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The Route of the Landscapes of Cultural Interest in the province of Huelva is a route that runs through various landscapes that are of special interest due to their socio-cultural, natural and geographical merits.


The Route through Landscapes of Cultural Interest in the province of Huelva offers a journey along 8 of the 117 landscapes included in the Register of Landscapes of Cultural Interest in Andalusia. To date, 15 landscapes in the province have been designated of cultural interest and some of those in the following categories in the Classification of Cultural Landscapes in Andalusia have been selected for this Route: the settlement system (the Tejada la Vieja landscape); the security and defence system (the Sanlúcar de Guadiana landscape and the Doñana coastal defence landscape); the system for obtaining and processing resources (the Isla Cristina fisheries landscape; the Chanza pasture landscape and the Riotinto mining landscape) and ideological and associative systems (the Alájar Pilgrimage and Rocío Pilgrimage landscapes).

All of these will be briefly described below. However, the technical information files that condense and analyse the scientific and technical information on each of these spaces can be referred to to garner some knowledge and pleasure from the Huelva province cultural landscapes included on this Route. They can be accessed via the Digital Guide of the Cultural Heritage of Andalusia by clicking on the landscapes on the map.

From the point of view of territorial characterisation, Huelva is the westernmost province of Andalusia and shares a border with the province of Badajoz to the north, the province of Seville to the east, the Province of Cádiz to the south-east, to the south, with the Atlantic Ocean and to the west, with Portugal. The province was created in 1833 out of the municipalities that had until then been part of the Kingdom of Seville and the old Province of Extremadura; it is divided into 80 municipalities with a total population of over 524,000 inhabitants in 2019, which makes it the least populated province in Andalusia.

The tertiary sector is very important for the economy of the province, including tourism, which flourishes on the west coast especially and is consolidated in protected areas, especially the Aracena Mountains and Doñana National Park. The secondary sector, represented by the Huelva Chemical Complex, which includes the La Rábida refinery at Palos de la Frontera, is the most important in all Andalusia and, since its creation in the second half of the 20th century, it has become a major source of employment in the province. As for the primary sector, fishing stands out; a traditional activity with one of the largest fishing fleets in Spain sailing out of Isla Cristina. There is also the new agriculture under plastic, mainly strawberries with a Designation of Origin, which is widespread across the municipalities of the coastal area of the El Condado administrative district and the western coast. Pig farms are also very important for the primary sector economy, with high-quality and well-liked Iberian free-range ‘mountain’ pigs marketed under the ‘Jamón de Jabugo’, or Jabugo Ham, Protected Designation of Origin.

One part of the province has been protected because of its landscape, environmental and cultural territorial values. Doñana National Park, which is considered to be the largest ecological reserve in Europe, stands out along with the natural parks of Doñana, Sierra de Aracena and Picos de Aroche. The latter encompasses 28 municipal districts in the northern sector of the province of Huelva from the province of Seville all the way to Portugal. In the heart of the Cuenca Minera mining region and spread across some municipalities in the El Andévalo and El Condado de Huelva administrative districts is the Riotinto Protected Landscape. This is an exceptional area thanks to its environmental and heritage conditions.

Altogether, the province of Huelva is home to a vast cultural heritage that bears witness to the presence of humans from ancient times up to the present day. A very representative part of this heritage characterises its landscapes and can be found in, and is an intrinsic part of, the protected natural spaces, as will be revealed along the proposed journey. You can set out on the route from the city of Huelva or any of the selected landscapes as the aim of this journey is to show the different ways that people have related to and relate to the places where they live, how their interaction with the environment has enabled the various cultural landscapes that characterise the province to be constructed and why they should be regarded as an interesting resource for achieving sustainable territorial development.

The original reference documentation is available on the website of the Digital Guide to the Cultural Heritage of Andalusia.


The route is designed to be done in a private vehicle. In order to use public transport, you must leave from Bus station of Huelva in the capital, which concentrates road communications; buses depart to the entire province. The timetables should be consulted beforehand in order to plan the route. However, some of the places indicated in the route may not be accessible by public transport.

When travelling through mountainous areas, it should be taken into account that there may be sudden changes in the weather, such as storms or sudden drops in temperature, so you should always have warm clothing. On the other hand, in times of greater sunshine and sunshine hours, sunscreen should be used due to the greater impact of ultraviolet rays in this area.

Get in[edit]

The city of Huelva can be reached by road from Seville on the  A-94  and from Extremadura on the  A-66 .

By train, access can be made from Córdoba, Madrid, Cáceres, Mérida, Talavera de la Reina and Seville.

The nearest airports are Airport of Seville (102 km (63 mi) away) and Airport of Faro (Portugal) (113 km (70 mi) away).

By boat it can be accessed from the Canary Islands with one trip per week.


Landscapes of cultural interest in the province of Huelva

1 Isla Cristina Fisheries Landscape[edit]

The cultural landscapes of the Huelva coast show that people have adapted to the environment in two ways: by taking advantage of natural resources, like the Isla Cristina fisheries landscape, and for territorial defence, like the Doñana coastal defence landscape. These two landscapes mark the beginning and end of this route, respectively.

Route: Huelva,  H-30 .  E-01 ,  A-499 ,  N-431 ,  N-431a , Ayamonte (50.4 km (31.3 mi) - 40 min.)

The fisheries landscape in the Isla Cristina wetlands is part of the outer tract of the Guadiana River and is formed of a complex drainage network with channels, creeks and marshes that are filled to overflowing with sediment deposits. The sand bars on the sea edge and the inland peacefulness of the marshes and creeks that are full of life convey the main environmental and cultural values of an area that, as a protected nature site, possesses a range of dissemination strategies.

This landscape is an excellent example of human activity to exploit the wetlands throughout time. This can be seen in the various buildings that are dotted around the area: tide mills, salt ponds, the fishing ports of Isla Cristina and Ayamonte and the El Pintado Mill eco-museum. The flour mills are linked to other forms of exploitation, such as salt production, artisanal fishing in some specific areas and shellfish fishing in channels and creeks. The golden age for tide mills was the 16th-18th centuries. They started to decline in the mid-19th century as a result of Spain losing its colonial markets and the introduction of new production systems. Nonetheless, as an exception, some continued to work from the end of the 19th century till the mid-20th century due to the bread shortage. When the technology became obsolete and was abandoned, along with the erosion of the coastal environment, this signalled the disappearance of most of the tide mills, although some sluice-gate arches, reservoir walls, wheelhouses and buildings remain. New multifunctional uses have allowed some of the installations to be preserved, such as the El Pintado, Eizaguirre, Tamujar Grande, Las Compuertas and Gazapo millpond fish farms.

Isla Cristina Fisheries Landscape

1 Mill of El Pintao It is a mill built in the 18th century in stone, lime and brick. It is a tidal mill, that is to say, it takes advantage of the tidal force for milling. It contains a milling room of more than 60 m (200 ft) with 6 millstones, being one of the largest tidal mills in the Iberian sub-Atlantic.

2 Mill of San Diego These are the remains of a mill where several millstones can still be seen, as well as the four brick gullies through which the water circulated.

3 Mill of Molinito It is a tidal mill of rectangular plant raised on four cárcavos. In its eastern end it integrates a door that gave access to the entrance of waters to the boiler.

4 Hornabeque of Socorro It is a medieval fortress built in the 13th century that has undergone modifications over the centuries. It stands out for its unique geometry in the shape of a pincer that served as an auxiliary reinforcement to another fortress. A villa has been built on top of it.

5 Tamujar Grande Mill It is a rectangular mill with a single room, the milling room. The building stands on two arcades with stone buttresses. Next to the building there is a marsh.

6 Isla Canela's Tower It is a tower of the 16th century built with ashlars of masonry. It is located on a platform 2 m (6.6 ft) high and is shaped like a truncated cone. With a height of almost 18 m (59 ft), from the base there is a stairway to a height of 3.7 m (12 ft), from which there would be another stairway —now disappeared— to access the 3.2 m (10 ft) where the entrance to the tower is located. The roof has a 1 m (3.3 ft) high wall and five battlements.

7 Las Compuertas Mill Tidal mill in ruins of which only two arcades corresponding to the cárcavos are preserved.

8 Bridge of Carreras It is a bridge built in 1928 with a length of 175 m (574 ft) consisting of 6 spans made up of metal truss girders.

The route also considers intangible cultural assets:

  • Salinas en Isla Cristina. (Q111335048) on Wikidata These salt mines have been in operation since 1955. The water of the amr penetrates them and passes through different sealed enclosures increasing their salinity until they end up crystallizing.
  • Venta de pescado en lonja. (Q111335085) on Wikidata It is the traditional sale of the fish that was caught. This sale had many unique and cultural elements, such as the slang, the "voices", the way of selling, etc. Nowadays these traditional elements have been changed by electronics.
  • Carpintería. (Q111335558) on Wikidata Due to the importance of fishing in Isla Cristina as the main engine, it was developed an auxiliary industry: the carpentry of shore, in which shipyards were built and repaired fishing boats. With the intrusion of new materials, this activity has virtually disappeared, leaving some craftsmen who make wooden models of the boats.

2 Sanlúcar de Guadiana Landscape[edit]

The defence procedures that characterise the various territorial areas of the province of Huelva have generated landscapes with very different features, such as Sanlúcar de Guadiana and Cumbres Mayores, even though the principal landmarks in both are two of the most outstanding fortifications in the province because of their features and history.

Route: Ayamonte,  N-431a .  A-499 ,  HU-4401 , Sanlúcar del Guadiana (40.5 km (25.2 mi) - 38 min.)

The course of the Guadiana River comes into view as you reach Sanlúcar de Guadiana from San Silvestre de Guzmán or Villanueva de los Castillejos and determines the elongated shape of the landscape, which spills over both sides of the river. The northern and southern ends are at Puerto de La Laja (El Almendro) and Sanlúcar de Guadiana, respectively. The main landmark in the latter is the San Marcos castle, which stands across the village from a windmill-crowned hilltop. The character of this landscape is complemented by the town of Puerto de la Laja and the remains of the mining port, which attest to the importance of mining in the province. The views towards Portugal are also worth highlighting: the urban landscape of Alcoutim and the hillsides and gullies that descend to the river, and the spaces that form the riverbank on the Spanish side, with rows of hills, high and low, and a succession of small pastureland farms with market gardens and fruit-tree orchards in the silt plains of the gullies that flow into the Guadiana river.

This is a landscape that is valued for its contrasts and twists and turns; the river marks the political divide and at the same time acts as a link between the two banks. Gentle meanders alternate and allow glimpses of holm oaks, low scrub and tilled fields along with mountainous terrain that in turn hides and reveals the river course, which is always the line that attracts the eye. The dominance of this dividing line imposed by nature is nullified by the existence of two nearby towns: Sanlúcar de Guadiana and Alcoutim, standing opposite each other, as though they form part of a single town whose main thoroughfare has been usurped by the river; seen from the fortress of San Marcos, the streets and silhouettes seem to converge into a single town that is struggling to prevail over the natural frontier that keeps them apart.

Sanlúcar de Guadiana Landscape

9 San Marcos' Castle Castle of quadrangular plant with a perimeter of 155 m (509 ft). It was subjected to different constructive processes from the 14th to the 19th century. It consists of a wall and four towers, three of them circular and one square.

10 Puerto de La Laja A 125 m (410 ft) long pier distributed in three levels to adapt to the curvature of the banks of the Guardiana River. It has three staggered levels: pier platform, intermediate level and the storage building. Each level is separated by masonry retaining walls.

11 Village of Puerto de la Laja Small village built in the last quarter of the 19th century. It is made up of small houses arranged in row blocks parallel to each other.

12 San Jerónimo's Castle Fort built in 1640, but after being abandoned in the 18th century only a bastioned front is preserved. Its conjunction with the Parish Church presents a series of architectural values.

13 Mill of Sanlúcar I Windmill, 5 m (16 ft) high and 6 m (20 ft) in diameter, surrounded by a cobbled access square. In its interior it presents the whole structure of wood and millstones.

14 Old path to Sanlúcar's Castle Road that connects the town of Sanlúcar de Guadiana with the castle of the town, adapting to the topography of the terrain of the hill. The road has an average width of 2.5 m (8.2 ft) and presents very diverse construction materials.

15 Nuestra Señora de las Flores' Church It shows a structure of three naves, transept and rectangular presbytery, to whose left side is attached the sacramental chapel and to the right the sacristy. On the exterior it does not have a front, the access is through a semicircular opening topped by a belfry with two bodies and decorated with baroque molding.

In the area there are also important archaeological sites that cannot be visited, such as:

  • Artillery battery. Batería Artillera de Santa Catalina (Q98061000) on Wikidata Remains of a fortification protruding 1 m (3.3 ft) from the ground. It could have been built from 1738 onwards.

The route also considers intangible cultural assets:

  • Virgen de la Rábida Festivity. (Q111335853) on Wikidata Festivity in which the procession of the Virgin stands out, consisting of a dance of religious origin with flowers, in which she walks through the streets of the town, reaching the banks of the Guadiana, where she greets first the river and then the neighboring Portuguese town of Alcoutim.

3 Chanza Pastureland Landscape[edit]

The agriculture in the area is perfectly exemplified by the pasture landscapes of the Chanza river and Paymogo plains; also landscapes created by the use of water resources to irrigate the market gardens in Cañaveral de León or as the energy source to drive the Tinto river mills.

Route: Sanlúcar del Guadiana,  HU-4402 .  A-499 ,  HU-5402 ,  A-495 ,  N-433 , Aroche (111 km (69 mi) - 1 hr 34 min.)

The Chanza River landscape covers an area of river plain framed between two 15 km (9.3 mi) long escarpments. A low grassland plain with a wealth of pasture and animal sheds separates the rows of ridges. In this Mediterranean ‘savanna’, which is quite continental but dominated by humid Atlantic masses, the landscape is invaded by scrub-covered mountains and holm oak woods where the valley walls are high enough to make livestock farming inviable. The uniqueness of the plateau and the visual depth of the valley afford the Chanza Plains a magnetic attraction; it is an especially powerful place due to the contrast between the fragility of an immense open space and the mottled, protective, closed forest. This is an emblematic landscape in livestock farming terms as some of the qualities of the land contrast with those of the most abrupt terrain. The farms in the Belleza Plains stand out as these are considered good land for extensive cereal and livestock production.

The purely physical values are combined with celebratory and ceremonial values such as the San Mamés pilgrimage, which is deeply rooted in the mountains, in the area around the shrine of St. Pedro de la Zarza; magic-religious and funeral values are represented by the Pasada del Abad cromlech and the Belleza Plains dolmen, respectively. The Turobriga Hispano-Roman City Archaeological Site is a recognised heritage asset, a settlement that dates from the 1st century CE and exemplifies the extensive and intensive Romanisation process that involved the building of a city from the ground up in this part of the Huelva mountains.

Chanza Pastureland Landscape

16 San Mamés' Hermitage Hermitage that has undergone several reforms and additions throughout history. It emphasizes the portico of lowered arches that precedes it as well as the tower-facade. It has a basilical plant with three naves, presenting the central one a semicircular apse with radial vault.

17 Dolmen of La Belleza Megalithic tomb with polygonal chamber and corridor. The diameter of the tumulus is 42 m (138 ft) in diameter and has a height of 2 m (6.6 ft).

18 Turóbriga Roman city with numerous remains such as the forum, a terma, hydraulic infrastructure, walls and the floor plan of a temple, as well as the remains of domestic dwellings.

19 Historical Centre of Aroche It occupies the old walled enclosure, occupying a perimeter area of 1.5 km (0.93 mi). The road network is characterized by narrow and winding streets, with layouts influenced by the topography.

20 Castle of Aroche Almohad Islamic fortress of rectangular plan with ten square towers. It preserves the access gate, with straight entrance and two horseshoe arches. In 1801, a bullring was built inside.

21 Wall of Aroche It has a layout of 1,300 m (4,300 ft) and is largely preserved. It is built with masonry and lime mortar. Many parts of the wall are attached to houses, being used as a party wall or foundation wall.

In the area there are also important archaeological sites that cannot be visited, such as:

  • Hermitage of Santa María del Valle. Ermita de Santa María del Valle (Q97628193) on Wikidata Built in two distinct phases. The first corresponds to the 13th century a semicircular apse, remains of an old church of repopulation; the second corresponds to the rectangular nave with pointed transverse arches.
  • La Ladrillera. La Ladrillera (Q97628636) on Wikidata Hispanic-Muslim site where numerous ceramic materials and other objects have been found.

4 Alájar Pilgrimage Landscape[edit]

There are numerous celebratory and ceremonial cultural landscapes in the province of Huelva, primarily linked to religious events. They can be found in all the administrative districts in the province: Our Lady of Los Ángeles in the mountain region; Our Lady of the Rock and Our Lady of Sotiel Coronada in the El Andévalo district, and Our Lady of El Rocío in the Condado district.

Route: Aroche,  N-433 ,  HU-8105 , Alájar (37.5 km (23.3 mi) - 45 min.)

Alájar is located in one of the deepest and most confined valleys in the Aracena Mountains, between the peak that gives the village its name and the heights of the Giralda and Solana Mountains. The almost 900 m high La Peña mountain, which dominates the landscape, is where the Our Lady of Los Ángeles Pilgrimage is held. The mountain is home to the shrine and looks down upon the valley, marked by the town of Alájar, the nearby villages (El Calabacino, El Collado, El Cabezuelo and Los Madroñeros) and the agricultural area comprising pasturelands, market gardens, mills, irrigation channels and roadways. According to tradition, La Peña was the place where St. Victor of Arcis founded a hermitage in the 5th century. Alájar is a toponym that originates from Spain’s Al Andalús era and means stone.

It is related to the physical characteristics of the mountain and the people that lived in the valley until it was conquered by the Crown of Castile in the mid 13th century when Alfajar de Arriba (literally, Alfajar up the Top) was founded on the mountain peak and Alfajar de Abajo (Alfahar down the Bottom), which was the origin of today’s village. The hermitage was renovated by the writer, theologian, and advisor to King Philip II, Benito Arias Montano, in the mid-16th century. He built a house and a museum of antiquities there and added a bell tower and two fortified sentry posts on the edge of the precipice. He also landscaped a large area near the fountain that no longer exists, planted it with vines and equipped it with irrigation channels. The most characteristic event in this area is the Our Lady of Los Angeles pilgrimage, which is one of the oldest in the region. The first Brotherhood devoted to Our Lady of Los Angeles was founded in 1528. This pilgrimage is made by numerous worshippers from Alájar and other neighbouring villages. Ten Brotherhoods take part and travel between four and 30 km (19 mi) to the place at the heart of the event, the so called Peña de Arias Montano, or Arias Montano Rock.

Alájar Pilgrimage Landscape

22 Hermitage of Reina de los Angeles Hermitage with Mudejar features such as transverse arches or the square presbytery with ribbed vaulting.

23 Alájar's Historical Center The original nucleus is composed of thirteen small blocks with party walls and buildings on two streets. From this nucleus grow the different surrounding ones, characterized by elongated blocks with contiguous plots that usually have a built front facade and a rear open space, thus creating a fusion of farmhouse and landscape.

The route also considers intangible cultural assets:

  • Virgen de los Ángeles Pilgrimage. (Q111335851) on Wikidata Pilgrimage that brings together brotherhoods and faithful from all over the region. Different activities take place during several days, such as concerts, food stalls or religious rites. The pilgrimage is celebrated where people come walking, in wagons decorated with flowers or on horseback. Once the hermnandades and pilgrims arrive, the Virgin is carried in procession for an hour.
  • Sevillanas to the Reina de los Ángeles. Sevillanas to the Queen of the Angels (Q111335852) on Wikidata During the pilgrimage, the pilgrims sing and dance sevillanas on the way there and back, as well as once the mass and the procession are over.

5 Riotinto Mining Landscape[edit]

Apart from the landscape values, there is also an extremely interesting set of intangible values in the knowledge required for the activities that were carried out; the ways and expressions of life, social demands and exchanges between the local and British influence, etc., that turned Riotinto into a symbol of the culture of the Andalusian industrial proletariat in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Route: Alájar,  HU-8105 .  A-479 ,  A-461 , Mines of Riotinto (40.5 km (25.2 mi) - 42 min.)

In the foothills of the Sierra Morena mountains, the Riotinto-Nerva mining basin is located in one of the largest polymetallic sites on the planet, the Iberian pyrite belt. During the 19th and 20th centuries, it was the biggest exporter of these raw materials in the world. The Riotinto Heritage Area shows how human activity has impacted the shaping of the landscape, transformed by empty open-pits left by extraction, the accumulation of waste and the construction of a large array of infrastructure. These are reassembled in a new landscape marked by the steep slopes of the natural hillsides, the waste tips, the blasting and the strip pits, and by the gullies of the Río Tinto river—named as such due to its bright red colour, caused by the volume of iron that accumulates in its waters- on the road to the south.

The views are split between open flatlands, giant spoil tips, strip pits and reservoirs, and confined valleys surrounded by rugged peaks covered in low shrub, eucalyptus reforestation and orange orchards. Mining also influenced the way the villages were built and the architectural typologies developed by the British companies that exploited the deposits, the toponyms rich in mining references (Cerro Colorado-‘Scarlet Ridge’; Peña del Hierro-‘Iron Rock’, etc.) and the development of mining-based cultural expressions. The creation of the Riotinto Mining Park has enhanced the value of the cultural heritage with initiatives such as the Mining Museum and visits to several of the properties in the Heritage Area. This is the main claim of a district engaged in a new development phase based around agriculture, energy and tourism, where the landscape is marked by the widespread presence of orange trees, solar panels, and the proliferation of tourist infrastructure.

Riotinto Mining Landscape

24 Mining Area of Riotinto-Nerva Riotinto-Nerva mining basin on Wikipedia Set of different industrial areas consisting of railroad, industrial, factory, mining remains or urban layouts.

25 Cabezos Coloraos Almohad fortified enclosure 95 m (312 ft) long and 65 m (213 ft) wide. It is built with local mineralized masonry rock, dry-laid. It was built to take advantage of a mining-metallurgical exploitation of iron sulfates, caparrosa and acejes for the production of dyes and colorants.

26 Open pit mining of Atalaya Corta Atalaya on Wikipedia Open pit mining exploitation that is a symbol for the region. It is a crater of 1,200 m (3,900 ft) in diameter and a depth of 345 m (1,132 ft). It is the largest open pit mine in Europe.

27 Workshops Mina A set of rectangular naves with wide masonry walls and bricks in the corners and openings. They were built as workshops for the Rio Tinto mining railroad, being acquired in the 90's by a dye factory.

28 Bellavista Neighborhood Built at the end of the 19th century, it housed the company's management staff. It preserves intact the air of Victorian architecture, highlighting the Anglican chapel, the English club and the council house where the meetings of the company's steering committee were held.

29 Winch of Pozo Acceso Metallic structure 14 m (46 ft) high and 10 m (33 ft) long. It has a derrick, pulleys, extraction system and wagon unloading system in a hopper regulated by a hydraulic gate.

30 Thermal power plant of Huerta Romana The first connection began in 1909 to Pozo Guillermo, for public lighting in 1909 in Bellavista; in 1929 for cooking. It was used in 1920 to illuminate El Valle and surrounding villages. The old power plant is in a state of ruin.

31 Río Tinto railroad Riotinto Railway on Wikipedia It began operating in 1875 to connect the Mining Area of Río Tinto with the port of Huelva. A total of 84 km (52 mi) of commercial track was built, in addition to 264 km (164 mi) of branch lines that served as a connection between the different warehouses, mining towns, villages, pits and short cuts. The volume of traffic was such that it housed the largest fleet of vehicles in Spain after RENFE.

32 Canaleos of Cementation Planes Natural cementation or obtaining copper by wet process. It consists of placing the pyrite in suitable piles so that the passage of water through irrigation with water for several years, pass most of its copper to soluble sulfate and precipitate it with iron.

33 Red hill Cerro Colorado mining deposit on Wikipedia Open pit mining that owes its name to the large mound of gossan or alteration quarry that was exploited to obtain gold, silver and other elements. With the passage of time, it has been linked to the Largo and Dehesa cuts.

In the area there are also important archaeological sites that cannot be visited, such as:

  • 34 Open pit mining Salomón. Corta Salomón (Q97628333) on Wikidata Archaeological area of Roman times located in an old mining cut. It is a group of galleries, some of which are more complex.

6 Tejada la Vieja Landscape[edit]

Tejada la Vieja is high up on the edge of an area of rock with a bird’s-eye view of the region. It is surrounded by natural vegetation that grows spontaneously between the patches of wall that are still standing and the ruins of the city. The Earth and the sky, its clean surfaces, the absence of edges and chromatic continuity contribute to intensifying the sensation of loneliness and isolation..

Route: Mines of Riotinto,  A-461 .  N-435 ,  A-493 ,  A-472 ,  HU-6111 ,  HU-6110 , Archaelogical site of Tejada la Vieja (85.2 km (52.9 mi) - 1 hr 27 min.)

This is a landscape of shaded hills and open valleys, worn away and filled up by the rain that has stripped the hillsides, deposited large quantities of fine matter in the Campo de Tejada and produced unirrigated agricultural soil where grass has gradually forced the trees out of the landscape. A place where views are never-ending, a depopulated immensity clad in an agricultural tapestry and adorned with numerous tracks in the low areas, alongside the best streams and hillocks, which enable rapid access to control the water. To the north, not 6 km (3.7 mi) away following the Ardileja stream, is the higher land where Tejada la Vieja can be found, on the edge of lands that are less docile but with better views over the area.

The landscape strongly conveys the human land occupation strategies between the last quarter of the second millennium (Bronze Age) and the middle of the first millennium (Iron Age): surveillance and defence through a settlement between the foothills of the mountains and the agricultural countryside. Its siting reflects the two main resources on which its activity is based, copper and silver mining and an enormous wealth of agricultural uses. Tejada la Vieja, which was inhabited during the 8th-4th centuries BCE although not since then, is an authentic educational example of a Tartessian settlement. This enables a crystal-clear reading of its formal characteristics, such as the Cyclopean wall, a large part of which remains, including gateways and bastions, and the urban layout.

Tejada la Vieja Landscape

35 Tejada la Vieja Archaeological site that was probably built in the 8th century BCE. It consists of an enclosure with a double wall, streets, quadrangular houses, as well as larger buildings so they have been considered public. There are remains of amphorae and tahonas.

36 Tejada La Nueva Fortified enclosure with remains of rammed earth walls and two quadrangular towers of rammed earth with ashlars at the base and corners. There are Roman remains on the surface.

In the area there are also important archaeological sites that cannot be visited, such as:

  • 37 Peñalosa. Peñalosa (Q97628782) on Wikidata Site with remains of pottery with red glaze, probably from the Late Bronze Age.

7 El Rocío Pilgrimage Landscape[edit]

The sounds, the lights, the colours, the vegetation and the animals that inhabit El Rocío live together in harmony with the powerful shrine, a cultural, architectural and symbolic masterpiece with which humans have built a transcendental gateway on a natural frontier.

Route: Archaelogical site of Tejada la Vieja,  HU-6110 ,  HU-6111 ,  A-472 .  A-493 ,  E-01 , El Rocío (62.8 km (39.0 mi) - 54 min.)

El Rocío has the semblance of a large expanse of water, mud and sand from which the Basilica of Our Lady of Rocío rises above all other geographical features and forms where the sky meets the Earth on the horizon line of one of the largest European wetlands; the beginning of the flood lands of cork tree woods and soft sands, the beginning of forbidden, rugged Doñana. These concepts are a constant in the legend and history of El Rocío, despite the degradation of the wetlands, their partial drying out, urban growth, the roadways that pass through and tourist traffic into Doñana National Park. Nothing has been able to alter the perception of El Rocío as a natural, mystic gateway, the point of arrival and departure, a unique frontier land. The pilgrim areas bear witness to the great reach of the phenomenon and the emotion of the event itself as a social experience.

El Rocío and its landscape become stronger and deeper in historical terms along the routes that the Brotherhoods take on the pilgrimage; like nerves, they spread their vital impulse to distant lands that seem to form part of the same body, a unique landscape, fragmented but joined together by the experience of the journey. The pilgrims’ ways that arrive there from adjacent provinces, with names given to them by the pilgrims, spread these moral, social and mystic values far and wide throughout the area of their geographical influence, in such a way that, with the passing of the pilgrims and brotherhoods, the place transcends its spatial boundaries towards such diverse landscapes as the countryside, floodplains, the forests of stone pines and cork trees, and the dunes.

El Rocío Pilgrimage Landscape

38 El Rocío Hermitage Hermitage of El Rocío on Wikipedia It is inserted in a group of buildings of Andalusian country house. The temple has three naves, transept and main chapel. The central nave and the arms of the transept are covered with barrel vaults, illuminated by circular oculi with stained glass windows. The lateral ones have two floors, the ground floor with groin vaults and above it the tribune. In the central niche of the altarpiece of the main chapel, is the image of the Virgen del Rocío, patron saint of Almonte and one of the main iconic identity of Andalusia.

39 El Rocío Pilgrimage Romería de El Rocío on Wikipedia It is the most multitudinous pilgrimage of Andalusia. Held in May or June, according to the liturgical calendar, it brings together more than 100 affiliated brotherhoods, associations and thousands of people. One of its main characteristics is the "jumping of the fence" of the Almonteños to carry their patron saint on their shoulders.

The route also considers intangible cultural assets:

  • 40 La Saca de Yeguas. Saca de las Yeguas (Q111335855) on Wikidata Celebration where the riders go to the marshes where they have herds of animals. During the journey, stops are made to eat, drink and chat. Once they reach the mares, they regroup in the "Paso del Chivo", a pine forest traditionally used as a siesta area. On the following days, the horses' manes, tails and shoeing are cut to proceed to their sale.
  • 41 Rociera's dress. (Q111335854) on Wikidata Typical female clothing for the Pilgrimage of El Rocío. It was made in the 1920s. It can be of one or two pieces, consisting of a skirt and a blouse. Unlike the typical flamenco dress, it does not have petticoats, and few ruffles. The neckline is usually V-neck and the back is covered.
  • 42 Sevillanas rocieras. Sevillanas rocieras (Q111335856) on Wikidata Sevillanas rocieras are those typical of the Pilgrimage of El Rocío. They are so called because of the specific theme of their lyrics, which refer to the Virgen del Rocío, the road, the environment of the Doñana Park, the brotherhoods rocieras, the pilgrims, etc. They are usually accompanied by the gaita rociera and small drums, but also with the guitar.
  • 43 Salve rociera. Pito rociero (Q17996514) on Wikidata Salve dedicated to the Virgen del Rocío, which has become a hymn, being interpreted in different acts of the pilgrimage as well as by the different brotherhoods. Its popularity is such that it is sung in other pilgrimages or to saints.
  • 44 Bagpipes and drums playing. piping and drumming in Almonte (Q111335488) on Wikidata Present in almost every significant moment of the pilgrimage, there are two melodies: the "toque del alba" and the "toque del camino". The first is a call that is played at dawn to wake up the pilgrims and announce the beginning of the march to the village. The second is a cheerful composition, of repetitive playing, which accompanies the pilgrims along the way.

8 Doñana Coastal Defence Landscape[edit]

This shifting land, at the forefront of the struggle against the ocean and built on continental depositions, combines nature and culture in the quest for a common interest, survival over others. And for this, they exploit the smallest patch of land to survive over time, even though it is at the very tip of the continent, permanently wracked by sea winds, saltpetre, blazing sun and storms.

Route: El Rocío,  A-483 , Matalascañas (19.1 km (11.9 mi) - 19 min.)

This coastal zone is one of the most open and unique in the Andalusian region. As it is inside Doñana National Park, it can only be accessed through an organised visit operated by the Park itself or on foot or by bicycle eastwards along the beach from the coastal resort of Matalascañas. The beaches of Castilla and Arenas Gordas, on the western edge of the Doñana sandbanks, are the longest in Andalusia.

In this shifting land, the first bastion to fend off the ocean and built on nascent continental depositions, nature and culture combine in the quest for a common interest, survival over others. For this, both take advantage of the smallest patch of land to endure through time, even though it be at the very tip of the continent, wracked by sea winds, saltpetre, blazing sun and storms. Seven beacon towers were built within sight of each other along the whole coastline to warn of possible attacks or incursions from the sea. The three that have survived, Carbonera, Zalabar and San Jacinto, along with the bunkers at Malandar Point built in the first half of the 20th century, are the landmarks that connote this landscape and facilitate an understanding of its character. It is a place that conveys emotions of remoteness and isolation as humans have barely affected its physical appearance as, due to its geographical condition, it has traditionally been perceived as a perilous, unsafe area with a risk of assaults and piracy in the past.

Doñana Coastal Defence Landscape

45 Tower of Carbonera Tower of truncated form, more than 15 m (49 ft) high. The access to the interior of the same one is 7 m (23 ft) in height. The chamber that presents the tower is vaulted and in its interior it has a blinded well.

46 Tower of Higuera Only the remains of the tower are left, which give it a curious appearance as it is inverted. The remains of the plinth and the foundations are in the air, while the walls are buried in the sand and water.

47 Tower of San Jacinto Trunk of 15 m (49 ft) high that in its interior houses a chamber of 7 m (23 ft) of diameter. Inside the room there is a well. The tower, with the growth of the dunes, has been removed from the coastline.

48 Tower of Zalabar Tower, very poorly preserved, where two thirds of it are collapsed. It was cone-shaped and housed inside a chamber. It is built in mortar and masonry.

49 Tower of Asperillo Remains of a tower that can only be seen at low tide. The walls are scattered and barely rise from the ground.

In the area there are also important archaeological sites that cannot be visited, such as:

  • Bajo del Picacho. Bajo del Picacho (Q97628622) on Wikidata Archaeological remains composed of Roman coins, pieces of copper, brass, lead and a cannon, so it is theorized that it could be a shipwreck area.
  • Cerro del Trigo. Cerro del Trigo (Q97627436) on Wikidata Remains of an ancient settlement and Roman salting ponds together with ceramic remains.

The route also considers intangible cultural assets:

  • Shellfishing on foot in Doñana. Shellfishing on foot in Doñana (Q111335222) on Wikidata A trade based on the collection of shellfish that is exposed after the withdrawal of the sea at low tide. A tool called "rastro" is used to scratch the sand to bring up the shellfish. This activity is completely controlled by the Doñana forest guard.

Stay safe[edit]

The itinerary passes through safe, low-crime areas. The usual security measures should be taken, such as keeping the car locked or having backpacks or other objects in sight. As in most of the rest of Spain, the rural police force is the Guardia Civil. Larger municipalities may have their own municipal police officers.

In many places along the route there are no shaded areas, so it is advisable to bring sunscreen and a hat during the hottest periods. Access to many places may not be accessible or even require hiking shoes and clothing or similar.

When part of the route passes through a mining area, pay attention to all existing signs and take extreme precautions to avoid accidents.

Stay healthy[edit]

The nearest hospitals are:

Go next[edit]

Other destinations within the province of Huelva:

This itinerary to Culturally significant landscapes in Huelva is a usable article. It explains how to get there and touches on all the major points along the way. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.