Higuera de la Sierra
Higuera de la Sierra
Higuera de la Sierra located in the northeast of the province, next to Seville. It forms part of the Natural Park of the Sierra de Aracena and los Picos de Aroche, one of the most important protected areas of the community which occupies the entire north of the province with its meadows and small hills covered predominantly with oak forests, cork trees, chestnut trees and scrub, where numerous streams flow, forming a place of extraordinary beauty. It is ideal for livestock, especially for the Iberian pig, which finds the conditions ideal.
The city center and the Church of S. Sebastian are classified as Places of Cultural Interest. Also of interest are the Hermitage of S. Antonio, the Hermitage of Cristo del Rosario, the former Bullring, and an area known as Las Tobas.
The geographical location of Higuera de la Sierra has been vital in the history of this town, which is now a gateway to the Natural Park of the Sierra de Aracena and Picos de Aroche. In the times of Roman Spain, Higuera de la Sierra was associated with the Roman cross roads linking Pax Iulia (now Beja) with Híspalis (Sevilla) and the Andalusian capital with the important Emerita Augusta (Mérida).
Despite this, the most reliable historical data on Higuera de la Sierra comes from the period of the Reconquest, with the subsequent repopulation of the northern peninsula.
Until the late thirteenth century there is no proof for a nucleus of a native population, which was born out of the three trade roads from Zufre to Seville. A wild fig tree gave the name to this population, as a result of the merging of these three trade roads depending on Aracena and Zufre.
This dependency brought a lawsuit in the early sixteenth century, requesting the right of Higuera to independence from the two municipalities as a privilege in the time of Sancho IV, which granted it the title of a town.
It was King Carlos V who listened to the demands of the inhabitants, and gave them back the title of town, on 18th September 1553. This concession also marked then the territory of the municipality, “… half a league on each side” (Fal Conde, Domingo, 1949), which represented a reduction of the municipalities borders.
During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, Higuera de la Sierra suffered a time of crisis, similar to the rest of the region, which resulted in a decline in population and a difficult economic situation. Land reforms driven by the arrival of the Bourbons to the throne allowed a recovery of both the economy and population, which reached about 1700 residents, who were mostly goat farmers. The Council also had a public granary which offset crop losses in difficult years.
The first decades of the nineteenth century brought new difficulties for the residents of Higuera. The War of Independence and other difficulties left their mark, but the second half of the century saw the natural resources of the municipality, mainly forest, driving forward a new economy based on the cork industry and wood for charcoal.
Several Cork Stopper industries based in Catalunia set up in the area, which became very important for the production in this sector, spreading out to the south of France, the Condado de Huelva and the area of Jerez.
In addition, forest resources catered to the emerging mines belonging to the municipality of la Cuenca Minera, which turned Huelva into the most important mining centre in the world for much of the nineteenth century.
This economic boom brought a series of social changes to the locality, with the emergence of a strong bourgeoisie, and a skilled working class. Links with the activities of the primary sector did not disappear, but led to the construction of sausage factories.
At the beginning of the last century, the population of Higuera de la Sierra exceeded 2,000 people, although the effects of the Civil War, the collapse of traditional economies and the subsequent migration led to a decline in the population, which currently stands at 1,300. Today, the important cork industry, which has a dozen factories in town, is combined with other resources such as the Iberian pig. The sunny side of the Sierra de Santa Bárbara, on which Higuera is situated, also allows the presence of a large olive grove, providing a livelihood for many families.
A factory producing ham and sausage from the Iberian pig, a nursery of native plants, and livestock and game make up the economy of Higuera de la Sierra today. Also, the importance of its cultural and ethnological heritage has made this mountain town into one of the most important points for rural tourists, who choose the Natural Park of the Sierra de Aracena and Picos de Aroche to enjoy contact with nature.
Higuera de la Sierra Monuments
Site of Historic / Artistic Interest
Hermitage of Virgen del Prado, sixteenth century
Church of San Sebastian
Hermitage Cristo del Rosario.
Houses from the sixteenth & seventeenth century
Higuera de la Sierra Gastronomy
Lovers of good food can find in bars and restaurants of Higuera de la Sierra all kinds of products made from Iberian Pork, which is the star of the Natural Park of the Sierra de Aracena and Picos de Aroche. The meadows surrounding the village are the ideal environment for rearing and fattening these animals, which provide high-quality culinary products. Hams, bacon, pork back, sausages, blood sausages and fresh meat are a delight for the most demanding of palates. An industrial slaughterhouse can be found in Higuera.
The hunting tradition and the abundance of asparagus and various types of mushrooms in the area also provide delicious dishes. All of these are accompanied by homemade bread, made daily by the bakers of Higuera.
The cuisine of Higuera de la Sierra boasts some very typical and traditional dishes, which makes it stand out from the other surrounding towns. The winter gazpacho (with liver and potatoes), the chestnut soup or hand-picked garlic, which is blended with a unique local product, such as empaná serrana.
The desserts feature mainly chestnuts & cheese. You can try this dry fruit (chestnut), typical of the mountains, in Marron glacé, as cream, jam or liqeur, made by the Higuera Development Group, which also makes other products such as blackberry liqeur and tea infusions.
However, the recipes passed from generation to generation also have their importance in the gastronomy of Higuera de la Sierra. Desserts such as las tortas de chicharrones (prepared at the time of the slaughter of the Iberian pork), tea infusions, broad beans or snails form part of the life of this town, with a great tradition in the production of liquors, like brandys made from cucumber, “bruño”, figs, and cherries, heirs of the former anisette factory close to the Bullring.
Near the town you will find the National Road 433, which links Seville and Lisbon, and crosses the Sierra from east to west. Also, this road merges with the National Road 435 near Jabugo, allowing easy access if you come from Extremadura.
Coming from Huelva, the easiest way is to take the A 461, near El Campillo, arriving directly at Higuera de la Sierra.
Distances from Higuera de la Sierra
Zufre 12 km
Huelva 96 km
Sevilla 74 km
Jabugo 33 km
Aroche 55 km
Aracena 13 km
Cortegana 41 km
Cañaveral de León 30 km