Pegalajar, Sierra Mágina Natural Park
Pegalajar is located to the south of the province, next to the Motorway Granada- Jaén, and at the foot of Sierra Mágina, between olive lands and mountains. The municipality limits with Mancha Real, Torres, Cambil, Cárcheles, Jaén, La Guardia de Jaén and Campillo de Arenas.
Its municipal district belongs to the Natural Park of Sierra Mágina that is part of the Subbética and where we can observe beautiful and spectacular landscapes. As regards the vegetation, we can find many holm-oak woods, gall-oak groves, the pino carrasco (Aleppo Pine) and the European Black Pine. It is also important its rich and varied fauna.
The oldest documented settlement dates back between 2000 and 2500 B.C, like we can see in La Cueva de los Majuelos. Another of the Prehistoric references is the hill of La Torre de la Cabeza, in which we can observe a mixture of remains from the Copper, Bronze, Iberian, Roman and Medieval Age.
The first written references of this town date back to the X century in the work of the oriental geographer Al Muqadasi identified with the aforementioned like Al-Jafr “with a great number of courses of water and mills”. The same name of Pegalajar can be translated like “Peña de la Vega”, with regard to the vegetable gardens that were there. In the time of Al-Andalus it would be one of the “hins” (fortress) that protected a wide area of irrigated lands that, from the walls, went down until the Guadalbullón, with the traditional Moslem system based on terraces, watered with the waters of the Fuente Vieja or La Reja, with a reservoir and a network of irrigation ditches and small irrigation channels, that nowadays we can observe in the landscape.
This fortress (hins) was one of the links, which together with the castles of La Guardia, Cambil, Huelma and other, made up the defensive line of Cora de Yayyan (Jaén). The walls remains that we still can find and that are well disguised between the houses or through canvas and towers, visible in some streets, enable us to establish two architectural sequences. On the one hand the primitive Moslem enclosure located in the top of the crag and on the other hand, the enlargement made in this square after the conquest and carried out by armies of Fernando III, with the construction of a second enclosure and the reinforcement of the original with more resistant circular towers to the attack of the gunpowder.
The Crónica del Condestable Miguel Lucas de Iranzo makes several references to Pegalajar: one on the occasion of a Moorish raid who stormed and burned it; another on the occasion of the siege to which the Condestable subjugates Pegalajar, where the rebellious commander Juan de Pareja was, its frontier importance the same way as a central place of the fights between the nobility from Levante against the Condestable. Because of a document of 1469, in which it refers to the Fuente Vieja and to the irrigation of the vegetable gardens, we know that the town kept its traditional farming system.
In 1559 Pegalajar exempted from the jurisdiction of Jaén and it is declared Villa through Carta de Privilegio Real. The town starts an economic and demographic blossoming period; it overwhelmed the primitive poor quarter of the castle and starts the construction of a new parish church with huge dimensions. In the XVII century the town goes on the trend of the province with crisis of supplies and periods of shortage. The new reforming trends of the XVIII century favoured a new growth of the population, a growth that kept until the middle of this century in which, like in the rest of the province, the town had to emigrate to other places of Spain.
Parish Church, XVIII century. Renaissance style.
Town Hall, XVIII century.
Cave of Las Motillas. Palaeolithic and Neolithic remains.
Arch of La Puerta de Jaén.
The gastronomy in Pegalajar is enriched due to its nature of agricultural and serrano town, that has had traditionally like base the local stockbreeding and the agricultural produce. We can emphasize its sausages, a pig slaughter product, like the black puddings, chorizos, sausage or lomo en orza (loin of pork), without forgetting dishes like pipirrana (mashed potatoes, red pepper, oil, salt and cod), gazpacho (Andalusian cold soup), andrajos (a stew of flour flat cakes with tomato, onion, garlic, red pepper and rabbit), migas with cod (crumbs), conejo al ajillo (rabbit fried with garlic)….
The olive oil is the important ingredient in its gastronomy and culture, the same way as the craftwork that uses like raw material native elements such as the wicker, esparto grass or wood.
The town is part of the production area of the Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
This oil is marketed with the label of quality of: Guarantee of Origin “Sierra Mágina”.
How to get there
The best way to get the municipalities of the park is by car, from Jaén, the shortest way is through the road N-321 turning off Mancha Real, from there you can take regional or local roads to Jimena, Pegalajar or Torres, towns that belong to the park.
From Granada and Almería you have to take the N-324 until you get Huelma. From here you have to take the C-325 and you get Belmez de la Moraleda or following the N-324 to Cambil, but it is more convenient to take the Motorway of Granada.
From the north and once in Úbeda, you have to take the C-325 that takes you, after cross the nature reserve Alto Guadalquivir, to Jódar in whose castle is the reception interpreter centre of the Parque. From this town you can gain Access to Bedmar taking the C-328, and from there to Jimena and Albanchez de Úbeda.
Distances from Pegalajar
Jaén 36 km
Jimena 26 km
Bedmar 34 km
Úbeda 50 km
Huelma 38 km
La Guardia de Jaén 39 km