Jérez del Marquesado – Among chestnut trees and marjoram

Jérez del Marquesado – Among chestnut trees and marjoram

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The Jérez del Marquesado-Balsilla del Partidor route is a pleasure to the senses. The autumn reds and ochres of the trees and the aroma of marjoram accompany the traveller throughout the journey.

 

> Raquel Rodríguez / Granada Hoy

This circular walk between Jérez del Marquesado and the Balsilla del Partidor is set among horse-chestnut trees and an irrigation channel surrounded by numerous picnic areas. It is one of the routes that the Association for the Rural Development of the District of Guadix (Asociación para el Desarrollo Rural de la Comarca de Guadix) designed to encourage members of the public to get to know and enjoy the area’s landscapes, monuments, customs and cuisine.

DEPARTURE FROM CALLE MIRADOR

Before leaving the built-up area of Jérez, the route passes through the upper part of Calle Alcázar, where Cuesta Chortal begins. From there you will walk downhill and cross over a bridge.

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Mills have been used in the district of El Marquesado ever since Roman times, when their function was grinding minerals. It was the Arabs who first used millstones to grind flour.

The route is dotted with horse-chestnut trees and many marjoram bushes, but generally the vegetation is very varied: Eve Price, willows, alder, thyme, wild rose, honeysuckle and pennyroyal can all be seen. You might also spot some Spanish ibex, wild boar, eagles, blackbirds and even fighting bulls.

WAYPOINT 1 > ARROYO DE JÉREZ

You will pass by the Fuente del Chortal (1213 metres) and then reach the Arroyo de Jérez. 

WAYPOINT 2 > TORRE DE ALCÁZAR
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When you reach the first fork in the road, take the left-hand path and you will come to the ruins of the mediaeval towers of Torre de los Casarones and Torre de Alcázar. Continue on the same path and cross the road from Jérez to Lanteira, until you reach the Balsilla de Alcázar. 

WAYPOINT 3 > BALSILLA DEL PARTIDOR

Here you can get amazing views of the Picón de Jérez (3,090 metres) and the path, perfumed with the scent of marjoram, runs between old horse-chestnuts trees and an irrigation channel that extends as far as the Balsilla del Partidor (1308 metres). It is called ‘partidor’ (literally ‘divider’) because it distributes the waters between the irrigation channels of Guadix and of Alcázar. 

WAYPOINT 4 > LOMA DE ENMEDIO
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The walk continues down the Río Alcázar and soon you will reach the Loma de Enmedio, the dividing line between the gullies of Alcázar and Alhorí. Walk along a narrow pathway and you will return to the starting point.

You can further extend this walk by visiting the town of Jérez del Marquesado, situated on the northern face of the Sierra Nevada. Its houses have typical white walls and red rooftops set against the green backdrop of the Sierra Nevada. The town has a number of viewpoints, gullies, woodlands, picnic areas and ponds. You can visit some mills that are still in operation, the copper mine of Santa Constanza, where the first peseta came from, the ruins of the castle in the Huerto Castillejo and the Mudejar church dating back to the 16th century, one of the most interesting in the province.

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The town’s location near the rivers flowing from the mountains has made it a privileged and popular place for settlers for many centuries. In the Muslim era two twin population centres sprang up here: Alcázar and Xerís (present-day Jérez). By the Nasrid period these towns were one of the favourite places of the Arab monarchs. The sultans owned some properties in Jérez, including areas with vines, woods and mulberry trees (important food for silkworms). The population grew as the Christian troops’ pressure increased on the kingdom of Granada. The town later fell under the dominion of the Mendoza family, during which time it continued to play an important role, as shown by the Marques del Zenete building the local church.

The town grew in importance in the mediaeval period merging with Ibero-Roman mines, which were worked until very recently. The best-preserved mediaeval remains are three towers, one in the town centre itself (which was the minaret of a former mosque), the Torre de Alcázar on the other side of the gorge, and the Torre de Los Casarones. The oldest houses in the town are of Arab and Moorish origin. In Jérez you can also find the remains of what used to be the largest public baths of El Marquesado.

ROUTE INFORMATION

Regions: Guadix and El Marquesado

Towns: Jérez del Marquesado

Route length: 6,4 km

Estimated duration: 2 hours

Altitude on departure: 1247 metres

Maximum altitude: 1286 metres

Gradient: 144 metres

Ecosystem: Mid-level mountain

Recommended season: All year round

HIKE RATING SYSTEM

    • Itinerary and route
    • Paths or signposts showing the way
    • Effort needed
    • Over 1 hour and up to 3 hours (2+1) of effective walking
    • Severity of natural surroundings
    • More than one risk factor
    • Level of difficulty for walking
    • Walk on paths with rough surface

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