Castril, Sierra de Castril Natural Park
Castril is well worth a visit.
The image of the town, the subtle interplay between stone, limestone and tile, changes depending on the distance from which it is seen: viewed from the road, it shows a romantic picture of a perfect balance between the town and the surrounding landscape. The old town is laid out in areas of great architectural harmony, no doubt demonstrating an Arab past; take a look at Plaza del Canton, next to Emilio’s bar, and you will experience sensations involving all your senses. From the town you can take an unforgettable walk along paths by the gorge carved by the swift flowing river.
Very near to the town, in the Visitor Centre Sierra de Castril Natural Park , you can find a careful selection of objects and tools specific to the daily lives of local people for many years past, with full and complete information on the Natural Park, a protected area, with an area of 12,665 hectares, which is fully within in the municipality of Castril.
The population of Castril is distributed among its main town, Castril de la Peña, and several other hamlets, among which are Fatima, the most populous, Almonte, the next in number of inhabitants, Fuente Vera, Los Isidoros, Campo Cebas, Cortijillos and the area of Tubos.
There are also many other cortijos (farmhouses) scattered throughout the municipality, such as La Solana, Fuentes Nuevas, Los Pedros, Los Collados and El Martin. The total area of the municipality is 243.3 km2; the population around 3000, the postal code is 18816, and every Friday morning the weekly market is held in the centre of the town of Castril de la Peña.
It was the Romans who first used the shelter of the overhanging rocks to establish a settlement that originally would have had a have a military use, (its name derived from fort or camp).
During the time of Arab rule the town was fortified town and was called Hisn Qastal (castle) The Arab-Andalusian geographer al-Zuhri described it as a fortress within whose courtyard there was a large flat stone over which so much water gushed that it could turn eight millstones.
Castril belonged to the Muslim kingdom of Granada, and in the late fifteenth century was conquered by the Catholic Monarchs. The subsequent Christianization of the region led to the expulsion of the Moors and the end of the coexistence of three cultures, Muslim, Catholic and Jewish, who had been a historical constant in al-Andalus for eight centuries. After the expulsion of the Moors, the area was repopulated by settlers from different parts of the peninsula. The Crown of Castile gave the estate to D. Hernando de Zafra, who then became Lord of Castril.
During the nineteenth century, due to its strategic position, Castril was again the scene of major military conflicts, both during the Napoleonic invasion, when French troops burned the town on June 26, 1810, and when, during the Guerras Carlistas, the battle of Llano de Los Tubos took place within the municipality (28 February, 1838).
The Timber policy, in place from the time of Philip II to the first 60 years or so of the 20th century, with continuous and unchecked logging, depleted much of the wealth of the forests of the mountains.
Castril glass is famous; its origins date back to the Catholic Kings, the colour being known for its mainly greenish-yellow hues, although the technique for manufacturing was lost early in the century.
Iglesia Parroquial (Parish Church).
Arbol Gordo and el Canton.
El Castillo and the Rock: The castle is situated on the promontory of a great rock, which was listed as a Natural Monument in 2002. Below the rock flows the River Castril whose source is within the Natural Park, and which later flows through the Hoya de Baza.
Recognized structures in the castle show that the fortifications were adapted to the configuration of the rock, protecting the few areas accessible to the site. Despite having suffered a great degradation in the twentieth century, and being used as a cemetery, remains of walls, towers and water cisterns have been preserved, and recently have been superbly restored due to a local restoration project. Visitors will find there one of the best vantage points to view the town and the surrounding environs.
Castrilian gastronomy is a perfect blend of the Arab past and the traces left by the early Christian inhabitants.
Pork products and sausage meat are in good supply throughout the year (pepperoni, sausage, morcilla, chorizo, stuffing and ham), among them is sausage preserved in olive oil, and ‘lomo de orza’(a pork dish) lamb ‘segureño’, and trout from the river Castril are also famous.
Among the traditional recipes, deserving of mention are ‘maimones’, casseroles, noodles with hare or partridge, fricassees, rabbit stew, chickpeas with chard, leg of pork with paprika, casserole of rice or noodles, and migas ‘pastor’. It is also worth mentioning that castrileña mushrooms are frequently included in the recipes, thanks to the large amount collected in the mountains during the autumn months.
Excellent quality olive oil is also produced in the area, as well as honey and ‘mistelas’.
Directions from Castril
From Granada on the A-92 go to Guadix Station, from where take the A-92N and continue until the turning for Zújar. There join the A-315 to Pozo Alcon (Jaén), and take the A-326 to Castril
Distances from Castril
Zújar 52 km
Caniles 55 km
Guadix 88 km
Granada 137 km
Castilléjar 25 km
Pozo Alcon 23 km
Cortes de Baza 33 km
Cuevas del Campo 34 km