In the heart of the Peninsula, under the gaze of the monument to the Miner which rises up from its heart, is Puertollano. The Gateway to the Alcudia Valley is a growing city of over fifty thousand inhabitants. Its historical, late mediaeval centre and the later mining legacy make up a Puertollano of a thousand and one nuances.
The climate, typical of La Mancha and of the strategic location it occupies, the flavours in dishes inherited from the shepherding lifestyle, such as tiznao (salted cod with vegetables) and tumbalobos (a spicy tomato sauce), and the hospitable people make Puertollano a place that welcomes you when you arrive and stays with you in the memory.
A HOMAGE TO PEDRO ALMODOVAR
The Pedro Almodovar Municipal Auditorium is the flagship of the cultural life of Puertollano. Here, the Castilla-La Mancha Theatre Festival is held and was the venue for the world premiere of the film “Volver” by the famous Manchego director.
The different phases of its growth of the city can be seen on its skin: the late mediaeval city centre around Our Lady of La Asuncion, the extension towards the magnificent Paseo de San Gregorio, the growth of the mining neighbourhoods at the foot of the hills of San Agustin, San Sebastian and Santa Ana with the coming of the coal fever and, finally, today’s Puertollano with its important service sector.
The industrial legacy of mining, today largely disappeared, can be seen again in the Museum of Mining, the “La Central” Pavilion and the remodelled Terri Park, an area for walking and relaxing. But Puertollano’s most emblematic monument is the Fuente Agria, or Sour Fountain, a spring of mining-medicinal water in the gardens of Paseo de San Gregorio. According to the legend, if you drink its water, you will become a native of Puertollano.
The hermitages of La Soledad and the Virgin of Gracia, and the Church of La Asuncion, dating back to the 16th century, grace the streets with symbols of the religious history of Puertollano and are unmissable visits to discover the city.
Puertollano is one of the best communicated cities in Spain, with the AVE/Renfe Puertollano railway station. Thanks to the 1992 Universal Exposition of Seville, the AVE high-speed train came to Puertollano, guaranteeing communications with other provinces.
Furthermore, it also has seven city bus routes and two minibus routes which cover the whole city so that you don’t miss anything.
The Valle de Alcudia Natural Park and the Dehesa Boyal will reveal to you the natural treasures of this place. One of the most interesting activities is to watch the belling of the deer, the mating period when the male deer compete to win the territory where the females graze. The finest examples of the deer can be seen at dawn and at sunset. And while we are out in the woods, take advantage to pick field mushrooms and learn about all of the different varieties to be found here.
If you are a lover of open-air sports, you will find all of the natural resources you need in Puertollano. Take a mountain bike and explore the special routes or try rock climbing.
Puertollano is one of the best equipped cities in the area as regards culture and leisure, thanks especially to the Municipal Museum, the Museum of Mining and the Open Air Sculpture Museum, an urban walk taking in different sculptures located in pedestrian areas of the city. This panorama is completed at nightfall with an ample offer of nightlife in the bars, pubs and cafeterias of the city.
Dishes with very basic ingredients are transformed into the succulent delicacies that make up traditional Puertollano gastronomy. No one should leave the city without calling in at one of its traditional bars or taverns and trying the migas (breadcrumbs prepared with olive oil, sausages and vegetables), gachas de harina de pitos (a kind of porridge), tiznao (cod with onion and red peppers), lamb stew and tumbalobos (a side dish of breadcrumbs and tomato). A pleasant surprise for the palate in the form of recipes deeply rooted in these lands, many of which you can enjoy as a tapa.
Call in at the small traditional shops in the city centre or at the covered market and take away the essence of Puertollano, a bottle of mistela, a local liqueur, or some of the local sweets from the small pastry shops offering traditional Puertollano products such as mantecado shortbread, fritters, mostillo (sweet concentrated grape juice), pestiños (fried pastries with honey) and perrunillas de manteca (a type of shortbread biscuit).
Local craft shops offer the typical fired earthenware pots which are used to keep the chorizo in oil and the cantarilla, the traditional jug used to hold agua agria, or sour water. Embossed leather and wood carvings are also traditional in the area.