To complete the famous Route of the Castles, we must visit those located in Aroche, Cala, Cumbres de San Bartolomé or Santa Olalla del Cala. In order to defend the kingdom of Spain from the different sieges coming from the kingdom of Portugal, King Alfonso X “The Wise” distributed many of the lands reconquered from the Moors, but it was his son King Sancho who authorised the city of Seville to build fortifications to protect its lands.
La Peña de Arias Montano, located in the neighbouring town of Alájar, is named after Benito Arias Montano, librarian of the Monastery of El Escorial in the time of Philip II. He was also the editor of the polyglot Bible, astrologer and alchemist. This emblematic place of our region, with great telluric force, is made up of 8 caves, of which only El Palacio Oscuro and La Sillita del Rey can be visited. The sanctuary of Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles was built in the 16th century, where all the brotherhoods go on pilgrimage every 8th September.
Gruta de las Maravillas in Aracena, located in the centre of the town, the locals say that it was a shepherd who discovered it while looking for a lost pig. It is a cavity created by the action of water on limestone and marble from the Cambrian period (more than 500 million years old).
The first references to its existence date back to 1850 and it was opened to the public in 1914, becoming the first tourist cave in Spain. In 1926, new galleries were opened on the second level, thus extending the area open to visitors. It was in 1986 when the third level was explored. At present it has galleries with an extension of 2,300 metres divided into three levels. The visit takes approximately one hour and covers about 1200 metres, starting in the Sala de las Conchas, although we prefer to invite you to visit it and get to know another of the magical corners of our Sierra.
There are many villages that we have not mentioned in the previous lines, but they are just as important. Small towns such as Santa Ana la Real, Hinojales, Valdelarco, Puerto Moral, Cañaveral de León, La Nava, Los Marines, Cala, Corteconcepción, and Arroyomolinos de León complete a swarm of small towns with a great gastronomic, scenic and historical-cultural diversity.