La Iruela, Comarca Sierra de Cazorla
La Iruela belongs to the province of Jaén, located in the north-east of Sierra de Cazorla. In its western part we can find the cultivated lands, being the rest of the municipal district a reforested mountainous area with pine woods. This area belongs to the Sierras de Cazorla, Segura y Las Villas Natural Park, where the natural charms are innumerable, both for the landscape, and for the richness of its flora and fauna. In fact, La Iruela is the main entrance to the bigger nature reserve in Spain.
The olive cultivation and the country holidays are the most important economic activities in La Iruela although we also can emphasize the forest activity.
The town has many hospitable and privileged places due to its landscape, gastronomy and tradition. There are seventeen districts and spots with its own name: Burunchel, El Palomar, El Burrueco, Arroyo Frío, Fontanares, La Estrella, Mortalejos, Tramaya, El Pocico, San Martín, Pasada Barrero, and Los Tíscares, Arroyos de Plaza, Juntas de Muriel, Nubla, Don Roque and Cañamares.
The first traces of the human presence in the surroundings of La Iruela date from La Copper Age (III millennium B.C.), with an intense settlement until the Bronze Age.
During the second half of II millennium B.C this area became depopulated, and the investigators do not find an explanation yet, until in II century B.C we can observe a proliferation of settlements. One of these is Nubla, that nowadays we can see it in the skyline due to the fortification remains, and that it was active from the Iberian period to the Medieval Age. We can affirm the same activity during the Roman Age, with the bridge of the Molino that cross the River Cañamares.
During the Islamic Period La Iruela should be one of the farmhouses or small rural villages that inhabited the region, just like Cazorla. Around XI century this village was surrounded by a wall, whereas the summit of the hill was used like a refuge.
In 1231 it was conquered by the archbishop of Toledo, Rodrigo Ximénez de Rada, being part of the Adelantamiento de Cazorla, a big lordship built by the archbishop and linked to the archbishop of Toledo.
In 1294 the archbishop Sancho de Castilla, with the idea of reinforcing the alfoz of Cazorla, gave him La Iruela like village. But La Iruela does not to obey this privilege given to Cazorla, taking place different violent confrontations between both villages. In 1366, during the government of the archbishop Gome Manrique, a militant in the side of Enrique II the towns and places of Adelantamiento were divided: whereas Cazorla followed the party of Pedro I. La Iruela supported the policies of the archbishop, awarded the Villazgo, June 28, 1370. This independence were short-lived because Cazorla achieved from the archbishop the cancellation of the privilege to La Iruela, returning to its condition of small village, august 5 1370. In 1378 it recovered its “municipal autonomy”, with the awarding of the privilege in Villazgo by the archbishop Pedro Tenorio This way it was only subjected to the archiepiscopal jurisdiction of Toledo whose prelates appointed mayors, scribes and the rest of officials of justice.
Don Francisco de los Cobos, secretary of the emperor Carlos V, obtained that the monarch let the town against the mitre of Toledo. They do not accept the loss and argued until in 1606 recovered the town. Meanwhile, the Cobos, who were important patrons in the lands of his lordship, ordered to build inside the castle, the church of Santo Domingo.
The archbishops of Toledo obtained the possession of this town in august 1811, when the Cortes of Cádiz abolished the territorial jurisdiction of the archbishopric in all the Adelantamiento de Cazorla, the mitre of Toledo had the spiritual jurisdiction over theses lands until 1958, year in which it belonged to Jaén.
Castle of La Iruela
Ruins of the Church Santo Domingo de Silos
Church of La Inmaculada Concepción
Fountain of El Molino
Hermitage of Los Desamparados
Hermitage of San Julián
Temple of El Espíritu Santo
Small Palace Calerilla
We can find some typical dishes in La Iruela such as the stews cooked with products from the land, within reach of the hand, as if the family food cupboard was an open window to the immediacy of the homeland from where you can find the natural turned into daily ration.
In La Iruela we can find dishes cooked with wheat and flour, in which the “talarines” (a serrana expression), in other places the dish is called andrajos, harapos, galianos or guiñapos, being a stew that has a vegetable sofrito with pepper and tomato, and in spell of milk caps it gave this dish a mint touch. You can cook any small game meat, hare, rabbit or partridge, or where appropriate cod, and where it should be boiled a thin flour pastry and water in tatters like a torn cloth, or flour cloth, hence the origin of its different names.
But we have to mention other dishes made with flour, in the “gachamiga” it is combined the olive oil, flour, water, potatoes from the nearby vegetable gardens, and the skilful cook who achieves to made a solid omelette you can eat with chorizos, torreznos (fried rashers of bacon) and the black puddings, together with different fruits such as grapes, cucumbers or pieces of melon and bunches of cherries.
The most important farinaceous stew is the “gachas de harina con caldo” made with a tough pastry.
The most typical dish is the “rin ran” with its meat of red pepper, onions or spring onions, potatoes, cod, black olives and the famous olive oil.
We can emphasize the “huevos serranos” that usually are served in a saucepan with pork products like the chorizo, the streaky bacon and the wild animals’ meat.
How to get there
You have to exit Jaén towards Mancha Real – Baeza – Úbeda. Alleyway of Mancha Real. Pass near Garcíez and take the alleyway of Donadío. Then you pass near Hornos de Peal. You have to cross Peal de Becerro and continue towards Cazorla. When you arrive Cazorla you have to follow the signals until La Iruela.
To Jaén 96 km
To Cazorla 1,6 km
To Santo Tomé 19 km
To Tiscar 34 km
To Hinojares 47 km
To Peal de Becerro 14 km
To Jódar 45 km
To Úbeda 45 km