Segura de la Sierra
Segura de la Sierra – Jaén
Segura de la Sierra is a beautiful town, birthplace of the poet Jorge Manrique, located in the centre of Sierra de Segura, in the mountain Orospeda (according to the Greeks) and crowned by a Castle from which you can observe impressive outlooks of the area. The country house, compact and harmonious, with narrow streets and historical spots, spreads out under the castle, surrounded in some of its fronts by canvas from the old wall. It is declared Historic-Artistic Site and Picturesque Spot deservedly, since its wonderful environment and to its whole we have to add many monuments and architectural touches such as the Town Hall, the Fuente Imperial de Carlos III, the Arab Baths, the Parish Church of Nuestra Señora del Collado, Jorge Manrique’s home, the Casa del Celemín, the Arco de Cavalcavia, the Puerta Catena and the Fuenta Mora.
Its municipal district belongs to Sierras de Cazorla, Segura y Las Villas Natural Park, that is the biggest protected space in Spain: an orographical labyrinth of valleys, limestone quarries, cuts, mountains and high plateaus with a great hydrologic importance (because of the huge quantity of rivers and streams that flow from it); botanical (European Black Pine, Aleppo Pine and many endemic species); the wealth of the fauna, hunting and the landscape. From it we can observe that it is one of the most visited open spaces in the country.
The history of Segura de la Sierra dates back at dawn of the civilization. The cave paintings found in the caves of Collado del Guijarral and Cueva de la Diosa Madre shows the human presence in these lands from the IV millennium B.C. Besides, in all Sierra de Segura can be found many archaeological sites like the one of Hoya Somera, in the municipal district of Santiago-Pontones, or the one of Puente Mocho located in Beas.
We can find near the city centre of Segura the settlement called Segura la Vieja, located in the summit of a mountain not far away from the village of Moralejos, and that traditionally has always been attributed by the locals to Iberians and Phoenicians towns and even to the Bronze Age. The fact is that its remains, in very bad condition and not much studied; still hide its true origin, although the most valid hypothesis is that they should come from a Roman town, provided that the numerous remains with this nature in the outskirts.
With the Islamic Age Segura de la Sierra or Saqura like it was called in those days, had its golden age when it was fortified town of the area, although during these years we can observe the most turbulent age of the region. In 781 it was occupied by the Moslems commanded by Abd al-Azid, Tariq’s lieutenant. The Arab texts mention Saqura (Segura), like a medina (town) or like hins.
During the IX-X centuries, after the collapse of the Califato de Córdoba and the formation of the Taifas (an independent Muslim-ruled principality, usually an emirate or petty kingdom), Saqura has several periods of independence that made it to be important.
Segura was part of Denia’s possessions and when the emir of Zaragoza took possession of the Eastern states, it remained for some time independent under the government of Siray al-Dawla. When he died, the fortress was in charge of Banu Sahayl’s family, who decided to give it to Al Mutamin from Zaragoza.
In 1091 Segura is occupied by the Almoravids (a Berber dynasty of Sahara). In the mid of the XII century, Ibn Hamusk, a lieutenant and Ibn Mardanis’ father-in-law, Lord of Valencia and Murcia, rebelled against the almoravids and took possession of the fortress of Segura. But after the deterioration of the relationships between them, Ibn Hamusk formed an alliance with the Almohads (was a Berber, Muslim dynasty) who took all the kingdom that belongs to the Lord from Murcia.
After a period of tension between the almohads, the town was conquered by the Christians in 1214 during San Vicente Day, becoming in patron saint of the town, hoisting the flag of La Orden de Santiago. The king Alfonso VIII ceded the town to La Orden de Santiago that turned it into centre of its Encomienda, or what is the same, in the centre of the government of all the goods that this order had in the area. The Kings Fernando III, Alfonso X and Fernando IV gave the town and the Order many privileges.
During the XVI century the town had a splendour period, thanks to the huge quantity of Woods produced in its territory that transported through the bed of the River Guadalquivir supplied all Andalucía.
During the XVIII century, the State burst onto the management of the mountains in the region, the Ministerio de Marina y Montes turned Segura into Provincia Marítima (undoubtedly because it needed its wood for the construction of ships). The mountains management by the Ministry caused the intensive explosion of the timber resources, favouring particular interests against the interests of the traditional systems of exploitation. The progressive fall in the wood consumption caused the lack of interest of the administration and the productive agents plunged the town into an economic lethargy that extends until nowadays.
The most outstanding facts during the XIX century were the French occupation in1810 that had as a result the death of many inhabitants and the town destroyed and burned down; and the independence of many municipalities that from the Castilian conquest had belonged to Segura.
Segura de la Sierra Monuments
Town Hall. It emphasizes due to its plateresque façade.
Building of the Museum.
Reclining Christ of Gregorio Hernández.
Ruins of an Iberian village.
Remains of towers that were the defensive perimeter.
Carlos V’s Imperial Fountain. Plateresque style. It has the monarch’s shield.
Caballeros Santiaguistas Street.
Villages: El Robledo, El Ojuelo, Carrasco, Río Madera, Moralejos, Arroyo Frío, Catena and Cortijos Nuevos.
Segura de la Sierra Gastronomy
We can find a great variety of typical dishes in Segura de la Sierra, all of them are characterized by the ingredients we can find in the area. We can emphasize these ingredients: the olive oil, which are produced here with guarantee of origin and with a high quality, the wild animal’s meat during the hunting season, like the wild boar, partridge or hare, lamb, a characteristic sheep of Sierra de Segura, and the quality of the horticultural products. We also can find the mushrooms and Níscalos (milk caps), or “Guízcanos” like are known in the area, as well as the asparagus that grow in the Sierra, if the weather makes it possible.
With these high quality raw materials a great variety of dishes are cooked. We can start by the Galianos, made with bread flat cakes and rabbit, Andrajos, made with flour flat cakes, meat and spices. We can also taste the Migas both bread and the flour or gachamiga, a kind of flour omelette and potato with all sort of seasonings. Another dish we have to emphasize is the olla gitana, a stew of potatoes and green beans, and the guisado, like the previous one but adding meat.
We have mentioned important dishes, but there are also many foods that are hors d’oeuvres or accompaniment. The first dish is pipirrana, a salad with tomatoes, onion and cucumber. We also have to mention Ajo-atao, made with meshed potatoes and olive oil, Fritao, with meat from varied kinds and tomato, and Ajo-pringue, made with crumbs and liver’s pork. This last dish is consumed during the “Matanza (Slaughter)” of the pork, and we made the chorizos, black puddings, spiced sausages, hams and cured loins of pork.
Finally we have to mention the varied and delicious desserts. A typical dessert are Roscos Fritos and Flores, made with dough and a tin to form them, we also can taste Hornazos, that are oil flat cakes with a hard-boiled egg, that traditionally are made for the festivity of Santa Quiteria. There more desserts, although many of them belong to Easter and are tasted little along the year.
We also have to mention the “destilería serrana”. In this area there are produced many liquors made out of natural products like the blackberries or the endrinos (blackthorns), main ingredient to make pacharan (patxaran, a sloe-flavoured liqueur), we also can find typical drinks like Mistela (wine to which a distilled beverage (usually brandy) has been added) or the heavy carrasquelo brandy from.
How to get there
To get Segura de la Sierra by road the best way is take the N-322, that links Córdoba with Albacete and Valencia, and that is the main access to the region.
From Madrid the best way is take the Motorway of Andalucía until Manzanares, where you take the detour towards Solana and through Villanueva de los Infantes and Albadalejo until the N-322. At the same latitude as Puente de Génave we have to take the detour towards Puerta de Segura (A-317) and then towards Orcera.
From Jaén the most convenient is take the Motorway A-316 until Úbeda and continue through the N-322 towards Albacete until get Puente de Génave and take the way towards Puerta de Segura (A-317) and then towards Orcera.
From Sevilla you have to take the Motorway A-4 towards Córdoba until you get that town and follow towards Andújar, taking the exit towards Bailén/Linares and connecting with the N-322. Then you have to follow towards Úbeda/Albacete until you get Puente de Génave, then towards Puerta de Segura (A-317) and later towards Orcera.
Through Albacete we Orly have to take the N-322 until Puente de Génave and take the road towards Puerta de Segura (A-317) and later towards Orcera.
Distances from Segura de la Sierra
Jaén 151 km
Úbeda 94 km
Orcera 7,5 km
Hornos 21 km
Benatae 13 km
Beas de Segura 35 km
Puerta de Segura 16 km
Prados de Armijo 35 km