Huelma, Region of Sierra Mágina
Huelma is located to the south of the Comarca de Sierra Mágina in the provincial limit with Granada. Huelma is to 50 Kilometres from Jaén and to 81 kilometres from Granada. It borders on Cámbil, to the east it borders on Bélmez de la Moraleda, to the south on Guadahortuna (Province of Granada) and to the west on Montejicar (Province of Granada), having important commercial and business connections with these neighbouring towns.
It has an area of 250 km2, which is only the 1, 5 % of the provincial territory. The northern part of the town belongs to the Natural Park Sierra Mágina, where 2000 metres high are reached to go down, softened the landscape, until the River Jandulilla, to the east.
Huelma has 6102 inhabitants and a population density of 24,4 inhabitants per Km2. Huelma is composed of Huelma and Solera.
The geography of Huelma favours the cultivation of the olive grove; and above all predominates the oil variety, with this it is produced an olive oil with a high quality. We can observe several mills for making olive oil that belong to the Guarantee of Origin of Aceites Sierra Mágina. Together with other important areas like the cattle farming and an incipient industry in the timber sector.
The inhabitants of Huelma have created, with their activity, a peculiar landscape, that starting from a physical basis, constituting a sumptuous wealth, both for its diversification and for its interest and, and specially, for the potentiality of development.
When we refers to the Prehistory of Huelma we can observe that it is one of the most famous sculptures in these last times, the exceptional head of Wolf, whose image has travelled Europe like a poster of the exposition called “Los Íberos. Príncipes de Occidente”.
The head of wolf is part of one of the most important centres of the Iberian culture, the Santuario Heroico del Cerro del Pajarillo (IV century B.C.). This sanctuary was the entrance of a territory controlled by an Iberian aristocrat in the valley of the River Jandulilla, and whose head office should be located in the settlement of Úbeda la Vieja. The Sanctuary was dominated by a central tower with a group of sculptures that depict a heroic scene, in which an individual (an hero) faces a wolf that has kidnapped another person who is naked and inert. The entry to the tower was through a complex system of stairs. The monument had the figures of two griffins and two lions lied down. In front we can observe a care area where took place ritual activities, through offerings (the site was buried after its excavation, the sculptures are conserved in the Museo Provincial).
After the destruction of El Pajarillo the area appears deserted until the end of III century B.C. when these lands are settled through small farming cultivations.
In VIII century the ancestors of Banu Yuzayy were settled in Walma (Huelma), they were a distinguished family from Granada, who, when the Almoravids were defeated, they became lords of Jaén for some time.
During the Islamic rule and, above all, between the second half of XIII century and in the mid of XV century, Huelma was frontier fortified town and scouting party for the Nazarí Kingdom of Granada in the lands of Jaén. During these two centuries it took part actively in the frontier war. It passed from the Nasrids to the Castilians and vice versa. In 1438 it was conquered by Íñigo López de Mendoza, lord of Hita and Buitrago, Field Marshal of the frontier and the first Marquis of Santillana. He was appointed perpetual governor in spite of Baeza who put forward his right by reason of awarding granted by Fernando III, the Santo, in 1242 for “when this castle was won”. Nevertheless, in 1465, the Marquis of Santillana transferred his privileges of Huelma to his son-in-law, Don Beltrán de la Cueva, and he, in turn, to his father, Don Diego.
Don Beltrán de la Cueva, who was favourite of the King Enrique IV, tried to build a lordship in Sierra Mágina. The castle that dominates the village was built in that moment. In this way the village was one of the centres from where the supporters of the King Enrique IV and allied of the Condestable Iranzo fought against the nobility from the East.
After the conquest of Granada carried out by the Catholic Monarchs this village had a stability political period that with the ploughing and reforestation company favoured a stage of economic expansion and with it the consolidation of the town. In 1530 started the construction of the parish temple, one of the most massive of the town.
At the end of XVII century, in spite of the crisis and the typical epidemics in this period, the number of inhabitants was 561. We can observe an economic growth during the XVIII century and continued in the following century that reached 3000 inhabitants. During the French invasion the castle was occupied by the General Sebastiani, who set him on fire before it was abandoned. After this incident the village had a period of stability, characterized by the agriculture that will be completed with mineral riches in lead pencil. In the mid of XX century, with 8.858 inhabitants, started a stage of decline, as well as the rest of the region. Recently Huelma is characterized because it is one of the most powerful serrana villages in the province.
In 1971 Huelma was declared Historic-Artistic Site.
Like a town belonging to the lordship of the duke and duchess of Alburquerque with the title of earl in Huelma, the information concerning to this town relative to the dukes is nowadays in the Fundación Archivo Histórico de la Casa Ducal de Alburquerque, located in the Castle of Cuéllar (Torre del Homenaje), 40200, Cuéllar (Segovia).
Historic Centre of Huelma
Castle and Remains of Muralla
Castle of Huelma or Castle of El Marqués de Santillana
Church of Nuestra Señora de la Inmaculada Concepción
The gastronomy of Huelma is around the slaughter pork products such as the carnerete or the market garden products, sobreusa, pipirranas, etc. and above all we can observe a great Arab confectionery, where we can emphasize sweets like the almendrados, nougat candies, roscos de sartén, wine bread rolls, hornazos (Easter pies), borrachuelos and the traditional Lent doughnuts.
How to get there
From the Motorway A – 44, Bailén – Motril: you have to take the exit 59, towards Cambil – Huelma
From Granada and Almería the main road of access is the N-324 through which you get Huelma
Distances from Huelma
Jaén 49 km
Cambil 17 km
Montejícar 13 km
Guadahortuna 16 km