Aracena and the Sierra Morena
The Sierra Morena of Huelva is a surprising district. White villages crammed
with artistic features, sich as well-preserved castles, churches, hermitages,
and even mosques are set in peaceful cool forest landscapes, where the
pine tree competes with the cork oak or the chestnut tree and where nature
may be enjoyed in places of unspoilt beauty. Aracena, the capital of the
district, is an imposing town, full of surprises. Its awe-inspiring Templar
Castle, with a 13th century church within its grounds and, down below,
the amazing Gruta de las Maravillas, surely the most romantic of Spain's
From Zufre or Higuera de la Sierra to Aroche or Rosal, there are no end
of fortresses, such as the well-preserved ones at Cortegana or Almonaster.
There are hermitages which are the focal point of a deep devotion to the
Virgin Mary, such as Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles in Peña
de Arias Montano near Alájar, a magical place in Andalusia's geography
and the scene of a great pilgrimage festival on 8th September every year.
Well worth a visit is Almonster, with its delightful well-preserved Mosque
adjacent to the Castle and its churches featuring interesting architectural
details of the style prevalent during the reign of Manuel I of Portugal.
Aroche's most outstanding features are the city walls and the Castle-Bullring.
The visitor may also admire the outstanding Museum of El Rosario, containing
thousand of valuable exhibits. Water and lush vegetation rub shoulders
with genuine rural architecture in Fuenteheridos. This is the area that
produces the best cured ham in the world and, along with its villages
includes many other notable features.