Almodóvar del Río, with its famous castle on La Floresta hill. :: ALMODÓVAR COUNCILMUSIC
Lovers of rock music should head for Almodóvar del Río, in Cordoba, this weekend because it will be holding its Pinillo Rock Festival for the second year running and hopes the event will become a benchmark for this type of festival in Andalucía. It is organised by the Club Paramotor Almodóvar and takes place in the fairground on Friday 6th and Saturday 7th June. Those who attend do not need to worry about finding somewhere to stay, because the council has set up an area where people can camp, free of charge. Among the groups performing are Reincidentes, Eskorzo and Poncho K. On the first evening there will be a Covers Festival, which will pay tribute to groups such as The Doors and Nirvana. Altogether, 12 groups will be taking part in the event.
The format of the festival will be the same as last year: Friday is dedicated to Tribute bands, who will be playing the music of international groups who marked the eras of the 70s, 80s and 90s. Among those appearing in Almodóvar this year are Riff Raff (tribute to AC-DC), The Hype (tribute to U2) and The Buzz Lovers (tribute to Nirvana). On Saturday, the festival welcomes Reincidentes, the rock group from Seville with its militant lyrics. This group is celebrating its 30 year career and has just produced a new disc, called ‘Aniversario’. The explosive Eskorzo, from Granada, will also be performing at this rock festival.
The musicians and those attending the festival will have the opportunity to enjoy the charms of a small town which retains all the atmosphere of an Andalusian village and they will also be able to explore one of the best-preserved mediaeval fortresses in Spain, its castle, which stands impressively on La Floresta hill and dominates the whole area. It is exceptionally well-preserved, so visitors can walk through the courtyard, climb the homage tower, go down into the dungeons, go into the round tower and visit the dressing room of King Pedro I ‘The Cruel’. They can admire the mediaeval weapons and end up by visiting the Virgen del Rosario chapel, which is dedicated to the patron saint of Almodóvar del Río.
People are free to wander through the different parts of the castle on their own with the help of a map, but there are also other alternatives such as theatrical visits for schools, visits guided by the ‘king’s butler’ or even in the company of the ‘Count of Torralva’, who will show off his exclusive neo-Gothic palace, which was buil within the castle walls in the early 20th century.
Another option for tourists which is organised by the Castle authorities is a mediaeval lunch, complete with theatre show. These take place on different dates throughout the year and this Saturday, 7th June, is one of them and will include a menu designed by the chefs of King Pedro I. The lunch costs 22€ for adults and 12€ for children and must be booked in advance. Further information can be found at www.castillodealmodovar.com
As mentioned above, the castle crowns La Floresta hill, with wonderful views over the town and the valley below. Almodóvar del Río is situated between the Sierra Morena and the Campiña Cordobesa, and forms part of the Hornachuelos Natural Park. It is a small town of traditional whitewashed houses which nestle below its impressive castle.
Almodóvar is on the Bética Romana Route, which passes through fourteen places in the provinces of Seville, Cadiz and Cordoba, through which the old Vía Augusta once passed. This route runs through landscapes of great geographical and natural interest such as the Subbética Cordobesa Natural Park, the Campiña de Cordoba, the Bay of Cádiz Natural Park and the Guadalquivir Valley.
From the era of the Vía Augusta, the Roman gateway still stands on the right bank of the Guadaquivir river. This is one of the most important Roman remains in the municipality. Those who built it took advantage of the mass of hill on which the castle stood, and placed it at one of the points which has been bathed by the Guadalquivir since time immemorial. On the left side of the river there used to be the potteries, where the jars were made in which oil was transported to Rome. These days, the area around the gateway has been restored as part of a project to recover the Guadalquivir riverbank, financed by the Bética Romana Route. This has made it easier to reach on foot.
When visiting Almodóvar, as well as wandering through its clean, flower-filled streets, it is worth stopping to look at some of its monuments. For example, the Inmaculada Concepción church, a Baroque-style building which dates back to the 17th and 18th centuries. It has undergone subsequent modifications, the most recent being after the fire which nearly destroyed it in 1991 and during which some images and the altarpiece were lost. Nearby is the chapel of Nuestra Señora del Rosario y San Sebastián, which these days is dedicated to the Virgen del Rosario, the patron saint of the town. It was founded by Fernando III ‘El Santo’, to commemorate the conquering of the town. The chapel is in Andalusian Baroque style (from the second quarter of the 18th century) and is notable for the decorative austerity of its main entrance and its elegant belfry.
The chapel and convent of Nuestra Señora de Gracia dates back to the 17th century and has been both a chapel and a hospital in the past. The entrance is the oldest one in the town, and is attributed to Hernán Ruiz III. Inside the chapel, the lower part of the altarpiece dates from 1619 and has two panels representing San Sebastián and Santiago.
Near the town, watersports can be practised at La Breña reservoir, which is a popular tourist attraction. There is a campsite near the reservoir, and in the town are a hotel and houses to rent.