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Cazorla

Cazorla is a city in the province of Jaén in southern Spain. The city has 8,200 inhabitants and is located on the western slope of the Natural Sierras de Cazorla, and forms the base for visits to this park.

The history of Cazorla goes back 2,000 years when the Romans called it Carcacena. The Moors used it as a fortress with watchtowers and forts to monitor the area. After heavy fighting with the Christians it finally fell in Spanish hands in the 13th century.

Cazorla is a friendly town and has several nice squares. The Plaza de la Corredera is the central square. There are some fine buildings here like the town hall from the 16th century. The Iglesia de San Jose dates back to the 17th century and have an impressive retablo (devotional painting) and copies of works by El Greco.

But most visitors come to Cazorla for the natural environment. The Natural Sierras de Cazorla is a vast area of forests, deep canyons, valleys, waterfalls, lakes and reservoirs.

South of Cazorla rises one of the longest rivers of Spain, the Gudalquivir. The largest reservoir in the area is the Embalse Tranco, the result of the first damming of the river near its source.

The whole area is interspersed with jagged mountain peaks, the highest of which is the Pico Empanada of 2,107 meters. The park has a rich animal life including wild boar, deer and mouflon. Coupled with a large number of bird species, including various types of eagles, hawks and vultures and more than 2,000 species of plants and trees, you really feel what this is all about, "a natural paradise."

In the area are over 200 caves, of which the Cueva de Agua and Cueva del Peinero are the most famous.

The Moors built the fortress known as Castillo de la Yedra which dominates the town. The castle has been restored and now houses a fascinating folklore museum. The exhibition includes pieces of furniture and models of mills. There is also a chapel with sculptures.

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