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IZNAJAR

At only 3km away from Cortijo Las Olivas, Iznajar is our closest village.

You will see very few villages in your travels which match the beauty, majesty, and history of Iznajar. Sitting on top of a promontory and overlooking Spains second largest lake, Iznajar has miles and miles of panoramic views of the Andalucian olive tree dotted countryside. Iznajar's main business is the cultivation of olives, which produce one of the best olive oils you will ever taste, we highly recommend that on your visit to Iznajar you try it and even buy some to take home as a reminder of your wonderful stay here.

A LITTLE HISTORY

This small town of some six thousand inhabitants was transformed some years ago by the creation of an 'embalse', or reservoir, below the promontory on which Iznajar sits in the River Genil valley. Today, to all intents and purposes, Iznajar now has a waterfront, overlooking a spectacular aquamarine inland sea some thirty kilometres long, and containing an estimated 900 million cubic metres of water. Once seen, you will never forget to stunning vista of hills and lakes that Iznajar has to offer!

 

The village was originally a prehistoric Iberian settlement, but flourished in the eighth century when Arab settlers, in the wake of the 711AD invasion by Tariq ibn Zayid and his Moorish armies, built a castle on the promontory and called it 'Hins Ashar' (hence the modern Spanish name).

 

 

IZNAJAR CASTLE

The ruins of the 1,200-year-old castle are the obvious key attraction for the visitor. Parts of the fortified town walls can also be seen in the upper reaches of the town. Inside the town walls, a small square called the Patio de las Comedias suggests that, despite its defensive position, Iznajar once had a theatre culture that probably tracks back millennia. Also worth visiting is the Iglesia de Santiago church, built over time during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, with a remarkable late addition in the form of a Baroque altar piece. The cemetery next to the church only dates back to 1806.

 

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Iznajar over the water

BARRIO DEL COSO

The most interesting barrio, district, of Iznajar is the Barrio del Coso, a labyrinth of typical whitewashed Andalucían houses dotted around a labyrinth of narrow lanes that criss-cross the promontory. As if often the case in these hill towns, the 'lower' part is also the newer part of town, and the central Plaza Nueva affords excellent panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. Similar views can be found at the miradores La Cruz de San Pedro and the Paseo de la Constitución. With time, it is also worth seeking out is the small barrio of cave dwellings known as El Caganchuelo.

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The Parish Church of Santiago

ERMITA DE LA ANTIGUA

Also of interest is the shrine of the Ermita de la Antigua, o de la Piedad, which was built in the seventeenth century and features a curious domed vault, which leads on to an even more unusual eighteenth century dressing room. Iznajar also has a small but fascinating municipal museum, dedicated to its agricultural heritage and local customs.

 

 

SEMANA SANTA

Unsurprisingly, Semana Santa, Easter week, is the most important festival here. Perhaps uniquely, townsfolk come together to present a religious theatrical epic in which amateur thespians take on the roles of figures in key scenes from the bible and the crucifixion. It is quite a sight to behold! The inhabitants celebrate the day of San Marcos on April 25 by quitting the town entirely for a mass picnic in the countryside at Valdearenas, a recreational area close to the embalse. Iznajar's annual September feria usually takes place from September 7-10. The Spanish carry statues from the church all round the steep village roads taking approximately 60 men for each one, quite a feat of strength! There is also traditional live Spanish entertainment all night long

 

CUISINE

Another fantastic reason to visit Iznajar is for the food. All the little bars and restaurants serve the famous tapas and paella and you can get wonderful meals and also bottles of wine at such reasonable prices compared to the coast.  Local cuisine reflects Iznajar's position in a prime pork production region, as well as variations on classic Andaluz platos. During the February carnaval, the traditional pork sausage filling is stuffed with eggs, bread, jamón and breast of turkey. Other specialities include the rich salmorejo with orange and cod, and La Porra, a cheap and filling stew of tomatoes, bread, peppers and jamón.

VALDEARENAS BEACH

Valdearenas Beach is a beach on the lake where you can swim, rent pedalos and canoes, and learn to sail, Visit the School of Nautical Activities, located on Valdearenas Beach, for sailboat and canoe rentals. It tends to be busier on Sundays but is very quiet during the week, even in the height of the season.  The water is beautiful, crisp and clean to swim in, the bathing is safe and the beach has sand to lie on or for children to play in.

The lake provides excellent course fishing.  Many competitions are held along its banks, see our fishing section for more information.  It is just over a quarter of a kilometre to walk through the olive groves and on down to the lake or you can take the car down very close to the water.

 

SHOPPING

There are a number of small boutiques and some grocers throughout the town of Iznájar. If you are looking for a bargain, you are certain to find it here. The area produces olive oil, so for some of the freshest olive oil in the world, look around in the area shops. Baked goods usually find appeal with early morning risers. Iznájar has an excellent bakery where shoppers can catch a quick bite while sampling the local pastries and rolls

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Colourful Iznajar Patio

COMMON SIGHTS OF IZNAJAR

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Opening out onto our colourful Mediterranean gardens, La Hacienda is a beautifully decorated traditional Andalucian cottage with all the comfort of a modern home. Look out for it's original Andalucian features including a high vaulted ceiling, wide windows to take in the view and gorgeous marble staircase. La Hacienda has stunning views and caters for up to 4 people. please click to find out more.

 

 

La Finca is Cortijo Las Olivas' largest cottage and caters for up to 5 people. Opening out onto our colourful Mediterranean courtyard, La Finca boasts a balcony with panoramic views of the mountains, pool and gardens, beautiful marble staircase and fully equipped kitchen, please click to find out more.

Opening out onto our large 'Mountain Spring water pool', La Casita is a quaint little cottage which caters for 2 people. Perfect for romantic getaways