La Nava, Río Múrtigas Valley
The village of La Nava is located in the Múrtigas River Valley, surrounded by high mountains in the centre 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.
In addition to the landscape and natural environment it is of interest to visit the Church of Ntra. Sra. de Gracia, designated as a Site of Cultural Interest, the remains of the Roman road, and the Múrtigas dams.
Although it seems rather incongruous, La Nava has lost all records of its history – it is not that they do not exist, but so far nobody has bothered to investigate.
Since ancient times many people have been attracted to the Múrtigas valley because of the wealth offered by the land; first as a hunting ground, and then when it was settled as farmland and land for mining.
There are several archaeological sites that attest to the different peoples that have inhabited La Nava over the passing years. Of these sites there are three of great importance: Papatortas, which is west of the town towards the village of Puerto Lucia, Valdegalaroza, which lies 2.5 km away, and to the South of the town near the N-435, (and best of them all) is the Sierra de la Algaba.
The arrival of the Romans in the lands of La Nava led to the working of several different mines in the area, from which they extracted iron, copper and silver in abundance. It even led to a small town being built to house the miners working there. They chose to build this town on the site where the Hermitage de las Virtudes stands today. Many of the stones or bricks from this town have been used in the subsequent construction of the chapel, as can be seen in the walls which contain a variety of materials from the Roman town.
With the decline of the Roman Empire also came the decline of the mines, which were abandoned. This resulted in the depopulation of the village, which was left to its own fate during the domination by the Visigoths.
The Christian conquest was made by the Portuguese King Sancho II between 1230 and 1235, helped by the Order del Hospital, until in 1255 it passed to the crown of Castilla.
The fourteenth century was very hard for La Nava, with the plague epidemic of 1311 depopulating the village, which remained uninhabited until 1341.
During the wars with Portugal in 1476, La Nava was destroyed, so Queen Isabel I granted a tax exemption to help with the village’s recovery.
Life went on in this way in the village until 1811, when it was occupied on April 10 by French troops who stole the bread and the food prepared for the poor, and killed the mayor. The end of the nineteenth century brought a period of prosperity for La Nava, when work began on several of the 86 mines that exist in the area.
The population of La Nava rose from 782 in 1950 to 1040 in the year 1960. This increase in population was a result of the Maria luisa mine being put into operation, but when mineral extraction stopped in the 70’s, emigration was the only way out for the population.
La Nava Monuments
Hermitage of la Virgen de Gracia.
Hermitage of Na. Sra. de las Virtudes.
Remains of an ancient Roman settlement
La Nava Gastronomy
Like all villages of the Sierra, La Nava has typical homemade local dishes of which the women of the village are very proud:
Cocido de Gurumelos .- A stew made with chickpeas, gurumelos and vinegaras (wild herbs), to which is added everything related to the pig: bacon, sausage, chorizo, tail, backbone, ear and lean meat.
Bollo de Papas .- Type of very thick mash made from a base of cooked potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, onions, garlic, with pieces of fried bacon added to it.
Picadillo de asadura .- For this dish bottled tomatoes are used along with onions, cilantro, oil, vinegar and salt. Roasted pig offal cut into small pieces is then added.
Gazpacho de Invierno .- Based on mashed potatoes, bottled tomatoes, cilantro, garlic, oil, vinegar and salt.
Caldillo ,- Food typical of “las Matanzas”, with boiled potatoes, offal, ribs and different parts of the pig.
Olla de coles.- Another of the dishes eaten during the days of “las Matanzas” where all edible internal parts of the pig are added to cooked cabbage.
Among the villages most popular desserts are: Dried apricots, sweets made from chestnut, quince jam, bottled peaches, etc.
From the N-435 (Huelva-Badajoz), take the turnoff to La Nava.
From the N-433 (Sevilla-Spain), take the road to Badajoz until you reach the turning for La Nava
Distances from La Nava
Huelva 109 km
Aracena 22 km
Galaroza 7 km
Jabugo 7,5 km
Aroche 30 km
Cortegana 15 km
Higuera de la Sierra 35 km