Jaen Property - Zones and Maps - Sierras Morena and Andujar
Towns and Villages
- Chiclana de Segura
- Santisteban del Puerto
- Navas de San Juan
- Santa Elena
- La Carolina
- Banos de la Encina
- Villanueva de la Reina
Map of Sierras Morena and Andujar
The northern section of the Jaén province, this area takes in part of the vast, wild and uninhabited Sierra Morena, of which the Sierras de Andújar are a part. These mountains have traditionally represented the northern limits of Andalucía and the Despeñaperros mountain pass has long been used as a route to and from southern Spain. The area is rich in history and scattered with ruined castles and ancient towns, some of which have been the sites of important historical battles.
Built on the banks of the Guadalquivir River, Andújar is a wealthy market town. It was originally settled by the Romans when it was known as Iliturgi. A Roman bridge that has been heavily restored can be seen spanning the Guadalquivir. Andújar’s location near to Córdoba and to the important mountain pass of Despeñaperros meant that it developed rapidly during under Moorish rule. It was recaptured by the Christians in 1225 when it became the first walled town in Andalucía to be controlled by the Christians. Some of these walls can still be seen today.
Andújar today is a modern, thriving town involved in some light industry and with a tradition in producing ceramics. Some old buildings of interest remain. The most atmospheric part of Andújar is the Plaza de Santa María, a long, narrow square which contains a minaret like medieval bell tower and the church of Santa María that runs for the length of the square.
Andújar used to be renowned for its production of traditional Andalucían blue and white pottery, although today all the pottery produced here is of modern design. To the north of Andújar, 31km away in the Sierra Morena is the sanctuary of the Virgen de la Cabeza, built in the 13th century. The scenery around the sanctuary is simply fantastic and a pilgrimage, a colourful and lively affair, makes its way here from Andújar on the first Sunday of April each year. A large town of 38,000 people, Andújar has plenty of amenities, shops, accommodation and so on. The market stalls there sell local pottery as well as herbs and honey collected in the nearby Sierra Morena. Andújar is often used as a gateway to the Sierra Morena, the mountain range to the north of the town. The striking mountain pass of Despeñaperros is where the motorway that runs from Madrid to the south is located.
Andújar is halfway between Seville and Madrid on the NIV motorway 220km from each city. The town is 35km from Jaén and the nearest airport is at Granada, 110km away. There is a rail station in Andújar that runs to Córdoba and Seville in the west and Madrid in the north.
Founded by the Carthaginians and renowned for the medicinal waters at Marmolejo’s spa. A new hotel and health centre have been built at the spa and many people come to visit for health reasons each year. An attractive village located at the foot of the Sierra Morena, Marmolejo lies just south of the Marmolejo Reservoir, which is used for recreational purposes. The town is also renowned for its manufacture of quality guitars. Marmolejo is 10km west of Andújar, situated just off the NIV motorway.
To the south of Andújar, the village of Arjona has a population of 5600. The village is built on a hill and there are fantastic views from the higher end of Arjona over the rooftops and to the surrounding countryside, which is covered in olive trees. Arjona is 14km south of Andújar.
South of Arjona is the village of Escañuella, located in agricultural countryside. Escañuella has a population of 1000 and is 8km south of Arjona.
Lahiguera is a village of 2000 inhabitants located 7km east of Arjona.
The little village of Arjonilla is situated just to the northwest of Arjona. Also surrounded by olive trees, Arjonilla contains the 16th century gothic church of La Encarnación. Arjonilla is a village of 4000 inhabitants, located 12km south of Andújar.
A small village of 800 people, Espelúy is situated near to the banks of the Guadalquivir River. Of note here is the old palace house of the Duke of Medinaceli, a grand building entered through a towered and turreted gateway. Espelúy is significant since Las Estaciones de Espelúy, the RENFE train station is a kilometre from the village. This is where one must change trains if travelling south from Madrid to Jaén. Espelúy is 35km north of Jaén and 19km from Andújar, the nearest town.
Further west on the banks of the Guadalquivir is Villanueva de la Reina, a village of 3300 inhabitants. There is a train station in Villanueva, which is 16km from Andújar. Southeast of Villanueva is the beautifully named Cazalilla, a rural, agricultural village of 800 inhabitants situated 8km from Mengíbar, the nearest town. On 3rd of February, the Feast of San Blas is celebrated in Cazalilla where it is known as the “fiesta de la pava”. A turkey is thrown from the tower of the local parish church and whoever catches it is said to have good luck!
Bailén is famous for the battle that took place here on July 19th, 1808 when two small French forces were defeated by the Spanish, representing a vital setback for Napoleon. Each June, Bailén celebrates this victory with its well known “Battle of Bailén” fiesta. The church of La Encarnación is a 16th century church combining Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque styles of architecture. There are also the remains of a 9th century castle in Bailén, which was built over a Visigoth monastery.
Bailén is a town of 17,000 inhabitants and has a number of hotels, restaurants, bars, shops and supermarkets. There are several schools in the town. Bailén is situated on the N323 motorway 30km north of Jaén.
Baños de la Encina
A village of 2000 inhabitants, Baños de la Encina is situated in the stunning surroundings of the Sierra de Morena on the edge of an uninhabited wilderness. Baños is overlooked by a 10th century Moorish castle which is in an excellent state of repair. 14 square towers and a huge round castle keep faces the village.From the battlements there are excellent views over the surrounding countryside, across to the Sierra de Segura in the east. The village itself is an attractive place with a 16th century church built out of pink stone, a quaint town square and an early 16th century town hall. Adjacent to the village is the Rumblar Reservoir, which can only be reached on foot.
Baños is located north of the NIV motorway, 9km from Bailén.
The largest town in the area with a population of 60,000, Linares is infamous for being an industrial town with car factories and copper and lead mines. The former hospital of San Juan de Dios is the centrepiece of Linares with its elaborately ornate baroque façade.
A town of 60,000 inhabitants, Linares is the main service centre for the surrounding area and has plenty of amenities including sports centres, cinemas, markets and shops. Linares is located on the N322 road that runs between Bailén and Úbeda. Linares is 35km from Jaén. Just outside Linares is the railway station where the track running down from Madrid splits to go to either Granada and Almeria or Seville and Cádiz.
South of Linares is the village of Jabalquinto with 2500 inhabitants situated in agricultural countryside. The Madrid rail line passes a couple of kilometres to the south of the village and there is a station here. Jabalquinto is 13km south of Linares.
Torreblascopedro is situated 16km south of Linares on the other side of the Guadalén River. Nearby is the rail line that runs south to Granada and there is a station in this village of 3000 inhabitants.
In the north of the Jaén province, on the edge of Andalucía, La Carolina is the first town to be reached after passing through the Despeñaperros. It was founded in 1768 by Charles III as a foreign colony. This is evident in the arrangement of the streets and houses which are laid out on a neat and uniform grid pattern, completely unlike other Andalucían villages.
From La Carolina, there are magnificent views over the olive groves and rolling landscape of the Jaén province. A battle took place here in 1212 where a victory over the Moors was achieved by the Christians. The Surviving Moors apparently escaped through a pass to the north thereafter known as the Pass of Despeñaperros – the overthrow of the dogs. La Carolina has a population of 15,000 and is situated 22km north of Bailén and 52km north of Jaén on the NIV motorway.
Just south of La Carolina on the NIV motorway is the village of Carboneros with a population of 700. Carboneros is 4km south of La Carolina.
The next town south on the NIV is Guarromán, a village of 2800 people built on either side of the NIV 8km south of Carboneros.
North from La Carolina is Santa Elena, a village of 1000 inhabitants with a spacious and quiet main square. Santa Elena is located just off the NIV motorway right by the Despeñaperros, 6km north of La Carolina.
On the northern edge of the Jaén province, isolated in the mountains is the village of Aldeaquemada, situated 700 metres above sea level. The village has a population of 600 and is 25km northeast of Santa Elena on winding mountain roads.
Near the Guadalén reservoir, Vilches is a village of 5000 inhabitants located at the foot of the Sierra Morena. Surrounded by mountains, farmland, oak and pine forests along with olive groves and agricultural lands, Vilches enjoys superb natural surroundings. Vilches is 10km south of La Carolina. There is a RENFE railway station in the town.
On the opposite side of the reservoir is the village of Arquillos with a population of 2000. There is a road crossing the reservoir and connecting Vilches with Arquillos and other villages further east.
Castellar de Santisteban
In the foothills of the Sierra Morena, Castellar is a mountain village situated 757 metres above sea level. It has a charming character with salmon pink houses lining the streets and a chapel with a small blue domed tower. Of note are the 16th century Church of Santiago and the nearby caves, Las Cuevas de Lobera. The main fiesta is held in August when bulls are set free to run through the streets.
Castellar is a village of 3600 inhabitants. It is situated in the northeast area of Jaén and is reached by following winding mountain roads. The main N322 road is 16km south of Castellar.
Just to the west of Castellar, Santisteban del Puerto is a village of 5000 inhabitants, 4km from Castellar.
Navas de San Juan is another 16km southwest. Navas sits in a landscape of olive trees, cereal fields and mountains. The village contains the ruins of a 9th century Moorish castle. 3500 people live in Navas de San Juan.
In the hills to the northeast is the hilltop village of Chiclana de Segura. Chiclanas features include cave houses built into the rock of the hill, the windows of which can be seen on the side of the hill. The village also contains a 16th century parish church and the ruins of a castle. 1500 people live in Chiclana, which is situated 23km north of Villanueva de Arzobispo, the nearest town.
North of Chiclana is the little visited village of Montizón, an agricultural community of 2000 people set amidst fields of olives.