Located about 45 kms (28 mi) east of Cordoba, the small town of Bujalance has played a significant role in the region in the course of time. Already during the age of the Roman Empire, thanks to its location on the military road from Cordoba (then known as Corduba) to Castulo, the site was of notable importance.
Under Moorish rule, the Bury al-Hansh stronghold was built, and Bujalance became a walled town controlling access to Cordoba. In the 13th century the locality was known as “Burialhanc” and “Bujalhance”, from which today's name of the town is derived.
After Christian recapture, Bujalance experienced a significant boom around the mid 15th century. The tremendous and rapid increase of the city population made Bujalance the largest imperial city after Cordoba. In 1594 a royal verdict allowed the city to get out of Cordoba's jurisdiction. Also Bujalance received its town charter, the right to hold an annual funfair in late summer and the right to have a farmer's market on Saturdays.
Remarkable milestones in the past two centuries are the participation of the town in the Spanish war against French occupation (Peninsular war) and the rural population revolt during the second Spanish republic in the 1930s.
Thanks to its rich historic and cultural heritage, in 1983 Bujalance's city center was preserved as a site of historic interest (conjunto histórico-artístico). Among numerous sights, the following are particularly worth visiting.
Monuments and museums
Built under caliph Abderramán III, the Alcazaba is a errichtete Festung is a distinctive example of the Muslim military architecture in what was then known as al-Ándalus. Various modofications at later dates gave the Alcazaba its present-day appearance. With a rectangular layout the fortress covered about 3,000 square meters. Of its seven towers, only two survived the trials of time - Torre de la Mazmorra (Dungeon Tower) and Torre de las Palomas (Pigeon Tower). In 1963 was preserved as a historic monument (monumento histórico-artístico). The inner bailey harbors annual local summer events such as the Festival of theater, music and dance (Noches en la Alcazaba) or Cena Andalusí.
Nuestra Señora de la Asunción Parish Church
Known as the Campiña Cathedral for its enormous dimensions, this parish church is found in the heart of Bujalance. Most likely it replaced a former mosque. Built in Gothic and Renaissance styles by Hernán Ruiz I, Hernán Ruiz II und Hernán Ruiz III master builders, the church has a rectangular layout with one nave ond two aisles and is roofed by beautiful four-centered arches. There is no crossing, but a number of chapels is found on both sides. The Renaissance altar screen was manufactured by Andrés de Castillejo and elaborately painted by Leonardo Enríquez de Navarra. Also worth seeing are the chamber honoring Virgin of Rosary and the monstrance created by Cordoba's Damián de Castro goldsmith. An interesting facht is that the bell tower is the second highest in all Andalusia, only escelled by the famous Giralda of Seville. With 55 meters in hight, the tower is a landmark characteristically dominating the Bujalance skyline.
San Francisco Parish Church
Classified as a real gem of Andalusan baroque, the San Francisco parish church was built back in 1530. After a blaze had destroyed the church in 1936, the fane was rebuilt in 1952. It is the second most important church in town. It harbors the chapel in honor of the Virgin of immaculate conception, the patron of Bujalance. Worth seeing are the statue of Cristo de la Buena Muerte as well as the baroque brick bell tower. Built in the 18th century, the tower is comprised of five bodies. The upper bodies have a certain similarity to the Mezquita of Cordoba bell tower.
Recently renovated, the town hall is harbored by a 17th century building being located at the north side of the market square. The balcony stretching along the entire front links the town hall to Parroquia de la Asunción parish church. To the left, there is a passage known as El Arco (the Arch) providing access to the former municipal granary. In the town hall there are various works of local painter Francisco Benítez Mellado on display.
Plaza Mayor (Major Square)
Also known as Plaza de los Naranjos (Orange Square), the rectangular market place or major square with the town hall on the northern edge. Both of the square's long sides are framed by unadorned two-story buildings with white-washed walls giving Plaza Mayor a homogeneous face. On the occasion of the most recent refurbishment in 2006, the square retrieved its original appearance.
Counting about 50 manors and palaces, Bujalance can pride itself being one of the cities having the largest number of buildings adorned with hatchments. The majority of these houses dates from the 17th and 18th centuries, when Bujalance was on its economic peak.
San José y Santa Teresa Monastery
Built in 1708, the monastery church is worth seeing for its baroque altar screen, as well as paintings and objects of Cordoba's goldsmith's art from the 17th century. The monastery belongs to the Order of the Barefoot Carmelites.
San Juan de Dios Hospital
Founded in 1542, the San Juan de Dios hospital is notable for its cloister and the attached hospital church. Both were constructed in the 17th century. The interior walls of the tunnel vault church show paintings made by Antonio de Contreras.
Vera Cruz Hermitage
This small hermitage is of plain Andalusian style. Though originating from the 16th century, it was altered several times at later dates. The last major reshaping was carried out after the Spanish civil war, when it had become seriously damaged. The interior harbors the cultural heritage of one of Bujalance's oldest and most notable brotherhoods, the Brotherhood of The Holy Cross (Vera Cruz).
Nuestro Padre Jesús Hermitage
This hermitage thrones on a hill outside of Bujalance. From here visitors can enjoy a beautiful view of rural environs. The ascent to the hermitage goes through a Vía Crucis, a pilgrimage trail with large stone crosses to both sides.
The first documented mention of the hermitage chapel dates back to the year 1580. The chapel harbors notable sculptures such as Nuestro Padre Jesús Nazareno, Simon from Cyrene and Virgen de los Dolores (Virgin of Sorrow).
Museum of local history “El hombre y su medio”
Harbored by the former municipal granary, the museum of local history “El hombre y su medio” (The human and his environment) has a large collectuon of archaeological findings from various ages, as well as fossils, photoraphs and documents allowing a journey back to the history of Bujalance.
Municipal Tourism Office
C/ Veintiocho de Febrero 4
Tel.: (+34) 957 - 17 12 89
Monday - Saturday: 9 AM – 2 PM
On holidays, an advance notification is required.
Local traditions, folk festivals and events
- 5 January: Twelfth Day is celebrated with the traditional Three Magi pageant.
- First weekend in February: On the occasion of Candlemas bonfires are ignited on streets and squares in town.
- La Botijuela: A folk festival celebrating the end of olive harvest.
- March/April: Bujalance's Holy Week festivities received Andalusia's Interés Turístico Nacional award and are worth seeing.
- First weekend in May: Fiesta del Joyo and May cross competition. Free tastings of so-called Joyos (piece of bread basted with olive oil) with cod and broad beans.
- Weekend around 15 May: Romería de San Isidro Labrador. Pilgrimage honoring the patron of the farmers with pageant.
- End of June: Verbena de San Pedro (Neighborhood folk festival), celebrated on Santa Ana Square.
- 22 July: Verbena de La Magdalena (Neighborhood folk festival), celebrated on Calzada de Jesús Nazareno.
- 25 July: Verbena de Santiago (Neighborhood folk festival), celebrated in the Santa Cruz quarter.
- 6 August: Verbena de San Roque (Neighborhood folk festival), celebrated in the San Roque quarter.
- September: Feria Real (Grand funfair) with pageant and event program.
- 8 December: Día de la Inmaculada Concepción del Voto (Day honoring the Virgin of immaculate conception, patron of Bujalance).
- 31 December: It is a custom with locals to costume themselves on New Year's Eve.