El recreo de Castilla o Huerta de las Infantas

RECREO DE CASTILLA

START DATE:  16th century

 
Huerto de las Infantas, also known as Recreo de Castilla, is a garden perched on the edge of the Adarve wall, just below Priego's castle. References to its existence have been found since mid-16th century. It was reopened as a public park in June 2013 after a being renovated, the results of which created an area of spectacular beauty in the town's historic centre. 

The first written reference of this park dates back to 1550, appearing in a sales contract, with the name Huerta de las Infantas, found under the wall-walk's old door to this villa. Until 1857, this land was acquired by Antonio Castilla, who built a house on it. In the following decades, this gentleman and his inheritors (the Castilla Abril and Castilla Bermúdez Cañete families) transformed the land into a romantic garden based on greenery and water features. The numerous family would frequent the garden to relax or hold private fiestas. The pond was a special feature with water from the Fuente de Rey, which in years gone by was powered by 5 mills in the area.

 In 1948, some local folk organised concerts similar to those at Granada's Music Festival held in the gardens of the Alhambra. Seeking a decent enclosure to hold the event, they asked permission from the garden's owner, Álvaro Castilla Abril. The first concert took place during the night of 1 September 1948 and was the origin of the current International Festival of Music, Theatre and Dance. The festival was held there until 1957; during those years Huerto de las Infantas appeared on the Festival posters and programmes.

During the last fifty years it has been called Recreo de Castilla, adopting the owners' surname. However, locally the original name "Huerto" or "Huerta de la Infantas" remains to be used.

 Legend surrounding secret passageways and hidden treasures intermingle with reality in many of Priego's areas (la Joya or el Adarve wall-walk to name a few); inescapable when the combination of travertine, water and vegetation works its magic.