The municipality of Aracena is located in the heart of the Sierra de Aracena and Picos de Aroche Natural Park, north of the province of Huelva.
Very present in this town is its medieval history, which can be seen in the monumental complex that offers its historical core. Modern architectural elements of medieval origin are also used in contemporary homes. We highlight some homes on Francisco Rincón Street.
Aracena was declared a City of Tourist Interest in 1956 and awarded in 2006 as the Tourist Municipality of Andalusia. It is one of the towns that belongs to the Route of the Ham.
The first settlements in Aracena date from prehistoric times, approximately 2000 years BC, this is demonstrated by a series of archaeological discoveries. However there were periods of almost total depopulation.
Its repopulation led by Portuguese, Leonese and Galician did not bear fruit until the early 15th century.
In the 20th century, the most emblematic buildings of Aracena were built, which were built in large part by Sevillian architect Aníbal González.
The historic center of Aracena was declared an Asset of Cultural Interest in 1991 and we highlight:
Aracena Castle: Ancient fortification that dominates the town of Aracena. This fortress was part of the defensive line of the Guadalquivir Valley and was built by the knights of the Order of Santiago. Its ruins have been declared an Asset of Cultural Interest.
Templar Church: Prioral Church of Our Lady of Greater Pain (12th-15th centuries). Located on the summit that dominates the city, the Mudejar tower stands out, the neo-Renaissance wrought-iron gate, the Real Door and the Door of Las Mercedes, also of great importance are the paintings, altarpieces and images that houses its interior.
Parochial Church of Our Lady of the Assumption: From the 16th century, of Renaissance style, of three naves.
Other constructions that swell the religious patrimony are: the Hermitage of San Pedro, the Church of Santo Domingo, the Hermitage of San Roque, the Church of Santa Catalina, the Hermitage of San Jerónimo, the Hermitage of Santa Lucía, the Parochial Church of Our Lady of El Carmen.
Apart from the constructions of religious character, we find another series of important places in Aracena:
Museum of the Ham: Sierra de Aracena is very famous for the breeding of the Iberian pig, from which the exquisite serrano ham comes. It is an interpretation center about the Iberian pig. From the ruins of the castle you can see the extensive dehesas where the famous pigs of the region breed.
Museum of Contemporary Art in the Open Air: With different plastic works distributed outdoors in different corners of the city.
Interpretation Center of Aracena: Located on the first floor of the reception of the Grotto of Wonders.
The Cabildo: This building has been used throughout history as a deposit, jail and dependencies of the municipal government. Currently it is the Interpretation Center of the Sierra de Aracena and Picos de Aroche Natural Park and the headquarters of the Environment Agency.
Laundries of the Fountain of the Council: Take advantage of one of the springs of the Grotto of Wonders and it is accompanied by a sculptural group of two “aguadoras”.
The municipality of Aracena, as well as its economy and way of life is conditioned by being part of the Sierra de Aracena and Picos de Aroche Natural Park. It is crossed by a fluvial network collected in three hydrographic basins: the one of the Guadalquivir River, the one of the Guadiana River and the one of the Odiel River, that is born in the zone. Due to this wide ecosystem different activities can be carried out.
Grotto of Wonders: Visit this tourist cave which is an underground complex of great beauty created by the action of water, stone and weather, giving rise to a variety of formations and creating a great extension of lakes. It is located at the entrance of the town of Aracena and attracts a very high number of visitors throughout the year. Such is its tourist importance that has come to congregate the Third Spanish Congress on Tourist Caves.
Circular hiking route from Aracena to Linares de la Sierra: It consists of a route of about 12 km accompanied by forests of cork oaks, oaks and chestnuts. It begins in the San Pedro Square, near the Grotto of Wonders.
Castaño Fountain Canyon: This is a large grove route composed of elms, hazel, cherry and ivy among other spices.
Path signposted Castañuelo Field: In this tour you can see how geobotanical and cultural aspects are mixed, since it gives us the opportunity to walk through an oak forest and contemplate the archaeological remains of the town of El Castañuelo declared of Cultural Interest.
There are other routes of interest such as the Route of the Castles and the Route of the Trails.
In the municipality of Aracena you can carry out activities such as canoeing, horseback riding, cycling routes, hiking, 4x4 routes, climbing, speleology, mycology, etc. In addition, the Aracena environment offers the possibility of visiting small towns of great cultural and scenic interest.
There are different types of fairs in Aracena. Two important commercial fairs are held each year:
Regional Fair of Ham and Iberian Pork: It grew in 2013 to become the Week of Iberian Ham and it is a gastronomic and ethnographic event.
Iberojamón: It was added to the previous one in 2009 and a professional ham saloon, with great national and international prestige.
The Cheese Market of Aracena has also been organized in recent years, with the sale of local cheeses and national cheeses and the Organic Products Market.
Apart from the commercial festivities, other celebrations stand out in Aracena:
Great Fair of Aracena: It is celebrated during the third week of August. In it you can enjoy attractions and orchestras for dances, booths, chiringuitos and many other pastimes.
Other religious festivities take place throughout the year: the Parade of the Three Kings on January 5, La Candelaria on February 2, the Festivity of San Blas on February 3, patron saint of the town, Holy Week with the participation of six Brotherhoods, the Pilgrimage of the Divine Shepherd that is celebrated in the place of Las Granadillas on June 7, the Immaculate Conception on December 8, which takes place one of the most typical traditions of Aracena consisting of doing on the eve numerous candles in all the neighborhoods and burn the rehiletes made with chestnut leaves punctured in an olive tree to produce stelae.
Other civil and popular festivals are the Carnival, which highlights the Ash Wednesday with the Burial of the onion; the Montanera Festival is celebrated on the third Saturday of every month of April; the third weekend of the month of May the May Fair, with an exclusively livestock purpose of buying and selling and contests; on August 14, Aracena in Concert, where local and foreign groups perform rock music and hip hop.
The characteristic gastronomy of Aracena is associated with products derived from the Iberian pig, such as hams and cold meats; as well as the migas, the scrambled wild asparagus or the pisto serrano. It is also rich in game and mushroom products that are served in various presentations. Goat cheese is also very important.
In confectionery they emphasize the pestiños, the piñonate, the custard with burnt crust, the apple compotes, the pears, the chestnut stew, the chestnuts in liquor and the chestnuts in syrup, the dried apricots, the melojas or the roscos of Holy Week.
And as spirits are the must, the chestnut tostón, the cherry brandy and the mushroom liquors.