Route of the "Califato"
A journey through the history of a region shaped
by 800 years of the Moors. Between Córdoba, the ancient
capital of the Caliphate, and Granada, the last refuge of the
Nazarí kings, we find a hill territory with many castles
and towers. Many stories and legends tell about the long period
of battles and conquests in the heartland of the Spanish-Moorish
The Caliphate Route combines the most important cities of the Moorish era in Spain, Córdoba und Granada with the valley of the Guadalquivir river and the fertile Vega. The itinerary runs through the Sierras Subbéticas Natural Park with its tiny settlements, and also touches on some smaller mountainous regions as the Sierra de Moclín, the Sierra Elvira, the Granadian Vega and finally the Sierra de Huétor Natural Park.
This region is worth seeing because of its landscape, its monuments,the local gastronomy and the traditional handicraft.
The Caliphate route can be easily combined with an excursion to the Sierra Nevada mountains or to the villages of the Alpujarras.
There are two main itineraries from Córdoba. The southern route passes Águilar de la Frontera and Priego de Córdoba, the northern route takes us through Espejo and Baena to Alcalá la Real. Then you can take either the direct way (N 432) to Granada or visit the villages of the Granadian Vega.
northern route: approx. 112 miles
southern route: approx. 121 miles
passing the Vega region: approx. 130-140 miles
Córdoba (Miles 0; 318,700 Inhabitants)
capital of the province and the ancient seat of the Caliphate. The most famous building is the Mezquita (Mosque).
The Southern Route:
Fernán Núñez (Miles
22; 9,450 Inhabitants)
founded in the 14th century. Surrounded by fertile farm land. Santa Marina church, Palace of the Duke
Montemayor (Miles 24; 3,800 Inhabitants)
Fortified village. Well preserved castle in Mudéjar style; Church Nuestra Señora de la Asunción; 3 small museums
Montilla (Miles 30; 23,250 Inhabitants)
Centre of wine production. Churches: Santiago, San Francisco; many noble houses; Santa Clara Monastery; Museum Histórico-Local
Aguilar de la Frontera (Miles 36;
settled by the Romans. Nuestra Señora del Soterraño Church; Plaza de San José (octagonal shape)
Lucena (Miles 47; 38,600 Inhabitants)
worth seeing: church San Mateo; medieval castle del Moral;
4 miles away: Pilgrim'schurch Virgen de Araceli; a recommended half-day trip to Rute and Iznájar (21 miles)
Cabra (Miles 53; 20,700 Inhabitants)
located in the Natural Park Sierras Subbéticas (archaeological museum). Remains of a castle; Church de la Asunción y Ángeles
3 miles away: Pilgrim's church Virgen de la Sierra
Priego de Córdoba (Miles
68 km; 22,800 Inhabitants)
important Moorish and later on Christian regional centre. Remains of a castle; Churches: de la Asunción with a chapel, de la Aurora and San Francisco; Quarter Barrio de la Villa; Fuente del Rey (well)
The Northern Route:
Espejo (Miles 21; 3,850 Inhabitants)
located amidst olive groves on a hill. Fortress (private property); Church San Bartolomé
Castro del Río (Miles 25;
already settled by the Romans. Castle; Church de la Asunción; Casa de Medinaceli
Baena (Miles 37; 19,700 Inhabitants)
Centre of olive oil production. Old part of the village in Arabic style; Churches Santa María la Mayor, Guadalupe; Remains of a fortress.
Zuheros (Miles 44; 850 Inhabitants)
picturesque fortification located on the top of the hill and surrounded with olive groves; Church Virgen de los Remedios; Plaza de la Paz;
2.5 miles away: Cueva de los Murciélagos (stalactite cave; drawings)
Luque (Miles 47; 3,270 Inhabitants)
Remains of the Moorish fort; Church de la Asunción; Plaza de España
Alcaudete (Miles 60; 11,150 Inhabitants)
Situated between olive groves and wine yards. Ruins of a fortification; Church Santa María
Castillo de Locubín (Miles
71; 4,900 Inhabitants)
Viewpoint: river and water reservoir; Moorish castle
the last part of the route starts in:
Alcalá la Real (Miles 78;
frontier village during the long battle between the Moors and the Christians. Fortificacion Fortaleza de la Mota; Churches: Santo Domingo; Santa María la Mayor, Nuestra Señora de las Angustias; Puente del Pilar (well)
Pinos Puente (Miles 100: 13,100
settlement amidst farm land. Bridge from the 7th century.
Granada (Miles 112; 237,700 Inhabitants)
Capital of the last Moorish kingdom and final stronghold: Al-Andalus. Fantastic view of the Alhambra with the snow covered Sierra Nevada mountains in its back.
Alternative route through the northern
Vega: approx. 13 miles south of Alcalá la Real turn towards:
Moclín (Miles 92; 4,300
Fortress; Church del Paño;
outside the village: watch towers
Colomera (Miles 102; 1,600 Inhabitants)
Church de la Encarnacíon; Remains of a castle
Güejevár (Miles 114;
Plaza de la Constitución with a Baroque church; good sausages
Cogollos Vega (Miles 117; 1,950
Good outlook point. Arab baths
Alfacar (Miles 122; 4,500 Inhabitants)
former summer residence of the Nasrid kings. The location lies 2,950 feet high.
outside: Federico García Lorca Park
Víznar (Miles 126; 750 Inhabitants)
close to the Sierra de Huétor mountains. Palace of the archbishop del Cuzco; Church del Pilar
Granada (Miles 130)
of Al - Idrisi