VILLAGES THAT SHOULDN'T BE MISSED
The park's collection of tiny, remote mountain villages are one of its most unique attractions. Almost all of them are situated within the county of Segura in the northern half of the park, and represent a pattern of habitation that is particularly unusual in Andalusia; indeed, it is more reminiscent of populations in mountainous regions in the north of Spain.
In the park's villages you will not find monuments, or venerable old piles; rather, you will discover practical, simple, human-scale architecture and many communal elements that speak of a way of life that was very harsh, a way of life in which the sharing of resources and collective participation in daily tasks was paramount. Fountains, washing areas, bread ovens, threshing floors, irrigation ditches and the like are, therefore, ever-present, as are orchards and vegetable gardens.
Above all, the park's villages constitute a permanent part of its splendid landscapes, adding the intimacy and fine detailing of human presence to the grandiosity of the surrounding mountains and forests. However, emigration away from the region has had a ruthlessly punishing effect on these humble, isolated farmsteads and villages. Many are now only inhabited during the most clement months, although others remain occupied all year round.
The opportunities opened up by new communication technologies and advances in organic agriculture, along with the stringent restrictions on building on land where construction is not permitted, are transforming the park's villages into an extremely well-protected resource for tourism and even residential purposes.
The villages are not all equally well preserved, however. Here we have selected some of the most charming for you: do not miss the opportunity to pay them a visit â€“ or the chance to discover others for yourself.