The institution of the Hazas de Suerte is a legal-historical tradition unique in the Spanish State. Its origins date back to 1288 when King Sancho IV expelled the Muslims from Vejer and granted the new Christians settlers a series of lands (hazas) for cultivation.
In 1307, King Ferdinand IV awarded Alfonso Pérez de Guzmán and his successors, the future Dukes of Medina Sidonia, seigniorial jurisdiction over Vejer and its municipal area on the condition that they respected the people’s rights to the hazas. This respect lasted no more than 140 years because, in the fifteenth century, the current Duke of Medina Sidonia judged himself now to be lord and master of these lands and began to lease them out. Against that situation, the neighbours, led by Juan Relinque, began to protest. Juan Relinque, after obtaining a Royal warrant, brought a lawsuit against the Ducal House of Medina Sidonia.
In 1566, the Real Chancilleria of Granada resolved the lawsuit in favour of the neighbours of Vejer. From that moment on there would be an allocation of those communal lands every four years, coinciding with the leap years. This allocation of hazas among the neighbours of Vejer is carried out using two drums. One of them contains the names of all the neighbours with the right to benefit from the hazas' income. The other contains the 232 hazas now owned by the town of Vejer. When all the neighbours with the right to receive an income have received an allocation, a new register of inhabitants is created. This occurs every 36 or 40 years.
The Hazas are located along the entire municipal area of Vejer and are distributed over thirteen different areas or Partidos, occupying a total of 6,503.62 fanegas (Spanish land measure) or 3,489.80 hectares, with an average of 12.5 hectares per haza.
The Junta de Hazas is the body in charge of the management and control of the hazas. It is
presided over the Mayor of Vejer and is composed by the 17 elected members of the Town Council and 17 representatives of different social sectors.
Drive out of Vejer and take the road A-396 Medina – Vejer. Then, branch off to Benalup - Casas Viejas and you will get to the district of Cantarranas (kilometre 7). The itinerary on foot starts next to the church, on a way leading to the borough of Nájara. Walk along this way and, after going through a wind farm, you will be able to see the lands called “Hazas de Suerte”. Continue your way and turn right at the crossing. Go up a small ascent and and you will arrive to Nájara, go through it and walk until you find the road again. Walk approximately 2 kilometres and you will get to the starting point of this route again: The church of Cantarranas.
During your itinerary, you will see many species of trees: pine trees (Pinus halepensis), mastic trees (Pistacia lentiscus), holm oaks (Quercus ilex), cork oaks (Quercus suber L.), wild olive trees (Olea europaea var. Sylvestris) and plenty of citrus fruit trees. You will also find different kinds of brushes, especially arbutus (Arbutus unedo).
The most typical birds of this area are: the black-winged kites (Elanus caeruleus), the kestrels (Falco naumanni), the little bustards (Tetrax tetrax), the nightjars (Caprimulgus ruficollis), the bee-eaters (Merops apiaster), the European roller (Coracias garrulus), the cattle egrets (Bubulcus Ibis), the Egyptian vultures (Neophron percnopterus), the griffon vultures (Gyps vulvus) ,the black kites (Milvus migrans), the storks (Ciconia ciconia) and different species of eagles; the booted eagles (Hieraaetus pennatus), the Iberian imperial eagle (Aquila adalverti), the Bonelli’s eagle (Hieraaetus fasciatus) and the short-toed snake eagle (Circaetus gallicus).
LENGTH OF THE ROUTE: 7 KM APPROX.
DIFFICULTY LEVEL: LOW
SLOPE GRADE: INTERMEDIATE-LOW
TIME: 2 HOURS
START & END: CANTARRANAS
Places of interest
You can find this resting place and leisure zone at the beginning of this route.
Caves of Algar
These caves are apparently carved into the rock with the purpose of being protected from severe climatic conditions and possible attacks from the enemies.
Views of the countryside of Vejer
During the itinerary you can observe numerous cultivation fields belonging to the town of Vejer.
Hazas de Suerte
The Hazas de Suerte are lands with an elongated layout which occupy a surface area of 12.5 hectares each. Traditionally these lands were allocated among the neighbours, who had to cultivate the hazas themselves during the four years they had the right to benefit from them. From 1868 onwards, the people in charge of the cultivation of the hazas has been the asentado. He is a farmer who cultivates an haza de suerte by means of a rental agreement and who pays an income to the lucky neighbour during four years.
The hazas are farmed in an intensive way, a part of the haza being left fallow for a year. The most common crops are the wheat and the beet, but barley, broad beans and chickpeas are also sowed.