THE GRANARY OF THE COUNT OF ST JOHN´S VALLEY
It is to be found in Calle Mayor, a building of neoclassic inspiration dating back to the beginning of the XIX century. It was built on the orders of Diego Melgarejo Puxmarin Buendía and Fontes in 1808. The original facade has been preserved and the interior restoration has maintained the structure of the era. It was originally used as the family home of the Counts of St John ´s Valley gong on to become a granary for cereals ( hence its name) until Calasparra Town Hall acquired it in 1978 for a symbolic price from the heirs of the family.
The building is in three sections. The great doors with a lintern bear the crown of the Melgarejo family. In the interior a separate patio adjoins and communicates the granary to what was the family home.
Today the building accomodates the Municipal School of Music and the Rice Museum.
THE CLOCK TOWER
The Clock Tower is in Calle Mayor, in the area of St Peter´s Church.
The first reference to the Clock Tower is in a stone laying ceremony recorded in an antique document of 1609. The Tower was part of an urban project for the linear development of Calle Mayor, as it was in this century that the streets were widened and there was a preoccupation about external space.
In 1718 the building, almost in ruins, was rebuilt and two years later was significantly renovated.
The Tower presents numerous similarities to Islamic Art and resembles the Nemúdejar style. The Tower stands at 2. 56 metres tall and has a spiral staircase in the centre that goes to the top. The top of the tower is notable for the geometry of its decorative elements which stretch upwards. It is a modest Tower, three parts in one, dissimulating its size as it stretches upwards. The second part contains the clock and the third part is open on three faces for the bells, with a pitched roof and crowned with a cross and a weather vane. The entrance is a small wooden door. Materials used are bricks, stone and the decorative motive is padded.
LA ENCOMIENDA (command centre of the military oder)
The building, La Encomienda was located in the medieval centre of old Calasparra, adjoining the so called Constitution Square, which, through the demographic augmentation of the XV century housed fundamentally important buildings such as the wholesale market, the Town Hall, the silk market.
Built in the XIV century, it was completely restored between 1730 and 1731 by the master builder, Diego Gutiérrez, and more recently in 2009, when the exhibition space and access was improved.
During its long history it has had various different uses: it was a house and a granary under the Order of St John and formed part of the House-Palace of the Knight Commander and the Order which also occupied the hospital, the land and the town; it was a prison during the civil war; and has been used as a school.
These days the building houses the Archeological Museum of Calasparra, in which there are exhibits from different cultures (the mid bronze age, Iberian, Roman) and notably the Spanish-Arab ceramics from the ruins at Villa Vieja.
As an annex is the Exhibition centre “El Comendador”.
The origins of the fortifications of Callasparra date back to the XII century, used during the occupation by Córdoba and its subsequent abandonment when there was an uprising by the mudejares (Moors) in 1264.
On June 9, 1289, King Sancho IV gave the castle and the town of Calasparra to the Order of St John of Jerusalem, and it was to become the most significant symbol of the power of the Order over these territories.
You can visit the ruins of the castle, currently in the process of restoration, by walking from the centre of Calasparra and along a renovated path with steps. The fortification is to be found high above on the rocks, and in the foothills of the Serreta de San José where it dominates perfectly the fertile land around it.
It appears, that the fortified part of Calasparra was distributed over various areas- taking advantage of the different levels and ascending up the great rock - including the defences of the castle and the walled population. These days one can still see an upper area which crowns the mount and which houses the great 12 metre high Torre del Homenaje (Homage Tower).
A little lower down is another walled area with two well conserved tanks built by a mortar process and backed into a cut in the rock to take advanage of running water produced by rainfall.
The main access to the castle is located in the north, where it is still possible to see the foundations of the towers that flanked the gate. They were constructed with a mortar (lime, sand and water) and medium sized stones, which explains their deterioration.
EL MOLINICO (MUNICIPAL ARCHIVE)
This is one of the few buildings dating back to the XVI century which have survived in Calasparra.The building forms part of the civil architecture of the Rennaisance.
Originally it was the property of the Melgarejo family and then of the Counts of the Order of St John but it has had multiple uses in its time including being used as a rice mill until it was abandoned and the building seriously deteriorated.
The historic and artistic value of the building was recognised in 1983 when it was declared a Building of Cultural Interest in the category of National Historic Artistic Monument.
The Town Hall acquired the bulding in 1988 and it was restored.
It has three floors and ample land with two different large towers and a central body. The door has Renaissance cut stone masonry framed with grand Tuscan pillars. On the upper floor there presides the family crest with two grand pillars of Roman-Doric origin and two shells in Corbel style. The Mannerist character of the facade is finished off with four symmetrical windows set in pairs.
It currently houses the Emilio Pérez Piñero Foundation and the Municipal Historic Archive with documentation dating back to the XV century.
ARCHEOLGICAL DIG “VILLA VIEJA”
The archeological dig at Villa Vieja sits on a small hill above the river Segura, at 3k from the north of the urban centre of Calasparra. It is surrounded by a narrow rural road, the RM-714, which connects to the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Hope.
It is a Hispanic – Moor site, an antigue hamlet which at the peak of its development dates back to the XII and XIII centuries. It occupies some 5.500 square metres and was possibly founded by Berber bloodlines proceeding from Magreb settlements in Al-Andalus in the XI century. It is the oldest and most important settlement in an extensive terrority adminstratively dependent on Mula.
The excavations uncovered part of the structure of various buildings and ceramic materials exhibited in the Archeological Museum of Calasparra. Its inhabitants were farmers with extensive agricultural land watered by abundant water from the nearby river.
The original nucleos of the settlement was located in the northern sector and the north east of side of the hill in an area on a natural cliff above the river Segura and it expanded progressively from east to south.
The ruins reveal part of the fortifications consisting of towers and defensive bulwarks on the access road and a moat at the foot of the western wall. The houses were built on a network of streets which separated blocks of one or two dwellings but which have no definitive paving. They were modest dwellings with square or rectangular floors and two rectangular rooms with a yard. Given the absence of tiles it is possible they used terraces, small stones on top of the walls and lintels on the doors. The most common form of access is directly from the patio.The characteristic room is the kitchen, present even where the habitable space is very small. The function of this space is obviously the preparation of food. Among its components are a hearth sunk into the floor, a stone bench and, on occasions, a cupboard.
Being on the frontier of the Nazarí kingdom the settlers preferred settlements sheltered by the Castle where the existing town stands.
Guided visits to the Hispanic-Moor archeological dig at Villa-Vieja, can be organised through the Archeological Museum “La Encomienda”.
AQUEDUCT OF LOS ARCOS
Ths aqueduct is 3k south east of Calasparra on the Mula Road. It is a Roman aqueduct completely rebuilt at the beginning of the XV century.
It is 127 metres long and has a maximum height in the central part of 10.15 metres and forms part of the engineering works for the irrigation systems of the Argos valley meadows. It aids the Gil Pérez irrigation ditch to circumvent the upward slope and permits the flow of water along the dry river bed it crosses.
The lateral part has four round arches while the central part is formed of two series of arches,: the superior superimposed by nine blind round arches and the middle and inferior by two grand pointed arches.
Local stone in irregular forms were used in the construction although the walls have been found to be cracked. To fill the holes and unite the stones a mortar mixture of cal with sand and brael from the river was used. The canal was constructed using a frame and mortar.
"ABRIGOS DEL POZO" OR "THE FOOLS CAVE"
“ABRIGOS DEL POZO” OR “THE FOOLS´CAVE”
The Abrigos (shelters) del Pozo (popularly known as the Cueva de Los Monigotes: the Fools´Cave), is situated at the end of the Esparragal road, some 5k from the town and alongside the river Segura. It has been declared a site of Cultural Interest under the Law of Historic Patrimony and has also been listed by UNESCO as part of the World Patrimony because it has been used by man during different historic eras.
In the 70’s various schematic cave drawings were discovered dated back to the Neolithic age. The drawings replicate the thorax and inferior limbs; men with open arms; hoes; pets; stick men (schematic human figures);vertical lines joined to horizontal lines and points. They cover three different adjacent areas.
Thanks to the excavations we now know the Abrigos de Pozo were first occupied in the Epipalaeolihic age some 8,000 years ago when it is believed the occupants pursued basic activities such as hunting, fishing and the collection and fabrication of flint instruments.
The human occupation of the area continued through to the Neolithic age. The cave drawings discovered and the material remains date back to the prehistoric era.
The settlements by the river continued through the Bronze Age (some 3,000 years ago) and it is believed that they petered out during the Roman times (II – IV centuries) when the shelters were used as refuges for herds of migrating livestock.
A guided visit can be organised through the Archeological Museum or during the “Descent of the River Segura - Cañón de Almadenes” by boat through the Natural Space Cañón de Almadenes: halfway through the descent you can visit the shelter.