Into the Sierra: Olvera

This past Sunday, beckoned by very blue skies and – a weekend rarity – the whole day ahead of us, Esmeralda and I decided to take a day trip up into the Sierra de Cádiz, the modest yet still imposing mountain range that defines the northeastern section of the province. Technically, Arcos de la Frontera is itself a sierra town, though its uncharacteristically large size will quickly make you forget that you´re supposed to be nestled into a quaint hilltop village, surrounded by a panorama of olive farms, cotton fields and citrus groves. The unassuming tranquility of its rural roots is often left in the dust (or should I say asphault?) in favor of the more appealing urbane shuffle, which has manifested itself in Arcos in the form of incessant expansion and modernization.

 It´s refreshing and pacifying to reconnect with the more humble, and to be certain, more sleepy neighboring mountain villages. Last spring I visited several of these fellow ¨white towns¨ – Ubrique, Benamahoma, Grazalema, Villaluenga del Rosario, Zahara de la Sierra – and was left impressed by not only the consistancy of their stunning settings, but also by the absolute lack of tourists. For what have got to be some of the most beautiful villages in all of Spain, many of these pueblos blancos offer to what visitors may come a pure and transparent impression of true village life, unfraught by any conflicting interests or accomodations brought on by dependency on the tourist industry. Such was Olvera, a highly photogenic and hilly town that was has known many names as an important city for both the Romans and the Moors, before returning to Castillian rule and name. There are only two principle monuments in the town: a surprisingly large neo-classical church, and an amazingly well maintained 12th-century Arabic castle, but its just as rewarding to wander around through the deserted streets and take in the countryside.

There will be more trips to these little towns in the future, and as always, they will be accompanied by my favorite photos of the day.

Here are some photos from Sunday afternoon:

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The church

 

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Olvera

 

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Countryside

 

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The castle

 

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Countryside

 

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At the edge of town, with the Sierra in the background

 

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View of the castle from the Town Hall Plaza

 

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View of the church from the ascent to the castle

 

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The church´s twin towers and dome loom behind a view from the castle

 

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View of Olvera from inside its castle

 

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The church plaza and surrounding countryside seen from inside the castle

 

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View of the countryside from the town museum´s courtyard

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~ by lincolnbrody on November 27, 2008.

One Response to “Into the Sierra: Olvera”

  1. lincoln, these photos make me so jealous i want to throw up.

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