The Sierra in Campo de Montiel
To the southeast of Campo de Montiel we find Castellar de Santiago, in one of the hillsides of Sierra Morena. Its nearest neighbor villages are Torrenueva (14 km) and Torre de Juan Abad (at 20).
In la Alameda, in la Sierra del Cambrón and in el Cerrillo Redondo, sites locates in the municipality of Castellar de Santiago, some prehistoric remains have been found such as axes and other tools from the Palaeolithic and recently several cave paintings have been discovered in the Sierra of Castellar. Calcolithic deposits and from the Bronze Age, an important settlement, a small oppidum… are other discoveries carried out in Castellar and they are the best testimony of the different peoples who inhabited Castellar de Santiago over the centuries.
The current Castellar arises in 1545 as new village during the later repopulation of the district of Campo de Montiel. In 1545 it gets independent from Torre de Juan Abad, acquiring the category of village.
Parsh church of Santa Ana
The current church is dated in the 17th Century and its style is according to the pourist features of Juan de Herrera who had been successful at the Monastery of El Escorial: Simplicity in the lines, austere decoration, nuanced lighting… It is a sturdy masonry building with thick buttresses. It has a Latin cross plan: a single central nave with little developed arms of the transept, and it is topped with a simple bell-gable with three bells
Currently it has two gateways with porticos of sandstone. It was erected after the founding of the village. In 1550 was a very humble building. Later on (before 1609) the tower and a sacristy were added. During the 17th century neighbors built a larger temple that was finished in 1673. In 1862 the tower (which had already been damaged by the earthquake of Lisbon on Nov, 1, 1760) and a large part of the walls, with the exception of the apse, were virtually reduced to rubble. The temple was declared in ruins and was rebuilt, but the former tower was replaced by the current bell-gable. These works ended in 1893. During the 20th Century some refurbishing were carried out too.
Image of Cristo de la Misericordia
The chamber of the high altar of the church of Santa Ana holds a woodwork of a beautiful Baroque Christ, sculpted by Giraldo of Merlo in 1620, in pine wood from Cuenca. It was commissioned by a priest of Castellar named Pedro Covers in 1619 and cost 850 reales. Giraldo Merlo is well-known because in addition to this beautiful image, he made the main altarpiece of the cathedral of Santa Maria del Prado in Ciudad Real (1616). The image of Christ is highly revered by the neighbours since it is their patron saint.
Two emblazoned houses
They belong to the old families of noblemen who lived in Castellar. The coat of arms of the façade of the house in Oro street probably belongs to the family of Abarca, “hidalgos” (noblemen) dating back to the time of the foundation of the village and perhaps knights of the Order of Santiago. The house can be dated at the end of the 16th Century or at the beginning of the 17th Century. The coat of arms of the Sol street has features typical of the 18th Century.
Church del Carmen
The Chapel, as it is called by the neighbors of Castellar de Santiago, was built in 1971, on a lot donated by Aurelia and Justo Pliego, being a parish priest Jose María Martinez Jaime, in order to provide religious services to the neighbors who lived away from the Church of Santa Ana.
The arcaded Plaza with the Town Hall, the Popular University and the Elderly Centre are modern buildings opened in 1986-1987.
La Rumbrosa. The most beautiful natural spots are located in the southern parts the municipality, near the foothills of Sierra Morena. The Rumbrosa is one of them: recreational site of the neighbors in pilgrimage to San Marcos. In the surrounding area are ravines and hills like Jupiter, la Tabernilla or Cueva del Moreno, located at the top of a hill, striking for having two entrances diametrically opposed, hollowed out probably by prehistoric inhabitants. In this site there is a shepherds track: the path of the Serranos, a branch that starts at the Canada Real de Cuenca
La sierra del Cambrón. It acts as the limit with Andalusia. It is the highest place in the Municipal area (1068 meters) and from it, splendid general views of the surrounding villages and even of Sierra Nevada, can be watched.
Fauna refuge “Los Barranquillos Chico Mendes”. A protected natural space, in the sierra de Castellar, aimed at the preservation of endangered species such as the Iberian lynx. Las cuevas de María Juana, natural shelters located in the sunniest part of Cerro Largo, used by prehistoric peoples, as proved by the archaeological remains. It has two wall paintings of Christ and a Virgin carried out by a local painter, Aurelio, in 1962. La sierra del Maestre, sierra Lóbrega, cerro Castellón y cerro Lobo are charming places, too.
Castellar of the Pots
The pottery was one of the economic resources of Castellar, being the only ceramic core of importance in Campo de Montiel.
In the 20th century there were up to 20 potters, and the village was known in the surrounding area with the name of Castellar of the Pots. In 2009 the still remaining pottery was finally shut up. From that time we have the traditional pottery museum, in which we can see a wide range of works.
Fiestas and traditions
San Antón (17th January)
It is traditional to light bonfires in the streets, on the day before, and next to the doorway of the Church, where wine and roast meat is provided to the attendants. Mass service, a religious parade and the blessing of buns.
Pilgrimage of San Marcos (25th of April)
Currently the fiesta takes place at La Rumbrosa. Formerly, people went to a different place where they ate the famous “hornazo” (stuffed bun) and coloured eggs.
San Isidro (15th of May)
Mass service and religious parade of San Isidro, but before, the saint was revered at los Cotillos. Each farmers team had a picnic and there were contests of ploughing and games for children.
When there is a draught in the fields, the Christ is carried in a parade through the fields and supplications for rain are prayed.
The Fair (15th of August)
Fair, attractions for children, bullfightings, open air dancing and music performances.
Patron Saint Fiestas
They are held on the 13th, 14th and 15th of September, to honour the Santísimo Cristo de la Misericordia. On the 13th, the neighbours light a bonfire next to their houses, celebrated with gun shooting and rockets. Street bands, mass service, religious parade, bullfighting, music performances, contests, fireworks…