The Olive Mill, Montefrio
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Montefrio

Montefrio is situated in the Granada province. This friendly village enjoys one of the region's most striking settings, with one of its churches perched on top of a bare, rocky pinnacle, overlooking the town and its surrounding hillsides clothed in olive groves. It nestles between two memorable hilltop churches; you can't miss either of them since they dominate the skyline.

Granada Photograph by RaMaOrLi (Source: Flickr.com)

On the rocky outcrop is the Iglesia de la Villa, which is well worth the steep climb from town to visit and enjoy the magnificent panoramic views that often feature in the region's guidebooks and posters. The church was built on the site of a Nasrid castle. Calle Gracia

In a key strategic location, the Alcazaba was constructed in the mid-14th century to help defend the Muslim kingdom of Granada and prevent an invasion by the Christians. It is believed to have been designed by the same architect who was in charge of the Alhambra. There was also a watchtower on the castle hill, which formed part of an extremely effective network of lookout posts used to stand guard over important routes over Granada's vega (plain).

After conquering Montefrío in 1486, the Catholic Monarchs ordered the castle to be demolished and the church built in its place. The architect Diego de Siloé later became involved in the church's design, which has Mudéjar, Gothic and Renaissance features. You can see ruined sections of the castle walls around the church. Although the church no longer holds services, there is a small history museum inside it, the Centro de Intepretación La Centinela, with interactive displays on the former castle, the church and the conflict between the Muslims and the Christians in 15th-century Granada. It's open Monday to Friday from 12pm to 2pm.

Down in the centre of town is the pantheon-style Iglesia de la Encarnación, which has a huge domed roof and was designed in the 18th century by the acclaimed neoclassical architect Ventura Rodríguez.

Granada Photograph by Maximo Lopez (Source: Flickr.com)

Montefrío is renowned for its sausage-making tradition and you can try some of the excellent sausages (chorizo and salchichón) and blood pudding (morcilla) in the village bars. Signposted off the road to Illora, about 7km east of Montefrío, is an intriguing and unmissable archaeological site, the Penas de los Gitanos, which has evidence of human settlement from Neolithic times to the Bronze Age. Excavations here have unearthed numerous artefacts including combs made from bone, flint arrowheads and shards of decorative ceramics in the collection of prehistoric dolmens and cave dwellings, one of which has primitive rock paintings. Also here is a Medieval citadel, the remains of a Roman fort and, in the gorge below, six water mills.

Granada Photograph by ann.inspain(Source: Flickr.com)

 


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