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Villages in Córdoba

Cañete de las Torres

Villages in Córdoba

Cañete de las Torres

Cañete de las Torres is a town situated to the east of the province in the Campiña Baja, on the border with the province of Jaen . The lands are almost entirely given over to cereals and olive trees.

The town has the charm of discretion, as if trying to disappear among the olive trees and cultivated fields. It is a typical village of the countryside, with white houses and  narrow winding streets, among which should be noted La Torre, the remains of the old castle which are integrated into the architecture of the Plaza de Andalucia, and the Tertia, an industrial building of the XVIII century.

Once the city of Cordoba was attacked by the Christians in 1236, it appears that the Muslim Qannit was conquered by Christian troops soon after, in the first half of 1237, as on 8th July of that year King Fernando III handed Cañete over to Cordoba along with the castles of Cuzna, Niculao, Espiel, Dar al Bacar and Alcolea.

For some years the town was held by the Order of Calatrava, at least until 1245, since on December 31 that same year Ferdinand III granted by privilege to Fray Ordoño, master of the Order of Calatrava, the village of Priego in exchange for a number of population centres belonging to: Monfrag, Belmez, Cuzna, Vada and Cañete, Canete rejoining the outskirts of Cordoba.

In 1260 the village was assigned to the church of Cañete and in 1293 the Council of Córdoba was forced to transfer it at the behest of Sancho IV, Alfonso Fernández de Córdoba, who was the First Lord of the village.

It was so on the basis of the feudal foundation of this powerful family of Cordoba, although its possession was not complete at first, since Cordoba reserved a number of privileges especially those related to the exercise of justice. A new milestone in the process of the formation of aristocratic power was found in the privilege granted by Ferdinand IV in July 1306 by granting the holder the right of lordship to judge all lawsuits that happened within the municipality without recourse to the courts of Cordoba.

The entire court system was achieved when Enrique II, in July 1370, confirmed to Gonzalo Fernandez de Cordoba the complete seigniorial authority over Cañete. Since then Cañete would be incorporated into the jurisdiction of the Lordship of Aguilar that in the late Middle Ages became the most extensive municipality in the kingdom of Cordoba and the largest village.

Under the government of the Fernández de Córdoba, Cañete went from being a simple village with a tower to a well populated village, endowed in the early modern period with interesting municipal regulations, to which must be added certain guarantees and protection offered to the feudal power among which were included certain tax advantages not enjoyed by other royal towns. Economic development was significant and was based primarily on rich farming and an active trade, helped by the institutional framework of two annual fairs and a thriving livestock farm protected by the local breeders association.

The casa de Aguilar was to be rewarded with the granting of the title of marquis of Priego, awarded by the Catholic Monarchs on December 9, 1501, which went for the first time to the figure of Pedro Fernandez de Cordoba II. The highest authority in the village was the lord, derived from their judicial power and possession of the land. These powers allowed the lord to order the compilation and drafting of bylaws such as those made between 1520 and 1532, to appoint officers and governors, to be chief justice and possess the stronghold of the village.

Cañete ordinances were drafted in 1520 by order of Lorenzo Suarez de Córdoba y Figueroa, Marquis de Piego, emphasizing the importance that agriculture had acquired in this village. Apart from numerous provisions on livestock and land (among which were included sanctions imposed on those who came into the vineyards to pick grapes, figs and nuts; their obligation to owners of lands to cultivate wasteland, the penalties for cutting and stealing  barley, the regulation of food from different animal species in the stubble fields or ploughed lands, or the prohibition to enter among the crop with various types of livestock), noted among them a body of rules on the cattle breeders association of the village, which dealt with issues such as the obligation to hold three annual meetings or that of having a list of the breeds of all cattle in Cañete, or keeping their flocks away from any sick animals so that they would not be infected.

But in Cañete, the most significant fact was that the lord held some 12,156 acres of land in the municipality, with 40 cottages and some hazas (plots of arable land) in the locality of the village, representing 79% of the total municipality. These lands were exploited through leases, renewable every 3 to 6 years. The Marquis of Priego obtained these, together with other monies in Cañete de las Torres earned by taxation and monopolies in the manor.

The municipal government was headed by a council chaired by a mayor, with the title of “Corregidor”, or magistrate, from 1732, who could also be could governor of the fortress. The council consisted of a variable number of aldermen, which ranged between 7 and 11 although sometimes the number dropped to 2 or 4, two jurors, although sometimes there were three, a sheriff, a faithful executor and a second lieutenant.

Everyone had a say in council and were appointed by the Marquis of Priego. Exceptions were made in the case of ordinary mayors, elected from the mid-seventeenth century by drawing lots among the “contiosos” of the town. From that time the council chose four and the proposal was sent to the Marquis of Priego, who chose two of them. All officers and aldermen belonged to the local elite.

In Cañete of note was the holding of open town meetings. A meeting was convened by the mayor and announced in the public square, calling all the inhabitants by the ringing of a bell, where they decided on everything related to the administration of the common lands, especially that of Dehesa, whose lease provided revenue to meet the expenses of the local finance, both derived from the tax burden levied by the royal treasury and the kingdom as well as those derived from local economic life, as those who could not afford to own property because they were few and were continually being embargoed.

The economy of Cañete de las Torres in modern times was predominantly agrarian, based on rainfed cereal crop, followed on a much smaller scale by olives, grapes and some orchards.

The importance of livestock attests to the presence of a local “mesta”, (annual meeting of farmers and shepherds) regulated in the bylaws. It appears that the largest livestock was sheep, followed by the cut corn and labour.

During recent centuries Cañete experienced periods of both prosperity and crisis. In the late sixteenth century the town had 1,468 residents, in 1679 about 1008; in 1694 585 and in 1752 only about 725. Although these figures only refer to heads of families, they show a sharp decline in population during the seventeenth century, after which the town began to recover slowly in the mid-eighteenth century.

This sharp population decline was influenced by the bad harvests especially epidemics of plague, as with those of 1601-1602, and the expulsion of the Moors between 1610-1612, these accounting for a loss of 216 village inhabitants, along with emigration to America and levies for the continuous wars of the Spanish monarchy.

All this, coupled with an excessive tax burden and an unbalanced structure of land ownership for the majority, mostly held by the Marquis of Priego and church outsiders, explain why the town was, from the late sixteenth century in almost permanent crisis in all aspects, and would only recover, and slowly, in the eighteenth century.

Monuments

La Torre de Cañete.
Iglesia de la Asunción (Church of the Assumption), 1260, with a Renaissance façade and custody lantern processional.
Ermita de Jesus, XVII century.
Ermita de la Virgen del Campo, baroque dome of the eighteenth century, considered among the finest of his time, XVI century

Archaeological

Fortified Walls of the Ibero-Turdetan
Cortijo del Real
Silver figure in “turdetana” silverwork, now in the National Archaeological Museum.

Urban

Plaza de Andalucía dominated by a medieval tower.
La Tercia, XVIII century building.
Museums.  Local History Museum.

Gastronomy

Cañeteros gazpacho – garlic, salt, bread crumbs and raw oil with the subsequent addition of vinegar and water are the end result of a slow mash that used to be made in dornillos (wooden vessel similar to clay pots). Without the addition of water these were called salmorejos. And from these basic dishes were made platos called carneretes, whose composition did not contain meat, as might be inferred from the name. The salmorejo carnerete was a luxury in which the bread was placed in a molla and fried and also with the addition of slices of bread, beaten eggs, then frying all together in a pan.

Migas is not different from other places in Andalusia, but when it was possible, there was the addition of sausage cut into slices or fried small birds.

A popular dish prepared here is albondigones a la cañetera, which is prepared with chopped pork with fat bacon, parsley, bread crumbs, garlic, saffron and greens.
On the Sunday nearest the feast of St. Cecilia, which is on 22nd November, it is very classic in Cañete, at dawn, to take the migass, alluded to beforehand, accompanied by radishes. This is called “lucero miguero”or “morning star”.

Directions

Out of Cordoba . Continue to: E-5 / A-4. Take the exit towards: CP-164. Turn right: CP-164.Turn left: CP-146. Enter Bujalance. Exit Bujalance . Continue: A-306 and follow signs to Cañete de las Torres.

Distances from Cañete de las Torres

Cordoba 45 km
El Carpio 21km
Pedro Abad 19 km
Alcolea 36 km
Maruanas 23 km
Morente 12 km
Villa del Rio 15 km
Rubillas Bajas 16 km
Porcuna 14 km
Valenzuela 17 km


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