History and settlement
Mountain range of Andujar Natural Park
History of the Natural Park
The Andujar mountain range has been inhabited since prehistory. Its gentle orography, the rich mineral deposits that breed its entrails and the fertility of the fields that irrigate the Guadalquivir attracted to its confines numerous peoples, cultures and civilizations.
Throughout history, the different inhabitants of the Sierra used the resources it offered them to live, trade and prosper. In addition, its geographical location turned it into a crossroads of commercial routes, which allowed the influence of different cultures that traversed it for economic purposes.
During the last glacial periods hunting was the main resource, highlighting the hunting of deer in less cold and wet periods, while in arid and cold periods horse hunting prevailed. In caves such as Nava el Sach, El Rodriguero, Ravine of the Bu and Selladores, paintings dating from the late third millennium b.C. have been found, in the transition from the Copper Age to the Bronze Age. In these paintings schematic figures of human and animal content are represented. Already in that time and until the II century b. C. There were transhumant shepherds who used these lands.
The geology of Sierra Morena allowed around 1600 a. C., in the Bronze Age, the exploitation of its minerals by surrounding populations and played for years an important role in the use of resources. Traces of these ancient cultures can be found in sites located on the terraces of the Guadalquivir River and in the Rumblar River basin.
Next to the Rumblar reservoir there are remains in the Peñalosa site, which allow us to know data on the Argaric Culture, characteristic of the peninsular Southeast in this period. Its inhabitants maintained an economy based on agriculture and mining and used good quality bronze to make all kinds of utensils. The villages placed them on the summits and surrounded them with walls, which gives us an idea that it was a warrior society.
The Argaric Culture was displaced by the Tartessos, characteristic of the peninsular Southwest, whose decline influenced the advance of the Iberian Culture. The Iberians focused their mining on the production of silver from silver-bearing galena, with very important settlements such as El Centenillo. Silver was then the main incentive for Phoenician and Greek trade, and later, Carthaginian and Roman. Vestiges of exploitations, foundries and Iberian fortifications of the Sierra can be found for example in Plomo hill, Galiarda hill and Los Escoriales.
The exhaustion of a large part of the mining resources due to their continuous exploitation gave rise to an increase in livestock activity. This was, from the thirteenth century, the main resource for its inhabitants and altered the regime of land ownership and land use. The region of Andújar in the thirteenth century was in the hands of the Military Orders of Calatrava and it was at this time when the majority use of the land became pasture for livestock.
Likewise, in the sixteenth century, the peak of productive activity derived from hives was produced. During the sixteenth century, Philip II launched a program of sale of badlands, which had a great success in Andújar and allowed a group of families from different places to settle in extensive areas of the Sierra. This situation is the basis of the structure of the current property in the mountain part of the municipality.
In the 19th century the Law of Confiscation of Madoz supposed that part of the extensive mountain lands, owned by the State, were transferred to local and foreign owners. This fact substantially modified the structure of the aforementioned property, which then became dominated by large private properties of aristocratic and bourgeois origin.
At present, within the Sierra de Andujar Natural Park there is no population center, but isolated homes, the so-called "vineyards".
Paintings © Antonio Ajengo
Paintings © Antonio Ajengo
Settlement of Peñalosa
Settlement of Peñalosa
Winter orchards in El Centenillo ©Amigosdelcentenillo.blogspot
Hermitage San José
Farmhouse La Parrilla
Mining town of La Lancha
Population and architecture
Between the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries some areas of the Sierra of Andújar, such as Peñallana and La Alcaparrosa, on the path of the Sanctuary, were dedicated to the cultivation of the vine. At that time, the production of wine was one of the most comfortable and profitable agricultural activities for farm workers, who chose to raise their own wineries and wineries next to the vineyards. Of these old and functional constructions, which also served as the owner's residence, there are hardly any vestiges at present, along with the waterholes and the traditional bread ovens that used to be installed in the vicinity of the house.
Several of the hermitages, built over time to meet the growing population of the vineyards, are still standing. The current physiognomy of this singular mountain enclave is due, however, to the transformation that it experienced at the beginning of the 20th century. The wine profits plummet and the plots are occupied by landowners and aristocrats that make them Edenic places of leisure and rest.
Thus, there are beautiful historicist constructions in which one can observe the use of pediments, moldings, columns and semicircular arches in their facades, with tile decorations, carpentry and beautiful bars of forge with a marked Andalusian style. These buildings usually have three heights, the last one a viewpoint, and a columned porch that, in turn, supports a large terrace.
At present, the use as recreation area has meant an increase in housing, which reaches up to 400 houses registered in the Cadastre Property, although in reality there will be approximately a thousand houses in this area, with different category in the construction mode.
Within the Sierra de Andújar Natural Park, apart from these isolated dwellings, called vineyards, there is no population center, except in the area surrounding the Shrine of the Virgen de la Cabeza, in which there are numerous houses, some of which are fraternities, and others of different urbanizations of recent creation.
But in the last century, and in one of the most beautiful landscapes of the Sierra de Andújar Natural Park, a dam was built on the Jándula River, whose construction was completed in 1931, and which today is an important reservoir of water with a capacity of 322 hm3, is the dam of La Lancha. Along with the dam, due to the housing needs during the construction of it, the town of La Lancha was built, of which today there are only ruins, some houses and the church.
In the village 3,000 people came to live, among workers of the dam and their relatives. It counted on a small hospital, position of the Civil Guard and a great block to lodge to the many beasts of drag.
From the 1960s, with the construction of the Andujar road to Puertollano (Ciudad Real), traffic increased in the Sierra, because although the Sierra was a crossroads, used as a passage between towns, the orographic characteristics and the lack of means of transport made transit very limited.