People - Jaén Paraíso Interior
A HISTORY MARKED BY THE PROMINENCE OF THE MOUNTAINS
The territory currently occupied by the Sierra de Cazorla, Segura y Las Villas Natural Park has been inhabited since prehistoric times, and each community has transformed the landscape according to its needs, world vision and technological capacity. In the "Historical Scenes" section you will find very specific clues for visiting places where you will feel extremely close to the symbols from the history of what is today the park and its highlights. Numerous monuments, archaeological remains and visitor centres will allow you to really get a feel of the history of these mountain ranges.
Settlement and Architecture
SETTLEMENT AND POPULAR ARCHITECTURE
The nature reserve covers territories pertaining to 23 municipalities that are shortly going to be joined by another two, which vary enormously in terms of their size, population centres and geography. The current population of the three districts in the natural park is approximately 80,000 people, of whom around 14,000 live in the protected area. The majority of these belong to the district of Segura, which occupies the largest part of the Park.
Large areas of the park are completely depopulated, where you will feel immersed in nature with little sign of human presence. These areas contrast with others where visitors will find small villages and, in particular, tiny hamlets and farmhouses integrated into the landscape and where they can appreciate traditional architecture that conveys a sense of familiarity and warmth.
Traditions and Products
In the natural park you’ll find traditions with a strong personality, befitting to their mountainous character. But, above all, you’ll get to know people who love their land, though circumstances often oblige them to move away from it.
People who remain attached to their traditions but, away from the well-worn paternalistic clichés that speak of the noble and sensitive villager, who are also rapidly incorporating themselves into the globalised society of new technologies, with all of its beacons and shadows, and making an effort to modernise their economy and offer products and services that are competitive and that have high standards of quality and environmental sustainability.
Inherent cultural elements are present in the mountain society together with others brought by the inhabitants who emigrated to later return, as well as new inhabitants who have arrived with their own points of view. New technologies and greater mobility are removing the physical and psychological barriers that the population of these ranges had to confront in the past.
Working on the Mountain
The mountain has traditionally been a natural resource for the inhabitants of these ranges and it still is today, despite not being as important as it was. Many activities of daily life were related to the forests and the mountains, such as pasturage, mushroom picking and hunting, which completed the domestic economy.
In many cases, these activities constituted the only source of income for many families that completed this activity with the fruits of the family vegetable garden and the few animals that could be kept near the house.
The majority of the trades related to the forest remained unchanged from the Middle Ages up until the introduction of machinery in the middle of the 1950s. For this reason, the contemporary description of some activities is identical to that which was carried out by those commissioned by the Maritime Province in the 18th Century.
The Sierras de Cazorla Segura y las Villas Natural Park is a peculiar pantry that once opened does not cease to surprise those who seek themselves in the depths of nature. It houses extra virgin olive oil, the first essence that tempers the meat of deer, fallow deer, mountain goats, wild boar, rabbits, hares, partridges, trout of the common and rainbow varieties; or the most prized: the Segureño lamb, which treasures centuries-old stories and legends of transhumant shepherds, from which the popular Galiano stew -which takes its name from the galiana or glen through which the cattle pass.