Hornachuelos – Sierra de Hornachuelos Natural Park
Hornachuelos is situated to the west of the province, at the foot of the Sierra Morena. Although the river Guadalquivir passes through the bottom of the lands, most of its municipal territory is included in the Natural Park of the Sierra de Hornachuelos, the largest protected area in the province, which is of outstanding natural beauty, full of oaks, holm oaks and underbrush; besides banks of willow and forests of ash and alder. To this we must add its valuable wildlife which provides good hunting. Its natural wealth is completed with a gorgeous landscape of great hydrological value for the location and within the municipality are the reservoirs of Retortillo and Bembézar.
The town sits on a hill overlooking a branch of the Bembézar dam adapting its urban structure to the local landscape and forming a set of great beauty, within which it is necessary to emphasize the Castle and the Iglesia de Santa Maria de los Flores (Church of St. Mary of Flowers).
The origin of Hornachuelos is uncertain. It can be identified with the ancient Anarelos and the Celts which are mentioned in the Antonine Itinerary and spoken of by Pliny.
There are existing remains which can trace their origins back to the eleventh century, and, it appears, within secure documents, that the region was reconquered in 1240 by Fernando III, and in 1254, Alfonso X put it under the jurisdiction of Córdoba.
In 1637 Don Lope de Hoces received from Felipe IV the jurisdiction and lordship of the town and in 1640 Antonio Alonso de Hoces was granted the title of First Count of Hornachuelos and second Lord of the Villa.
Hornacho is “a hollow in the mountains for the extraction of minerals” which speaks to us of the origin of the early miners, so said al-Idrisi (XII century) and Ibn al-Abbar (XIII century) writing referring to a site near the city where gold and silver was mined.
El Duque de Rivas in his “Don Alvaro o la fuerza del sino “, puts a great part of it, in Hornachuelos, specifically in the kitchen of the inn of Sr. Montipodo and Sra Colaso.
Church of Santa Maria de las Flores, early sixteenth century, Gothic-Mudejar Renaissance. The main door, attributed to Hernán Ruiz I, is flamboyant Gothic style. The tower was erected in 1781.
Remains of the castle and city walls, eighth or ninth century, preserved also is the keep and courtyard.
Chapel of Holy Saviour or Christ, eighteenth century, small church with a single nave.
Convent of the Carmalitas Discazas and Church of Our Lady of the Sierra, in the town of San Calixto.
Cistercian Monastery of Santa Maria de las Escalonias.
Convent of St. Mary of the Angels, located in a rugged and beautiful place on the right bank of the river Bembézar.
Site of El Ochavillo with late Roman necropolis. Remains of prehistoric mining, bell-glasses at El Bramadero.
Moratalla Palace, about 7 km from Hornachuelos, the gardens were designed by engineer Fosterier JN, modeled on Versailles.
Antigua Posada de la Calle Mayor, seventeenth century.
Casa de la Calle Béjar, end of the eighteenth century Casas la Palmera, stands by the original palm-shaped pavement.
Conejo en Pebre, Chorizo de Venado y Hojuelas.
Given the wealth of species here, virtually all the cuisine is devoted to it. In its largest game reserves are collected about 2,000 pieces per season, thus the villagers are experts in preparing boar and deer.
The venison sausage has exquisite additions to the animal’s flesh, sweet and hot paprika, salt, pepper, garlic, cumin and oregano. After leaving it in this marinade for two days, it is stuffed into casings and allowed to air dry. Also special in the preparation is la pierno de venado (deer leg). To remove the “husmo”, the peculiar flavor of some game meat, marinade for several days in oil, carrot, onion, garlic, thyme, bay leaf, pepper, clove, tarragon, vinegar, white wine and salt then stew in butter and eat with a hot sauce.
To sweeten the palate from the confectioners there are products such as cakes, toast, fritters, donuts, cookies and hojuelas. These are made with egg, flour, water and oil and finally bathed in honey.
Also great to eat is pebre rabbit, not poor, as some mistakenly say. Pebre is a sauce made with oil, garlic, pepper, parsley, water, and vinegar.
In the dams of Bembézar and Retortillo there are abundant mallard which are stewed in Hornachuelos with lard, wine, salt, pepper and nutmeg. In places such dams are regularly visited by hikers who take great delight in simply walking or fishing for catfish, bream and eels, fish well suited to end in the pan.
Out of Cordoba. Continue: A-431, passing Villarubia and Almodóvar del Río. Pass Posadas and follow on to Hornachuelos.
Distances from Hornachuelos
Cordoba 48 km
Palma del Rio 17 km
Medina Azahara A 42 km
Almodóvar del Río 23 km
La Puebla de los Infantes 30 km