The town of Iznájar is made up of numerous villages and rural scattered settlements, which constitute the most characteristic aspect of its landscape and one of the most representative features of its population. Far from concentrating in the urban center, the population is dispersed throughout the 137.6 km2 of the municipal area.
Some archaeological evidence indicates that many of these places were already inhabited in antiquity, with a significant population during the Iberian and Roman periods. However, the consolidation of these villages occurred in the Middle Ages, around the first conquered territories, almost always near watering holes or river channels, where small rustic constructions were growing, serving as shelters for workers in agricultural exploitations.
In the Modern Age (18th and 19th centuries), other villages and scattered settlements sprouted, their appearance being driven by the need to locate housing in the physical environment where subsistence methods (agriculture and livestock) were present, and especially by socio-economic conditions related to land ownership (smallholdings).
Today, one of the great riches of the municipal area of Iznájar is constituted by its villages, which not only contribute to landscape values but are also an expression of traditional customs, craftsmanship, and popular architecture.
The municipal area of Iznájar is located at the southern end of the province, in the mountainous region of the Subbética Cordobesa, bordering the provinces of Málaga and Granada.
At the end of the sixties, as a consequence of the construction of the reservoir, which bears its name and constitutes the largest inland water mass in Andalusia, a large part of its municipal area was submerged under its waters.
The reservoir crosses the extensive municipal area in parallel through its central part, distributing the villages into two zones.
In the northern part: El Higueral, Cierzos y Cabreras, Arroyo de Priego, Solerche, Jaramillo, Los Juncares, La Celada, Lorite, and La Hoz.
In the southern zone: Fuente del Conde, Ventorros de Balerma, El Adelantado, Las Chozas, Valenzuela y Llanadas, Corona-Algaida y Gata, Los Concejos, Alarconas y Antorchas, Montes Claros y Arroyo del Cerezo.
Intensive olive cultivation is the main economic activity, and possibilities for tourist development are emerging due to the special cultural and heritage richness that each of the villages possesses with its own traditions, customs, and history.
In the municipality of Iznájar, water is a constant, and the origin of most of its villages is found along river channels or near the numerous watering holes or springs existing in the municipal area.
The presence of water allows the existence of a rich ecosystem, highlighting abundant flora with a wide variety of native plants and typical forest and Mediterranean crop species such as chickweed, plantain, salsify, lily, rosemary, saffron, orchids, daisies, and water lilies, as well as oak, holm oak, gorses, almond trees, pomegranates, fig trees, poplars, and reed beds, among others.
In the villages, the existence of numerous public fountains and washing places evokes not too distant times when these places were reserved points and obligatory meeting spots for women who came to fetch water and wash clothes. Together with watering holes and irrigation channels, they represent the memory of human activities that are lost in the memory of our time, having fallen into disuse, providing evidence of the development of very important agricultural and social activities from an ethnographic perspective.