WHERE THE MOUNTAINS JOIN THE SKY

The image you always wanted to have before your eyes: a castle on top of a hill, and a whitewashed town of narrow streets spread out below it. Segura de la Sierra’s castle, the highest one in the Nature Reserve, dominated an extensive area in medieval times. Today, your awestruck eyes can gaze at the same landscape, shaped by centuries of fertile alliances, from the castle’s battlements: pine forests and olive groves that intertwine; tiny hamlets that dialogue with the massive mountains; rivers that transport forests. And now, as in the past, people for whom the landscape is not a surprise, but an integral part of themselves that they are pleased to share.

You’ll not be the first person to be filled with wonder by this land. Two great Spanish mystics felt that way too: Saint Teresa of Jesus and Saint John of the Cross, who found the serene ambience and retreat they needed here, in the 16th century. Two centuries later, naval engineers discovered that the wood from these forests could be used to build entire fleets of ships. That led to the creation of the unprecedented “Maritime Province of Segura”, which set legions of brave pinecutters to logging thousands of pine logs downriver. In Beas de Segura and Ocera you’ll find two small thematic exhibitions that recount these unusual historical events.

Today, free flying enthusiasts are the ones who are dazzled when they take off from El Yelmo and get a bird’s eye view of the majestic landscape below. Flying is not the only way to discover the mountains, however. You can take any of the narrow roads, forest tracks and trails that penetrate the Rio Madera forests, where the best Corsican pines in Spain grow. You can also drive to the top of the most spectacular mountain vantage points, including the El Espino, Peñalta and Cambrón peaks. Alternatively, you can go to such amazing places as Los Anchos, a captivating hamlet hidden away in the mountains where an unexpected museum preserves the memory of authentic mountain life.

And then, of course, there is the olive oil. The ancient olive tree of Fuentebuena, over a thousand years old, still produces its oil-giving fruit, a symbol of deeply rooted olive-growing wisdom. In the Nature Reserve, mountain olives groves are part of the landscape, of the local culture and a source of enjoyable sensations. The olive oil production is limited but exquisite, the fruit of a fortunate combination of soil, climate and careful processing. The Designation of Origin Sierra de Segura guarantees its quality and authenticity.

 

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