The Benedictine Sorde Abbey in the village Sorde-l’Abbaye was founded at the end of the 10th century on the banks of the Gave d’Oloron river. This remarkable architectural ensemble overlooks a natural setting that is now protected.
The abbot’s residence from the 14th and 15th centuries was built on the remains of a Roman villa (3rd- 6th centuries). Currently being restored, the building is open to the public during the National Archaeology Days and European Heritage Days: tour of the thermal baths and ancient mosaics.
The monastery buildings were rebuilt at the end of the 17th century. They are open to the public from March to November.The abbey church's the tympanum, decorative capitals, Romanesque period mosaics and an impressive 18th century marble high altar are some of the most interesting works. A miniature model shows what the abbey looked like before it was last destroyed.
Sorde Abbey is listed as an Historic Monument and has been included in UNESCO’s World Heritage List as part of the Pilgrim’s Route in France to Santiago de Compostela.References:
The castle of La Iruela, small but astonishing, is located on the top of a steep crag in Sierra de Cazorla, Segura y Las Villas Natural Park. From the castle, impressive views of the surrounding area and of the town can be enjoyed.
The keep dates from the Christian era. It has a square base and small dimensions and is located at the highest part of the crag.
There are some other enclosures within the tower that create a small alcázar which is difficult to access.
In a lower area of the castle, protected with defensive remains of rammed earth and irregular masonry, is an old Muslim farmstead.
After a recent restoration, an open-air theater has been built on La Iruela castle enclosure. This theater is a tribute to the Greek and Classic Eras and holds various artistic and cultural shows throughout the year.
The first traces of human activity in La Iruela area are dated from the Copper Age. An intense occupation continued until the Bronze Age.
Originally, La Iruela (like Cazorla) was a modest farmstead. From the 11th century, a wall and a small fortress were built on the hill to protect the farmers.
Around 1231, don Rodrigo Ximénez de Rada, Archbishop of Toledo, conquered La Iruela and made it part of the Adelantamiento de Cazorla. Over the Muslim fortress, the current fortress was built.
Once the military use of the fortress ended, it was used as cemetery.