Its history is full of unanswered questions, being on the one hand some of the Hippa or Hippo Nova that Plinio mentioned in his ‘History’ and on the other a Roman villa, Ilipiula Minor in the itinerary of Cádiz and Cordoba. It is missing from other publications of the Roman and Visigothic times and reappears in the Muslim chronicles as a border link in the advanced zone of Muslim power in the mountains (Wubira or Uriwila).
The Christian conquest planned in Seville formed part of the strategic advance to the Straits of Gibraltar to prevent the Muslims entering. In an early expedition the Christians lost the Sevillian banner that flew from the castle of Olvera. Ultimately the Muslim garrison couldn’t resist the Christian siege that was supported by ‘war machines and devices’ that frightened the Nasrids. The fortress of Olvera was occupied for the first time by the troops of King Alfonso XI. After the negotiations following the surrender, Ibrahim-ibn-Utmán managed to maintain the rights of the garrison of Olvera and each inhabitant was able to keep their homes and belongings. Occupying the town, the Christians formalized their settlement which was implemented in the ‘Town Charter’ granted on August 1st of that same year. (1327)
The People’s Charter, freed anyone who stayed in the town for a year and a day from debts, threats of imprisonment and even lifted sentences for serious crimes. This was a way of attracting people to the settlement, initially in Olvera, but it was later extended along the entire frontier. In the middle of this century and after the continuous Muslim attacks, the town came to form part of the domain of Don Alfonso Pérez de Guzmán. In 1395 Pérez de Guzmán arranged the marriage of his daughter to the son of Stúñiga (or Zúñiga), promising the town of Olvera as her dowry. In the year 1407 the domain of Olvera was passed to form part of the estate of the Stúñigas. Later it was sold to the Téllez Girón family who later became the Dukes of Osuna and were the ‘Lords’ of the town until the 19th century.
Olvera began the 18th Century with problems derived from the French occupation of the Peninsula. It was host to a detachment of Napoleonic troops who were constantly harassed by guerrilla groups organised in the town and its surroundings until the French retreat in 1812. The century advanced and some of the most important episodes of Spanish history were echoed in Olvera, like the September revolution in 1868 which became known as “la Gloriosa”. After the brief republican period, the return of the monarchy resulted in the formal recognition of the town as a city, a title conceded by Alfonso XII by Royal Decree on 8 May 1877. The years of the dictatorship of Primo de Rivera gave the citizens of Olvera an economic respite as they benefitted from the construction of the Jerez – Almargen railway that ran from east to west of the municipality. The project was never finished.
Today, having overcome the difficulties of the first decades of the 20th century, Olvera continues to be dedicated to agriculture, forestry (!?) and livestock, activities which are increasingly complemented by the exploitation of tourism in the town and its surroundings as well as business cooperatives.
The Historic Old Town
Due to its strategic situation, Olvera has been, since prehistoric times, a site chosen for human settlement. The archaeological remains found in the town and surrounding areas (Sierra de Lijar) attest to this.
It was declared a site of historical interest in 1983, the second declaration of the White Villages after Arcos de la Frontera. The historic centre of Olvera is a beautiful network of streets, buildings and squares, nestled in a cliff, with a medieval air that is a reminder of its Arab era.
Its origin was around the fortress built in the 12th century and from there, following the slope down, the village was built in an irregular framework which today treasures historic houses and ancestral homes, corners, alleys and charming little rocky outcrops. The remains of the old town walls are still preserved and from here you can enjoy unparalleled views of our area.
Olvera’s cuisine offers an exquisite variety of traditional dishes and desserts that make it delicious for any palate. Unique flavours that make eating a real pleasure. Dishes such as ‘sopa de pegás’, tomato soup, ‘tagarninas’ stew, stuffed sirloin, dishes based on game meat, stews with cabbage, cold meats turn the cuisine of Olvera into one of its most recognized attractions throughout the Sierra. Desserts such as ‘torta de lunes’ (Monday cake), ‘hornazo’(Easter pie), ‘tortillas’ and carnival biscuits add a special flavour to the sweets.
Taking its precious olive oil as a fundamental base, traditional dishes are made that still preserve the flavour of yesteryear. Their careful preparation and the raw materials with which they are made make these dishes a true delight for the traveller who wants to experience and enjoy local gastronomy.
Here you will find all the necessary information to organize your visit to Olvera.
Tourist Information Office
Plaza de la Iglesia s/n, Edificio La Cilla
Telephone: +34 956 120 816
Mobile: +34 665 940 087
Fax: +34 956 120 816
|Town Hall||Plaza del Ayuntamiento||956 13 00 11|
|Fire Service||C. Carlos Cano, 24||085|
|Guardia Civil (National Police)||Avda. Julián Besteiro, 1||956 13 00 13|
|Health Centre||Avda. Julián Besteiro, s/n||956 04 54 02|
|Bus Station||C. Bellavista, s/n||956 90 36 29|
|Tourist Office||Plaza de la Iglesia, s/n||956 12 08 16|
|Policía Local (Local Police)||C. Pico, 44||956 13 00 05/ 607 80 03 09|
|Civil Protection||C. Diputación, s/n||615 35 07 87|
|Public Librairy||C. Lepanto, 2||956 13 06 02|
|Sports Centre||C. Atenas, s/n||956 13 00 81|
|Public Pool||Avda. Manuel de Falla, s/n||605 92 97 03|
|Post Office||C. Mercado, 67||956 13 01 83|
|C. Vereda Ancha, 34||956 12 21 31|
|956 04 52 00||956 04 52 00||956 04 52 00|
|Employment Office||C. Mercado, 2||956 99 25 98 (SEPE)|
|956 12 86 76 (SAE)||956 12 86 76 (SAE)||956 12 86 76 (SAE)|
|Justice of the Peace||C. Locomotora, 2||956 13 00 04|
|Pharmacy Arenas Morales||Avda. Julián Besteiro, 35||956 10 31 04|
|Pharmacy Arenas Ramírez||C. Victoria, 8||956 13 07 01|
|Pharmacy Morón||C. Calvario, 69||956 13 08 26|
|Taxis||722 22 70 76/ 669 84 81 11|
The origins of the current population of Olvera would seem to be based around the Arab castle and Nasrid period. Built in the twelfth century, with a triangular layout, the fortress rises on the rock with its stone retaining walls, towers and tower of homage. From here and following the contours of the slope, the town is formed giving rise to the square and a whole series of curved and parallel streets with an irregular configuration. A historic hamlet that alternates manor houses, with elegant doorways, with the best examples of popular architecture in the province of Olvera.
Olvera invites you to visit its most distinctive areas through different routes that combine some of the most splendid monuments of its Roman past to the present with great prominence given to its Almohad history.
Holy Week of Olvera has been declared of National Tourist Interest in Andalusia. The layout of its streets and the feeling of its brotherhoods, mean that it is truly unique.
Olvera has a rich offering of eating establishments in which to enjoy local cuisine and products from the Sierra de Cádiz region. From the midday tapas to a high-end dinner at one of the restaurants in the town.
Olvera’s town centre, offers you all the services you will need during your visit. Spread between the two main commercial axes of the town: the oldest, corresponding to Llana, Victoria and Mercado streets; and the most modern, formed by the avenues of Manuel de Falla and Julian Besteiro.
Take advantage of the wide range of hotels and campsites in Olvera: stay in a hotel or a house in the historic centre of the town, or stay in a rural house and enjoy the natural wealth of the surroundings. Olvera is for the whole year round.
Located in the heart of the Cadiz mountain range, specifically in the northwest triangle of the Sierra de Cádiz, at a crossroads between the provinces of Cádiz, Málaga and Sevilla. Olvera is a town with Arab roots, declared a Historic-Artistic Site in 1983. It is located at an altitude of 643 m. above sea level and in a mountainous area (Peñón de Zaframagón, Sierra de Lújar, Sierra de las Harinas …), which gives character to its landscape, in which the reddish lands are dotted with patches of scrubland, hills of old olive trees, cereals and stubble. All this relief is crossed by the Guadalporcún and Salado rivers that flow into the Guadalete, the main river of the province.