a firm floor with a drain at the bottom. During the end of winter and beginning of spring, crews of men poured snow inside, snow that was separated into layers, pressed and preserved until it became ice. When the heat began, this ice was cut into blocks and transported to its different destinations. This well is almost six meters in diameter and about eight meters deep, although this is not its true size since in the last restoration process the original stone floor was not reached. This construction would have been covered by a quadrangular building that has not been preserved. Located on Calle Castillo.

Skywalk Free Flying Station
Skywalk is at the forefront of paragliding development with innovative technology, well-calculated and well-tuned designs. The station is situated at El Yelmo, with an area for thrill seekers to practice free flying, paragliding, hang gliding and paratrik. Tel: 953 48 21 73.

NATURAL AREAS

Sierras de Cazorla, Segura y Las Villas 

Sierras de Cazorla, Segura y Las Villas 
With a total surface area of 209,920Ha and covering almost a fifth of Jaén province, this is Spain’s largest protected area and one of its most extensive forested zones. Located in eastern Jaen province, it connects the Sierra Morena and the Subbética mountain ranges. The highest peak in this immense park is Pico Empanada at 2,107m and the entire park is higher than 600m.

Recognising its exceptional ecological importance, it was designated a UNESCO biosphere reserve in 1983 and it was deemed a natural park in 1989. First impressions of the park may consist of barren rocky crests and vast pine forests, but the area’s botanical importance within Andalusia is matched only by the Sierra Nevada, with a fifth of the vascular plants in the Iberian peninsula being found in the Sierra de Cazorla Natural Park. It is also home to 51 species of mammals, 185 birds, 21 reptiles (including an endemic lizard), 12 amphibians, 11 fish and one of the highest number of butterfly species in the Iberian peninsula, with 112 varieties found here.

Monte El Yelmo
El Yelmo, with 1809m of altitude, is one of the highest peaks in the area and the highest in the municipality of Segura de la Sierra. It is also one of the most emblematic sights of the Sierra de Segura, and from its peak we can see the entire Natural Park, La Mancha and even the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. It can be accessed either by a road (recently paved) from the village of El Robledo or by a track, which links with the previous road, from the Campillo area. Its western face, the best known and visible in all its splendour from Segura de la Sierra, shows us a mountain densely populated with conifers and crowned by white limestone whose shape draws a helmet or a face looking at the sky. This could be the reason for its current name, although there are some historical documents that call it “Yermo”, apparently due to the sparse vegetation on its limestone peak. On its slopes there are dense forests of low and medium mountain vegetation with pines, holm oaks, kermes oaks, gall oaks, hawthorns and cornicabras where rosemary and other shrubs abound. For a few years now this point has become a reference in the area within the world of free flight and today there is a Free Flight Station for those who enjoy this sport at its summit. In addition, for more than 10 years the International Air Festival has been held here, one of the most important events in the town and the entire region.

Cumbre de Segura la Vieja
The rock formations at the summit of Segura la Vieja are located about 3km from the municipality and can be easily seen from Segura de la Sierra. This summit forms a limestone rock plateau with a certain inclination located around 1,300m above sea level, with rock formations that reach almost 1,400m at its highest levels, full of cliffs and gorges, some of which are breeding sites for vultures. The great interest of this place, apart from the beautiful views of the entire surrounding mountain range and the pleasant hiking route that climbs to its peaks, is the presence of archaeological remains of a settlement that seem to date back to the eighth century. These remains have been little excavated and not much more studied and that is why there is no certainty of their origin, but it is most likely that it was a settlement related to Muladí rebels, who settled for several decades on the plain.

Río Madera
The source of the Madera River, which pours its waters into the Segura River after about 20km, is located approximately 1,300m high within the Segura mountain range. It is surrounded at its head by the Peña Rubia, Calar de los Caracoles, Cobo and Nava del Espino coves, the latter declared a maximum protection area. The river heads through a valley opened by it between the Calar de los Caracoles and the eastern slope of El Yelmo, where numerous camps have traditionally been made. It crosses the villages of Río Madera, Venta del Pescador and Venta de Rampias, making its way through the abrupt orography, densely populated with pine forests and feeding on the waters that flow down the numerous ravines that descend from higher areas. Upon reaching Huelga Utrera, at about 1030m altitude, it pours its waters into the Segura River.

COUNTRYSIDE WALKS

There are numerous hiking routes in the area for hikers to explore.

ETAPA 1 del GR 247 BOSQUES DEL SUR
Área Recreativa a Peña del Olivar-Segura de la Sierra (coincides in part with Stage 5 of GR 147)
Distance: 19,5 km   Estimated Time: 6 hours 45 minutes

ETAPA 2 del GR 247 BOSQUES DEL SUR
Segura de la Sierra- Refugio Casa Forestal El Campillo
Distance: 10 km     Estimated Time: 4 hours  

ETAPA 3 de GR 247 BOSQUES DEL SUR
Refugio Casa Forestal El Campillo-Hornos de Segura
Distance: 16,4 km     Estimated Time: 5 hours 25 minutes

VARIANTE GR 247.1 ETAPA 1
Prado Maguillo (R.C.F. El Bodegón)-Río Madera (coincides in part with Stage 3 of GR-147)
Distance: 7,8 km     Estimated Time: 2 hours 12 minutes     

VARIANTE GR 247.1 ETAPA 2
Río Madera-Segura de la Sierra (coincides in part with Stage 4 of GR 147, and with PR-A 198)
Distance: 17,6 km   Estimated Time: 6 hours   

DERIVACIÓN 2 DEL GR 247
Refugio C.F. de El Campillo-Cumbre de El Yelmo (coincides with PR-A 194)
Distance: 3,1 km   Estimated Time: 1 hour 36 minutes  

ETAPA 1 del GR 146
Montes y Olivares de la Sierra de Segura Hornos-Cortijos
Distance: 5 km    Estimated Time: 2 hours    

ETAPA 2 del GR 146 MONTES Y OLIVARES DE LA SIERRA DE SEGURA
Cortijos Nuevos-La Puerta de Segura
Distance: 19,2 km   Estimated Time: 5 hours 

ETAPA 3 del GR 147 LA SIERRA DE SEGURA PROFUNDA
Prado Maguillo-Río Madera (coincides with Stage 1 of GR 247.1)
Distance: 10 km     Estimated Time: 3 hours  

ETAPA 4 del GR 147 LA SIERRA DE SEGURA PROFUNDA
Río Madera-Segura de la Sierra (coincides with Stage 2 of GR 247.1)
Distance: 10 km    Estimated Time: 4 hours    

ETAPA 5 del GR 147 LA SIERRA DE SEGURA PROFUNDA
Segura de la Sierra-Siles (coincides with Stage 1 of GR 247)
Distance: 18,2 km   Estimated Time: 5 hours  

GR 147 Estrechos-Segura de la Sierra
Distance: 7 km     Estimated Time: 2 hours   

PR-A 176 Acebeas-Cumbre de Navalperal
Distance: 3,1 km    Estimated Time: 1 hour    

Variación PR-A 178 Circular de Navaelespino
Distance: 7,7 km    Estimated Time: 2 hours 30 minutes   

GR 146 Arroyo Frío-Valdemarín Alto
Distance: 7 km   Estimated Time: 2 hours   

PR-A 194 Cumbre del Yelmo
Distance: 3,1 km   Estimated Time: 1 hour 20 minutes   

PR-A 150 Circular Yelmo Chico
Distance: 14,8 km   Estimated Time: 4 hours 

GASTRONOMY

Visitors to Segura de la Sierra can try traditional dishes such as galianos (rabbit stew with dumplings), migas (fried breadcrumbs with pork), cordero al ajillo (stewed garlic lambs), andrajos con liebre (pasta stew, often made rabbit), pisto gandul (lamb stewed in tomato) and pipirrana (tomato salad). Sweet treats include roscos fritos (doughnuts), ortas de aceite con huevo duro (aniseed biscuit with boiled egg) and flan de naranja (orange flan).

BUS SERVICE

There is bus service from Segura de la Sierra to Jaén. More>

FESTIVALS

Popular festivals in Segura de la Sierra are Romería de San Isidro, Festividad de Santa Quiteria, Festival Internacional del Aire and Fiestas Patronales de la Virgen del Rosario. More>

WEATHER FORECAST

The weather forecast for the next few days for Segura de la Sierra. More>

TOURIST OFFICE

The tourist office of Segura de la Sierra is located on Calle Francisco de Quevedo. More>

NEARBY PLACES

The neighbouring villages to Santiago-Pontones are Hornos, Orcera and Siles.