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Virtual tour of La Iruela
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Virtual tour of Cazorla

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We recommend that you visit the following places of interest:

The Natural Park: Declared a Biosphere Reserve by Unesco in 1983 and a Natural Park in 1986, the Sierra de Cazorla is a collection of precipitous mountains cut by deep flowing rivers forming numerous waterfalls and still lakes surrounded by magnificent forests harbouring an extraordinary variety of wildlife including the Spanish Ibex, red deer, wild boar, wildcat, fox, otter, golden eagle, egyptian vulture etc... There is also an abundance of flora including the Cazorla Violet (an endemic plant discovered in 1902 – 1903 by the botanist Michael Gandoger), the Cazorla Columbine etc...

Ubeda: From the Vazquez de Molina square we can survey Úbeda’s artistic heritage. El Salvador, work of Vandelvira, el Palacio de las Cadenas (the chained Palace), La Iglesia de Santa Maria de los Alcazares (the Church of Saint Mary of the Royal Palaces) and Palaces like that of the Casa de los Salvajes (House of the Savages), the Guadiana palace or that of Vela de los Cobos, the Church of San Pablo (Saint Paul’s Church), La Puerta del Rosal (the Rosetree gate ) or the Archaeological Museum and many Renaissance buildings such as Saint James’ Hospital. Úbeda is also famous for its pottery.

Baeza: City of monuments, most notably the tower of the old Gothic cathedral, the Church of Santa Cruz (the saints cross), palaces such as Jabalquinto with a Gothic – Isabelline façade, Fuente de Santa Maria (Saint Mary’s fountain), or the old University building. Further on we find the Plaza del Populo, the old jailhouse (now the council building), the restored ruins of Saint Francis’ convent and further churches and palaces throughout.

Jaen: On the hills below the Muslim castle lie scattered pines and the houses of the old quarter. In the city centre, surrounded by the churches of San Juan, San Andres, La Magdalena, La Merced and San Bartolome, lies Jaén Cathedral. Below the Palace de Villardompardo there are some wonderful Arab Baths, upstairs the palace houses two museums, that of Popular Art and the Naif International. In an other part of the city is the Provincial Museum, Las Portadas de San Miguel (the gates of Saint Michael), the Posito... all around we see the influence of the Iberians Romans or Arabs.

The gastronomy of the mountains is sober and traditional, using particular recipes dictated by what was a subsistence economy. The recipes are simple and based on a rich and plentiful variety of spices, locally abundant produce such as flour, fresh garden vegetables and the many fruits available as well as produce derived from hunting and fresh water fishing (essentially trout). The dishes are fundamentally based on the use of Extra Virgin Olive Oil carrying the Denomination of Origin seal “Sierra de Cazorla” of Picual and principally Royal varieties.

The largest area of pine forest in the whole of Spain is found in these mountains, almost all species being represented, although the most abundant is the Austrian pine. Some time ago these species were repopulated and the area’s high precipitation has helped them reestablish. Forests of Aleppo pine along with Strawberry and Mastic trees are found up to 900 metres, a reminder of the Mediterranean forest that previously existed. Moving higher up we find forests of Holm Oak, Portuguese Oak and important areas of Maritime Pine. In damper areas stand Yews of over one thousand years of age and Holly, both very rare in Andalucia. On the river banks we find Ash trees, Willows and Poplars as well as reeds and bullrushes where water birds and small mammals shelter. This Natural Park is one of the richest botanical areas in the whole of the Mediterranean basin.
De las más de Of the over 1300 species catalogued, 24 are endemic to the area, flowers such as the Viola cazorlensis (Cazorla Violet), the singular carnivorous plant Pinguicula vallisneriifolia (Spanish Butterwort), the Cazorla Geranium and the Cazorla Columbine (Aquilegia cazorlensis).

The wildlife in the area is as rich as that which we might find in Doñana. There are 42 species of invertebrate exclusive to the park. Of special interest among the reptiles is Valverde’s lizard which inhabits rocky crevices, and was discovered in 1968. We can further add 6 species of amphibian, 125 species of bird and 36 mammal species. Other species such as bear and wolf existed here up until a few decades ago and there are plans to reintroduce some species, as is the case with the Bearded Vulture. Mouflon and Fallow deer were also introduced for hunting purposes although these species are exerting competitive pressure on the autoctonous Red deer and Spanish Ibex, particularly the latter that inhabit the higher rocky areas. The great variety of fauna also include mammal predators such as the fox, genet, beech marten, birds of prey and one of the most extensive entomological lists of the Iberian peninsula. Amongst the raptors which can be observed are Bonellis, Short-toed and Golden eagles, Goshawks, Griffon and Egyptian vultures, European Eagle Owl and falcon species. The rich variety of insects is due in part to the many butterflies that colonise and colour the landscape. An outstanding example is the Graellsia Isabelae ( The Spanish Moonmoth) - a jewel of these mountains. All these factors, aesthetic, biological and cultural combine to make this area one of the most visited in Spain.





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