Los Villares, Sierra Sur Region
Los Villares is a town located to the northeast of the region called Sierra Sur, 11 Kilometres from Jaén. This circumstance, together with the abundance of water in the area and the mild temperature in summer (with an average temperature of 16 degrees), make that this town became in an ideal rest place during the summer season.
It has an area of 87,94 Km2 and with an altitude of 636 metres.
Many streams and the Rivers Eliche and Río Frío cross its municipal district.
The urban area is located in a stream bed, near the junction of both rivers. Its privileged location makes that this town has beautiful mountain nature reserves.
The economy is based on the olive tree cultivation that produces first-class dry oil, and to a lesser extent, on the cattle and goat exploitation. The second source of income is the making of wicker objects, which gives a relative economic stability, as well as the bottling of mineral water in the source of the River Frío, the home-made of cold cured meat, the handicraft of the esparto grass and of other plants.
Los Villares was founded in the XVI century, within the framework of the repopulation policy of Las Sierras de Jaén, promoted by the Crown after the end of the Reconquest. This area, frontier with the kingdom of Granada, was waste and uninhabited land, with its colonization it was pursued the safeguard and defence of the roads.
In 1508 the Concejo de Jaén put forwards to the queen Juana that in the municipal districts and Sierras of that town and within its jurisdiction there was capacity to inhabit several places, among them we can mention Villares de Jige. Through Royal Decree, the queen Doña Juana prepared all the necessary in order to found these towns. In it is mentioned the need to protect these places, as well as its properties to be inhabited, because they had vegetable gardens and water, as well as bread mill.
This was not the first time that Jaén asked for repopulating these lands, according to the Royal Decree, there were requests and solicitations from the Spanish Catholic monarchs Ferdinand V and Isabella age.
The founding of Los Villares was not immediate. The inhabitants of Jaén gave notice of several lawsuits, with them the upper middle class of the town tried to profit from the benefits and exemptions of the new foundation. The implementation took place in the time of Carlos V, May 16, 1538, with the partition of lands, the zoning and design of the town.
In Los Villares, like in the rest of the founding of La Sierra (Mancha Real, Valdepeñas, Campillo de Arenas), there was implanted a colonial grid town planning, a heritage of the “castros romanos”. A town planning design that would have many repercussions, like immediate precedents of the founding carried out by the Spanish crown in Latin America.
The initial forecasts to Los Villares in the XVI century were the ones of a town with 300 inhabitants. The first settlers were farmers from Jaén, although we also have to mention infantry and cavalrymen of the Emperor Guard.
In the mid of the XVIII century the town had 550 inhabitants. Apart from the farm Los Villares had a handcrafted, stockbreeding and business development. In the mid of the XIX century Madoz reports us about its cereal produce, fruit trees, grapevine and oil, this last one like the main product, cattle breeding, the industry, among it there were several flour and oil mills, and two potteries.
Parish Church of San Juan Bautista
Casas Capitulares del Ayuntamiento
Spa of Jabalcuz
Casa del Vizconde (Palace of El Vizconde): The Casa del Vizconde or Casa Grande as the villagers call it, is a palatial home with the features of the typical urban mansion where the landed nobility resided. Its design follows that of the rural Castilian and Upper Andalusian Renaissance style, with a stone façade and organised around a courtyard with shoulder arches built with wood header beams, beautiful lintels and stanchions of considerable artistic and artisanal value. The main façade boasts an elegant high gallery with semicircular arches.
The house belonged to the family of Francisco de Zeballos y Villegas, the first Viscount de los Villares, and is the only civil construction coeval to the foundation of the village in the 16th century.
The residential building and agricultural structures (granary, orchard, stables, etc) were built on the original large plot. Subsequent divisions of theoriginal tract of land and construction in the 19th century of a block of buildings on the former town square facing the mansion have led to the present situation in which the building has lost the important role it played in the urban layout.
Los Villares Gastronomy
Typical dishes: Atascaburra (Boiled potatoes salad, cod, tomato, onion, garlic, hard-boiled eggs and tuna)
Pipirrana villariega (Ripen tomatoes, garlic, green pepper, boiled yolk, crumb, salt and olive oil. With hard-boiled eggs, tuna or cod slices
Choto de Los Villares (young goat)
Biscotelas de Díaz
Dulce de Patas de Cabra (Made with cream and sponge cake)
Alfajor casero (With sugar and almonds)
Pan de Higo (Dough dried figs with almonds)
How to get there
You have to exit Jaén and continue in A-6050. Then you get Los Villares
Distances from Los Villares
Jaén 11 km
Martos 16 km
Jamilena 21 km
Contreras 16 km
Torredonjimeno 26 km
Baños de Martos 22 km
Torre del Campo 27 km
Castillo de Locubín 61 km
Valdepeñas de Jaén 19 km
Fuensanta de Martos 19 km