Iznatoraf, La Loma y Las Villas Region
Iznatoraf is a small and beautiful town located to the north-eastern of La Loma and Las Villas. Its municipal district are divided into two separated enclaves: one to the west, where you can find the city centre and, above all, olive-producer, and another to the east, that is a forest area, and it is inside the limits of the Sierras de Cazorla, Segura y Las Villas Natural Park, belonging to Las Villas.
The town is located in the summit of a big hill, at a height of 1.000 metres, making up one of the highest hill in the province. The economic activity in Iznatoraf is supported in the olive grove and the olive-oil industry since the tourism, in Las Villas, has hardly been developed.
Between its historic heritages, we can emphasize the Church of La Asunción built in the XVII century mixing the Mannerist and Baroque styles, the wall and the gate of Virgen del Postigo, declared in 1985 Historical Monument.
The settlement is very early in this area although in a discontinuous way. It is guessed that in the III millennium B.C the settlement in this place tried to control the path towards the miner areas in Sierra Morena.
We can observe the human presence until the Iberian Age, maybe like a small watchtower, but we cannot find Roman remains, from what we can deduce that it was abandoned.
The present name is from Arab origin and alludes (‘hisn’, castle, fortification) to its wall, built in the XI century and that reinforces the hillock occupied by the town. Like in another cases of the province, it was not conquered by force, but with the negotiation. Fernando III negotiated with the inhabitants and they left the fortress. Once it was repopulated, it was given to Iznatoraf the jurisdiction of Cuenca. To some extent this place is characterized because its lands are declared as free, that is, the lands are not ceded to a lord, or a military order, or the Church. This situation is not gone on too much: in 1252, Alfonso X ceded it to the Archbishopric of Toledo, who turns Iznatoraf –together with Cazorla and Quesada– into one of the first towns of the Adelantamiento de Cazorla. With the advance of the Reconquest its position has no importance from the military point of view, but it gains importance like an economic centre, so much so that the population overflow its walls and it is settled in the plain. In this way, the small villages that surround it grow. In 1396 La Moraleja becomes a town (Villanueva del Arzobispo); in 1450 the archbishop Alfonso Carrillo makes independent the Torre de Mingo Pliego that receives his name, Villacarrillo.
The archbishop from Toledo stepped up its walls and built a castle that has disappeared already because its function was not the defence but to be a residence.
In the XVI century Iznatoraf is head of the archpriesthood and started the construction of the Church La Asunción, which will have additions in later centuries.
During that time, the history of Iznatoraf is the one of an agricultural town that, with ups and downs, knows some prosperity. Madoz emphasizes its oil production (oil mills about the middle of the last century).
Church of La Asunción
Remains of the Castle Iznatoraf
Walls and Gate of La Virgen del Postigo
Hermitage of El Cristo de la Vera Cruz
Sausages (we can emphasize the white black pudding). Gachamigas (with fried rashers of bacon and dried peppers). Game stews.
Sweets: Roscos de baños.
How to get there
You have to exit Jaén towards Mancha Real – Baeza – Úbeda and you have to cross Baeza. Alleyway of Úbeda. In the roundabout you have to take the exit 3 and continue in the Motorway A-301. Then turn right in the N-322. Alleyway of El Campillo and Villacarrillo. Continue in the JV-6003 until you get Iznatoraf.
Jaén 99 km
Úbeda 42 km
Linares 67 km
Benatae 56 km
Villacarrillo 12 km
Navas de San Juan 43 km
La Puerta de Segura 46 km
Santisteban del Puerto 34 km
Villanueva del Arzobispo 7,5 km