I did it last year, not that long ago tho. Only 5,38 miles run in this trainning towards the marathon in the Sahara, but it was worth seeing the landscape backcombed with olive trees. Linares, a city in south Spain (Andalusia), hides more than it shows.
Cástulo was built first. The Iberian and Roman settlement, located 3 miles from the current city of Linares, was one of the top 10 metropolis in the Iberian peninsula between the 10th century BC and the 7th century. In 2012, the National Geographic highlighted the finding of a roman floor tile in the ruins of Cástulo as one of the greatest discoveries of the year, alongside the ‘Terracota Army’ in Xian (China), among some other.
Ancient civilisations settled in this region in order to exploit the rich natural resources: lead and silver. The mining industry developed the local commerce and the population since the beginnings of the 19th century. Mining exploitations brought national and international migrants to Linares. Likewise the blues was for slaves in the States, the ‘tarantas’ became the kind of flamenco music and cultural channel of self-expression for miners and for the city itself.
However, little remains of this period. Many of the archaeological remains were stolen while the authorities turned a blind eye. And there’s a lack of tourist promotion of the mines and their surroundings if one compares it with the attention received by ‘masias’ and other country houses across Spain…
Yet, centenary, olive trees standstill. Hordes of sentinels looking after the landscape. Hills’ ringlets brushed by gigantic fingers. Enviable under the warm sun of winter.