Iznalloz, Comarca de los Montes Orientales
Iznalloz is to be found in the area between the Sierras Arana, to the southeast, and that of Campanario, to the northwest, along the banks of the river Cubillas, about 40 kilometres from the capital city of the Alhambra.
The origin of Iznalloz goes back to prehistoric times as is evidenced by the remains and cave paintings found in caves in the area. According to some historians, there are also references to Iberian settlements. The city of Acatucci was founded by the Romans as a military enclave due to its strategic position, hence the adjective given to the inhabitants.
The current name of Iznalloz is of Arab origin (Hisn al-Lawza) and means ‘castle of almonds’, with reference to a castle-fortress or castle-citadel of which there are few architectural remains. According to the dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy of Language, alloza (from the hisp. Alláwza, and this from the clas. Lawzah) almonds. 1. f. almendruco: fruit of the almond tree, with its mesocarp (outer layer or skin) still green, with the endocarp (inner portion) soft, and the seed set. In Iznalloz the name ‘allozas’ is given to almonds which are still green and tender with a refreshing and delicious taste.
Iznalloz was part of the defensive line of the Nazari kingdom of Granada, hence the presence of the ‘castle of the almonds’. Berbers and almohades lived here and cultivated crops in the fertile land with good hunting and pasture fed livestock. The Muslims were forced to abandon the fort after the military operations carried out during 1485 by the Catholic Monarchs. After the conquest of the kingdom of Granada, its commercial importance, agriculture, livestock and population all increased. As a result of this development the Catholic Monarchs ordered the construction of a hospital that later became the granary store that the church used for the storage of tithes, to this day you can still see its magnificent coffered ceiling.
In the sixteenth century the parish church of Nuestra Señora de los Remedios was built, in the Renaissance style, designed by Diego de Siloam in 1549 and opened for worship in the year 1616 and has never closed. Its interior is considered a smaller scale replica of the Cathedral of Granada, built by the same principal. It was declared a national historic monument in the year 1973.
In 1895, during the construction of the railway from Granada to Murcia, a tunnel was dug through the mountain on which the town stands, thereby making Iznalloz ‘a unique town in the world with an underground metro’.
On March 27, 1982 in the Cortijo de Periate, el Togado del Periate was found, a Roman bronze sculpture of the third century, probably representing the Emperor Claudius II the Goth. Is 160 cm high, a fact which makes it one of the largest bronze sculptures found in Spain. Since its discovery it has been exhibited in the Archaeological Museum of Granada.
The main local activity has been long been associated with agriculture and the cultivation of cereals, nowadays being overtaken by the production of the olive crop which has always been traditional, and from which is extracted olive oil of such high levels of quality backed by designation of origin ‘Los Montes de Granada’ and the marque ‘Iznaoliva’.
Church of Our Lady of Remedies, XVI century. Designed by Diego of Siloam, it is a singular work of the Spanish Renaissance. The interior is similar to that of the Cathedral of Granada, and is considered a replica of it.
The Granary (XVI century). Originally this building was constructed in order to be a hospital on behalf of the Catholic Monarchs in the XVII century.
Ermita de Nuestra Señora de los Remedios (Hermitage, late sixteenth century). Known for its simplicity, and also for the artistic quality the coffered ceiling. Built to worship the Virgin de los Remedios, patron saint of the town.
Ruins of Moorish castle.
Portillo de Toril and Julio Martinez (Neolithic-bronze shelters with rock art.)
Cueva del Agua (cave paintings).
Remains of Loma del Rubio and Llano de la Venta (Mousterian and Aurignacian).
Tajo de la Hoz.
In Iznalloz cuisine dishes include the following: casseroles, migas, lomo de orza, potatoes ‘a lo pobre’, diced hare, stews, soup ‘de picadillo’, ground beef, lamb and various sausages. In the Paraje de el Sotillo, an open area for recreation, some stalls have been set out for the travelers to taste typical dishes. Aromatic plants abound, such as thyme, rosemary, sage and lavender.
The municipality is part of the production area of a product that stands out for its quality: Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
About 40 kms separate Iznalloz from Granada city . To reach Iznalloz take the A-44 in the direction of Almeria to the turn off for the A-308.
Granada 40 km
Moclín 40 km
Moreda 23 km
Albolote 30 km
Huelago 25 km
Guadahortuna 24 km
Montejícar 28 km
Benalúa de las Villas 18 km