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Villages in Almeria

Olula de Castro

Villages in Almeria

Olula de Castro – Sierra de los Filabres – Almería

Olula de Castro is a town on the sunny side of the Sierra de los Filabres, made up of a group of white terraced houses with slate roofs, among olive and almond trees.

The origins of the people of Olula have its origin, just as all towns of the Sierra, in prehistoric times, which left some prints in the Roca del Huerto del Moro or the one of Los Rodeos and which reached their these areas men from North Africa who had lived with those who still lived in caves in our land.

In the same way that during the Prehistoric men from Africa arrived in the last years of the XVII century or beginning of VIII the Berbers very Romanized and Christians, called yarawás, led by the Queen’s Kahima settled in our Sierra de Filabres and lived there over several centuries by giving its stamp on the filabreño towns.

Both Castro and Olula de Castro are Latin place names that may well be related to the camps of the African Queen. So the inhabitants of the Sierra de Filabres, during the Middle Ages, were Mozarabs who were linked to Alfonso VII el Batallador when he won Almería and left with him to repopulate the newly conquered Ebro valley.

The demographic gap caused in the villages of La Sierra is covered by new Islamized Berber tribes who brought Almoravids and Almohads, resulting in the construction of 20 villages, whose names came to the end of the XVI century and the Catholic Monarchs’ chroniclers kept them and some documents of the XVI century.

Most of the place names of Olula come from the modern era, thanks to the resettlers. They appear in the Census of Ensenada, made in the mid-eighteenth century. These payments are collected from the Carrera, the Nogueras, the Chaparrillo, of Morales, of Umbría and the Molinillo.

After the conquest of Almería and the area of Los Filabres by the Catholic Monarchs, Olula was ceded to the territorial dominion of the Duke of Infantado together with Castro and Uleila del Campo.

Castro later passed to the heirs of Don Enrique Enríquez, while Olula and Uleila del Campo remained under the dominion of the Duke of Francavilla (duchy of the Infantry). The payments that Olula de Castro sent the Duke of the Infantry in the XVIII century were 1.850 reals (old Spanish coin worth a quarter of peseta).

From the ecclesiastical point of view, Olula was an annex of the parish of Castro from 1505 to 1782 where it proceeded to the administrative reform of the Diocese of Almería by the Bishop Fray Anselmo Rodríguez and it was granted its own parish.

In the middle of the XVIII century the church collected 1.255 reals from Olula Castro as compensation of tithes. In Olula there was an association of Nuestra Señora del Patrocinio, just as in other towns of Los Filabres. Between 1505 and 1568 the population of Olula de Castro is totally Moorish.

When at Christmas in1568 the Moriscos from La Alpujarra rebel, the people from Gérgal also rose and tried to rise the Moriscos from Los Filabres, who initially remained peaceful, but later they participated in the rebellion. More than half of the Moors who lived in the villages of Los Filabres died in the combats, famine or disease.

From 1573 began a slow repopulation of the towns of Los Filabres and Olula is one of the areas that later was settled. From the data we have, to Olula de Castro arrived ten settlers and the land is divided so that they could live. Lands for which the payed more or less 3.164 marevedíes. At the end of the XVI century were only five neighbours, seven houses were in good condition and the estates were cultivated in a reasonable manner.

After the repopulation, the Sierra de los Filabres starts a deep isolation, and their neighbours are busy in the daily work of starting to land a piece of bread that came looking for in the last third of the XVI century. The fruit of their work is reflected 150 years later in the Census of Ensenada, 1752.

Olula de Castro was still in the dominion of the Duke of the Infantado in the mid XVIII century and was inhabited by 228 people, of whom 15 were farmers owners, 29 labourers who entered a real per day and 5 were paupers.  At this time the town had grown and there were 56 houses, two flour mills and a tavern. The church had its own priest, who earned 556 reals a year and also had an incumbent. The Duchy of El Infantado received 1.850 reals of the tercias of Olula de Castro.

The inhabitants of Olula were engaged in agriculture and livestock, thereby producing 407 celemines (dry measure equivalent to 4,6 litres) of irrigated land and cultivating in dry land about 692 fanegas (0,66 hectare) of land. The flocks of sheep and goats were numerous, taking advantage of the important grasses of the Sierra.

The population of Olula de Castro grew to around 727 inhabitants in the early XX century, and later it decreased to about 500 in the census of 1940 and just over 300 in 1981. Some of their farmhouses and hamlets have disappeared, such as El Tallón Alto, that in 1950 it had four houses and 24 inhabitants, and Tallón Bajo that only some houses are inhabited by seasons.

The phenomenon of migration has severely struck this unique town in the Sierra de los Filabres. Its people have had to take the path of emigration to the capital and other Spanish regions looking for the bread which is sometimes denied their own land. At this time the census of population has fallen to about 200 people, showing a predominance of older people, due to young people on average are working and living outside the town.

Olula de Castro Monuments

Parish Church

Olula de Castro Gastronomy

Sausages. Garlic soup. Pimentón o caldo colorao (a kind of fish casserole). Olla de trigo. Cocido en morcilla. Gurullos (country dish consisting mainly of soaked bread crumbs, drained and fried in lard and ingredients such as garlic, sausage and bacon among others). Escabechado. Kid with garlic.

Sweets: Rosco. Cream puffs. Puff pastries. Empanadillas.

Perdiz con gurullos

– partridge
– potatoes
– dry pepper
– onion
– saffron, bay leaf
– gurullos (handmade or purchased)
– salt, water, oil


One of the animals that inhabit the mountains near Olula de Castro is the partridge this is why this dish is traditional. You have to sauté the tomato, onion, saffron, and peppers with oil and salt. On the other hand sauté the chopped partridge with oil, garlic and bay leaf. Add the water and when it starts to boil add the sofrito. After 5 minutes add the gurullo, (the production of the gurullos is performed as follows: mix flour and water until you get a compact mass but malleable. Make a thread and cut in small pieces), the chopped potatoes, and boil all together. This same recipe is also carried out instead of partridge with rabbit but follow the same steps.

How to get there

You have to exit Almería towards Huércal de Almería, cross this one and continue on Highway 340. Continue towards Almería – E-15 – N-340 – Nijar – Murcia. At the roundabout, take the salida 1 and continue along: A-92A towards: A-92 – Benahadux – Guadix. Continue along: A-92A, follow the signs until Benahadux. Alleyway of Benahadux. At roundabout, take the salida 3 and continue along: A-92 towards: Guadix – Granada. Take the exit towards: Salida 362 – Gérgal Este – Olula de Castro – Bacares – Las Menas – Serón – A-339. Pass near Gérgal. Alleyway of El Tallón Bajo and then you get Olula de Castro.

Distances from Olula de Castro

Fiñana 46 km
Ohanes 58 km
Escúllar 48 km
Almería 52 km
Purchena 62 km
Tabernas 26 km
Abrucena 42 km
Alboloduy 35 km
Doña María Ocaña 33 km

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