Zahorí is a project about culture, other knowledges and the value of water in rural Spain.

The title Zahorí takes its name from the dowser, who employs twigs to look for subterranean waters. Etymologically, the word derives from  Hispanic Arab 'zuhari'. Dowsing as a practice is rejected by both religion and science but it is still widely used in rural areas in Spain. 

The Virgen de la Alcantarilla is the saint patron protector of Belalcázar. Whereas the present meaning of 'alcantarilla' is drainage, the word 'alcantar' comes from berber meaning bridge.  Her name bears reference to the site where she was seen in the XIII century, next to the main bridge over the Zújar river, a very important source of water in the area of Belalcázar. These images were taken during the annual celebration (romería), which takes place in April and which involves taking the statue out of the church and across the town and country side, with special attention to the image of the Virgin not to get wet when crossing the river. 

antonio en el campo copy.jpg

Antonio can teach others how to do dowsing, although dowsing is considered simultaneously a transferrable and non-transferrable skill. 

antonio ensena a almudena.jpg

The 'noria' is a mechanical system of dented metal wheels which was used to pump water up from the wells. Mules would be tied to the upper wheel and made to go round in circles.

In most farms the 'norias' have been replaced by a solar powered or electric pump.  

Large clay or cement containers were used to store water, olive oil and other liquids. Vats could be repaired using clay and metal stitches. 

Near Andrés farm there is a roman bath ruin which is made of a seating and changing area, a terrace and a bath.


The water for the pool comes from a spring named Guadiana, which is a sub-spring of the main river Zújar. 

Balneario romano.jpg
la lavanderia del pueblo.jpg

This is Belalcázar's old public laundry where locals (mainly women) used to gather to wash their clothes and socialise. 

Farmers use a traditional method for cultivating vegetables which is called 'de secano' and which uses the moisture trapped in the soil, minimising the use of water. 

This video addresses water as source of life and culture, exploring its musicality, its movement and its generative and connective capacities. 

The Spanish spoken in the area of Belalcázar is particular because of its accent, musicality, inflections and abbreviations, which are untranslatable. The text below is a transcript of some of the voices that can be heard in the video. They all relate to water, Antonio explaining how to do dowsing and to interpret the signs of the dowsing stick, how to get water from the well to give to the animals, how to plant seeds so they would need less water and finally a conversation in a Roman bath ruin, with Andrés explaining how Romans used to sunbathe in the terrace and bathe in the baths underneath.  


Pues esto se coge las varillas y se aprieta sobre, haciendo fuerza pa’ poder buscar

Hay que andar p’arriba, p’abajo, pa’ un lado, pa’ otro, hasta que empieza a mover y cuando empieza a moverse, a hacer señales, es que hay una corriente de agua


Por aquí no, por el lado derecho, Almudena


Mira esta bien eso


Mira, a que es bonito eso


Y ya riegas tú tus arboles y eso

como música

hay que sacar así, para darle agua a las mulas


Ven aquí

vamos pa’lla

ponte delante

venga, va una a la orilla y van todas pa’lla




Esto sale de su vaina

estas son las habas, hay que sembrarlas


Se subían arriba pa’ tomar el sol,

se bañaban aquí