Peal de Becerro
Peal de Becerro
Peal de Becerro is a town that has its territory divided, located the main enclave to the regional west and in olive open country lands and the secondary enclave, to the East of the region and in the centre of the mountainous area, it belongs to the Natural Park of Sierras de Cazorla, Segura y Las Villas. The cultivated lands are distributed between herbaceous crops (wheat and barley) and the olive grove. In the mountain lands predominate the tree forest species.
Just like other towns of the region, its historical past is located in its surroundings or municipal district, although we have to say that in Peal there were found some Iberian-Roman elements that testify the presence of these cultures.
Regarding to the archaeological theme in Peal de Becerro there were found materials from the Prehistory, belonging to the Copper culture, like some materials from La Plaza de Armas de Las Juntas, in the mouth of the River Guadiana Menor over the Guadalquivir. We also can find some towns from the Bronze Age such as Cerro del Gato, over the Guadalquivir in the nearby Puente de la Cerrada or the materials from a final bronze in the Plaza de Armas de las Juntas.
However, Peal de Becerro is known because it has the best example of tomb in our old history. We refer to the Sepulchral Chamber of Toya, separate for the river, of its equivalent Iberian and Roman town. Undoubtedly, this tomb located in the nearby hill of Horca, shows up the importance of the Iberian occupation in these open countries, that we can find in the own hill of Gato or in the town of Hornos, in the known Cerro de la Compañía.
The municipal politics concentration of the native Hispanic town in big villages on the part of Roma, stresses the decline of Toya, but on the contrary, it will develop a new occupation concept, we refer to the presence of Roman “villas” like units of agricultural cultivation and the best example for the proslavery Roman exploitation. In the area around Peal and even in the municipality there were detected some remains that belong this kind of sites. Recently some Roman remains in the Cerro de la Horca were documented, as well as a big necropolis of Early Christian or Visigoth age.
In spite of the loss of historical importance in Toya during the Medieval Age, it is the only quoted in the Moslem chronicles and later by Christians from the XIII century like happens in the work “De rebus Hispaniae” from the conqueror of this area by Christians, Ximénez de Rada, Archbishop of Toledo and on behalf of the King Fernando III.
Next to Quesada, we can find Cazorla, La Iruela, and later Peal de Becerro, that in some texts it appears with the name Piel del Becerro (due to the linguistics development Piel-Pial-Peal).
The Christians in an unstable way will try to control the space of the future church of Toledo, establishing small fortifications in the borders of its lands or in strategic places of communication within it. Peal de Becerro seems subject to this need halfway through between Úbeda and Cazorla or Quesada.
This functional nature makes that it would depend on the “capital” of the progress, we refer to Cazorla, like this we sometimes find that it is called Peal de Cazorla.
From XIV century, the town-planning development of Peal takes place around the Castle or Fortress, from that we only have a splendid fortified enclosure and two of its Towers, the one of El Reloj and the tower Mocha. From XVIII century the growth of Peal spreads to the nearby hill, known like the neighbourhood of El Cerrillo that will be the populated area until XIX century.
From XIX century and in this difficult period of the Restoration carried out by Fernando VII, is going to declare Villa, in spite of depending on Cazorla for some years, the constant fight of the people from Peal in order to obtain the municipal autonomy after several efforts, it will be in 1.847, when the majority of the towns of this region were already.
It will be in this moment and from here when the regional history is similar between all the towns in the region, that it is startled, years later by the French presence and later by the Civil War, that being far away from the front, it will have its effects in certain behaviours and attitudes of an ultra-conservative town that is affected by a national crisis.
Nowadays, Peal de Becerro is one of the most dynamic towns in the region, based in the search for alternatives to an agrarian economy and trying to diversify its activities.
Peal de Becerro Monuments
Iberian Chamber of Toya
Hermitage of San Marcos
Ruins of the Castillo de Toya
Roman aqueduct of Hornos de Peal
Iberian Chamber of Hornos de Peal
Clock Tower: It formed part of the castle ascribe to Quesada together with the Mocha Tower. It is a little irregular stonework construction dating form the 14th century. It measures 6.20 metres from the side and it is about 12 metres high. The inside is divided into four levels containing a similar amount of rooms. The open windows date from late period where previously there were only small windows. We can observe in the exterior parament on the level of the upper floor a row of rubbles with a more White Stone which surrounds the Tower introducing a decorative element. The top is battlemented an is well preserved. There is a machicolation in the centre of every side except for the northeast side which was destroyed for the installation of a clock.
Peal de Becerro Gastronomy
The base in the gastronomy is the extra virgin olive oil from the oil mills of the region. We have to emphasize some dishes such as the gachamiga (oil, flour, water and salt), with peppers, belly pork or melon; rin-ran (potatoes, peppers and tomatoes); ajoharina and the talarines, also called andrajos. With regard to the confectionery we can emphasize retorjios, roscos de la sartén (fried bread rolls), mostachones (small almond buns with sugar and cinnamon), roscos de baño (rolls made with flour, oil and eggs covering with meringue of egg white and sugar) and mantecados (rolls made with milk, eggs and sugar).
The municipality is part of the production area of the Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
This oil is marketed with the label of Guarantee of Origin “Sierra de Cazorla”.
How to get there
For those visitors who come from the southeast of Andalucía, Murcia and Alicante, you have to take the Motorway A-92 until the vicinity Baza where you link up with the Motorway A-315 that lead you until Pozo Alcón, Quesada and Peal de Becerro.
Those who come from Almería and Granada, have another alternative; get Peal through the Motorway A-320 via Iznalloz and Guadahortuna to Jódar, and until Peal de Becerro (C-328).
Distances from Peal de Becerro
Jaén 82 km
Jódar 31 km
Baeza 40 km
Úbeda 31 km
Jimena 48 km
Sabiote 29 km
Cazorla 13 km
Quesada 11 km