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.