One of Spain's prettiest villages, Segura de la Sierra is hidden away in the far reaches of Jaén province in Andalucia
Segura de la Sierra
In the heart of the Sierra de Seguna, within the Sierras de Cazorla Segura y Las Villas Parque Natural in the northeastern part of Jaén province, almost on the border with Castile la Mancha, is the beautiful village of Segura de la Sierra.
Imperial Fountain Segura de la Sierra
Prior to the Muslim occupation, Segura de la Sierra was a small settlement. Being on the northern reaches of al-Andalus, it was not occupied until 781 AD, seventy years after the initial invasion. The Muslims called the place Saqura and they were responsible for building the walls that surround the town.
Street scene Segura de la Sierra
In 1242, Sagura was reconquered by the master of the Order of Santiago Don Pelayo Gomez Correa and King Alfonso VIII of Castile gave the village to the Order of Santiago. Many of the Muslim villagers were driven out and resettled in the town of Safi in Morocco. Their descendants still have the surname Shequri.
Castle of Segura de la Sierra
Overlooking the town is the Castillo de Segura de la Sierra. The castle was originally built by the Almohads in the late 12th early 13 century on the foundations of a Roman watchtower. Following the reconquest the castle was renovated to house the Grand Master of the Order of Santiago. Until the final Spanish Crusade that started in 1482 and resulted in the conquest of the Emirate of Granada in 1492, Segura de la Sierra was the hub of one of the most important territorial and jurisdictional entities in Castile.
The castle is well preserved and visitors can see the Torre de Entrada, the Patio de Armas, the Arab Baths, the Hominage Tower, the Chapel, the Cistern, the Refectory and the Adarves.
During the Peninsula Wars, known by the Spanish as Guerra de la Independencia, the War of Independence, in the early 19th century, Napoleon’s troops burnt the town. During the conflagration most of the town’s archives were lost.
Segura de la Sierra has been declared a Historic and Artistic Site and, if you have taken the time to negotiate the winding road from Orcera to the north or the even more picturesque and convoluted road from the JF 7012 to the east, is well worth a day or two.
Whilst the castle was the residence of the Master of the Order of Santiago, many notables built fine houses in the town; look out for the House of El Celemin. You will also see the façade of the house of the 15th century poet Jorge Manrique. The 15th century town hall, ayunamiento, is a magnificent Renaissance building, originally a Jesuit College, reflecting the importance of the town and the nearby 16th century Arch of Cavalcavia on Caballeros Santiaguistas street is still used as a pedestrian thoroughfare.
The Church of the Jesuits has a Renaissance façade whilst the Church of Nuestra Señora del Collado , 20 metres away, is built in the Romanesque style.
On the northern part of the town, the Plaza de Toros is considered one of the oldest in Spain. It has a distinctive quadrangular shape. More recent is the 18th century Imperial Fountain of Carlos III. Finally, the Arab baths to the west of the centre of town, are a lasting memorial to the Muslim occupation.
Segura de la Sierra justifiably appears in the Los Pueblos Más Bonitos de España association list of prettiest villages in Spain.
With plenty of accommodation in apartments and rural hotels, Segura de la Sierra is an ideal place from which to explore the Sierras de Cazorla Segura y Las Villas Parque Natural.