A fortress watching over the landscape from the top of a mountain, narrow Moorish streets, white little houses… this is Almodóvar del Río, a town in the province of Córdoba everyone falls in love with. Located in the comarca of Valle Medio del Guadalquivir, a great part of its northern area belongs to the Sierra de Hornachuelos Natural Park. Apart from its city centre, with the mountain range of Sierra Morena to the north, it has other three population centres: Los Mochos, Los Llanos and Barriada Nuestra Señora del Rosario—the latter being also known as Casas Baratas: “cheap houses”.
The history of Almodóvar del Río takes us back to the Stone Age. In fact, they have found many archaeological remains there that record the first settlements on this land. In 740, with the Muslim conquest, the hill welcomed a great fortress. Back then, Almodóvar was called al-Mudawwar al-Adna, which means “the round one”, due to the hill’s shape.
Al-Mudawwar al-Adna remained under the Muslim regime for five centuries, until Ferdinand III adhered it to the Crown of Castile in 1240. Three years later, it was handed over to the Council of Córdoba. The name of Almodóvar del Río first appeared more or less in 1473, with reference to its location on the bank of the Guadalquivir—“del río” means “of the river” in Spanish.
A castle from 760, a 14th-century shrine, a chapel from the 16th century… Visiting Almodóvar del Río means to travel through time. In a similar way, the exhibitions that are held there take us back in time through the most unique collections that go from ethnological pieces to sewing machines.
The Castle of Almodóvar del Río was originally a Berber fortress. It was built around the year 760, next to the Guadalquivir and over the hill of La Floresta. This building of rectangular floor, surrounded by castellated walls, has staged many a historical landmark. Indeed, its towers, battlements, dungeon and hexagonal chapel can tell us many chapters of the history of Spain.
Something curious about this place is that, in 2016, this castle became Highgarden in the popular TV series Game of Thrones. The fortress of Almodóvar is one of the best-preserved ones in Spain. About 250 metres above the floor, this castle becomes a spectacular lookout surrounded by open fields.
The list of religious monuments in Almodóvar del Río comprises a parish, a chapel and a shrine. The parish church of La Inmaculada Concepción, formerly known as Santa María la Blanca, was built in the 15th century and it stands out for its barrel vault and two baroque portals.
Close by we can find the chapel of Hospital de la Caridad, the oldest religious building in Almodóvar del Río, since it dates back to the 16th century. During the Holy Week parades, some processions depart from this temple. The picture with the castle in the background makes up the most solemn postcard.
Lastly, outside the walls we will find the shrine of Rosario y San Sebastián, which displays another baroque portal. This building was used as a parish until the mid-17th century. It held a school in the early 20th century too, and it was used as a prison after the Spanish Civil War. Nowadays, it keeps a statue of the patron saint of Almodóvar del Río: Nuestra Señora del Rosario.
This example of a typical Spanish manor house was built in 1777 for Don Luis Natera, head of the old household of Natera. The building spreads around a central courtyard, and it stands out for its baroque portal with a jack arch.
The history of Almodóvar can also be told through collections. There, we can visit an ethnological collection, a sewing machine collection, or even a collection of bullfighting posters or taxidermy. Almodóvar del Río also hosts an archaeological exhibition and a historical archive.
Almodóvar del Río has a bit of everything. In fact, this municipality in Córdoba complements is historical value with a natural treasure: the Sierra de Hornachuelos Natural Park and the reservoir of La Breña.
The Sierra de Hornachuelos Natural Park is located to the west of the province of Córdoba, between Almodóvar del Río, Córdoba, Hornachuelos, Posadas and Villaviciosa de Córdoba. It was declared a natural park in 1989. This natural gem displays dense forests, sharp cliffs, canyons and mountains. This is why active tourism takes root in this calm and green landscape.
The reservoir of La Breña is the second largest in Andalusia, and it stands in the final section of the Guadiato river, near its confluence with the Guadalquivir, and only three kilometres away from the town centre. The reservoir and its surroundings make up the perfect setting for enjoying water sports. Besides, it has one of the two beaches where one can bath in the province.
There is a boat in the reservoir, Barco Turístico Solar, which calmly sails through its waters. It moves quietly and it is respectful to the environment. Watching the sunset from this boat will make us fall in love with Almodóvar del Río even more.