A toothless smile wrapped into a sun-wrinkled face provides a fitting setting for this sleepy town of some 5,000 souls that lies unpretentiously off the beaten track, almost as if its given up waiting for something to happen. Castillo de Locubin’s main occupation is, however, just that. It is waiting for time and the slow process of maturation to complete. It is waiting for the sun to perform its complicated process of cellular transformation. Castillo de Locubin lies in the heart of olive country. It is surrounded by an endless sea of olive groves, plantation on plantation, ancient trees and new lined neatly up and down the hilly terrain. Its main industry and raison d’être is the production of olive oil, the golden, cholesterol reducing agent that is one of the principal industries of Jaén.

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But there’s more. Castillo de Locubin, like all the towns and villages in this corner of the world, has a history that reaches back into the beginning of historically recorded time. Nearby are found Palaeolithic remains of some of our human forbearers and the castle, after which the town is named, and of which, unfortunately, little remains, has its origins in roman times when, as a remote outpost in the extreme west of the European continent, Iberia was the provider of many of the raw materials of empire, a fat queen protected by its armies of soldiers and slave labour. Later, seven hundred years of Arabic rule left its indelible mark in the form of isolated watch towers, endlessly vigilant and lonely reminders of a frontier existence, a world between cultures.

Ruta del Califato

Castillo de Locubin doesn’t have much for those looking for bright lights and a rock ‘n roll lifestyle, but what it lacks in superficiality it excels in reality. The whitewashed houses baking beneath the Andalucian summer sun don’t bother with a welcome, they’re too busy waiting for the hectic harvest, a month of frenetic activity, at the turn of the year.

More information – Caliphate’s Trail: http://rutas.legadoandalusi.es/

For more information: http://www.andalucia.org/

For a great opportunity: casa olivara

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