Valdelarco is situated within 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.
The urban area which is small, secluded and quiet, is listed as of Cultural Interest, as is the Church of el Divino Salvador.
There was a Roman presence here since the first century AD, remains of which can be found in Puerto Lanchar and in Valle de los Lobos. Although it was also affected by Arab rule, the origin of Valdelarco as we know it today is due to the Christian repopulation of the thirteenth century by Galician and Leonese people, and also the brief presence of the Portuguese during the reconquest, in the times of Sancho IV and Alfonso III (1267). The later Jewish presence in the late fifteenth century finished shaping the medieval centre, which is located between the streets Dr. Adame, Jupiter, Parra and Domino, and it was this that gave the town its labyrinthine layout.
Economically the town alternates between times of prosperity and times of hardship. The first half of the sixteenth century, and the second half of the eighteenth and nineteenth century were periods of boom, which relied on the rich, rain-fed agriculture (figs, chestnuts, apples), the exploitation of pastures (cattle, firewood, charcoal, honey and wax, two products which have earned the inhabitants the nickname “beekeepers”), and the development of a thriving artesan industry in the nineteenth century.
The stages of economic malaise, during the second half of the seventeenth, and early eighteenth century, correspond to the agricultural crisis, clashes with Portugal, and epidemics.
Affected throughout this century by the economic and demographic processes common to the crisis throughout the Sierra, today the population is reduced to 282 people, mostly engaged in agricultural and other related activities, such as making goats milk cheese, and making ham and sausages.
Historic – Artistic centre
Houses, from the eighteenth century.
The local kitchens, at the time of “la Matanza”, feature such dishes as “el caldillo”; soup made with garlic, pork liver, sweetbreads, bacon and slices of bread. Another culinary specialty is “Migas Valdelarquinas”, made with olive oil, whole heads of garlic, red peppers, fried potatoes and thin slices of bread, which are crushed with an iron blade and cooked on the same fire. This is accompanied by “mosto” and grilled sardines. Other local dishes include rice with rabbit and tanas, and chestnut soup.
At the time of “la matanza” they also make dried apricots or peaches cooked with honey and wine. Honey is another traditional valdelarquino product, and the abundance of this product gives them a variety of homemade sweets.
Leave Huelva heading to San Juan del Puerto – Trigueros. On the outskirts of San Juan del Puerto, turn right onto the N-435 heading to Trigueros – Badajoz. Continue along the A-493. Pass through Valverde del Camino. Continue along the Carretera de Zalamea. Continue along the N-435 and pass near El Pozuelo. Near Galaroza, turn right onto the N-433 and follow signs to Valdelarco.
Distances from Valdelarco
Huelva 113 km
Aroche 35 km
Aracena 19 km
Sevilla 105 km
Galaroza 8 km
Cortelazor 19 km
Cañaveral de León 39 km
Higuera de la Sierra 32 km
Valverde del Camino 69 km