Seville Province - Almaden de la Plata

ALMADÉN DE LA PLATA

By Saskia Mier

Almadén de la Plata is set within the Comarca Sierra Norte of the Seville province, to the west of Cazalla de la Sierra. It has about 1500 inhabitants.

HISTORY

Almadén de la Plata has been populated since the final Neolithic period. During the Chalcolithic period (3000-2000 BC), the municipality experienced an important population growth.

A Necropolis (now museum of La Traviesa) dates to the Bronze Age (1700-1500 BC) along with a nearby copper mine. Discoveries of two Tartesic gravestones date back to the Bronze Age to the beginning of the Iron Age. These gravestones, together with a cremation burial pit excavated in the megalithic complex Tholos Palace III, is the only tangible archaeological record to make speculations on the native, indigenous society before the entrance into history.

The origin dates back to Roman times, a small settlement whose main source of wealth came from the work of marble quarries, therefore called, Pagus Marmorarius, which translated from Latin means "village of marbles". Mines of iron, copper and silver existed due to the detection of slag and minerals in local archaeological sites.

During the Moorish period, it was called, Al-Medín Balat, meaning "mines of the road", therefore owing its name to the importance of its old mines, especially of marble and silverware.

The Knights of the Order of Santiago conquered Al-Medín Balat from the Moors. After the re-conquest, Fernando III of Castile granted its village title.

THINGS TO SEE

Torre de Reloj (Antiguo Casa Consistorial)
The clock tower stands above the previous Town Hall built in the fifteenth century as a hospital known as "Hospital de los Ángeles" (Hospital of the Angels), later becoming a chapel in the seventeenth century. In 1905, the neo-Mudejar style clock tower was built standing 27 meters in height. At present it houses municipal offices. Located in Plaza de la Constitución.

Castillo Medieval (Ayuntamiento)
The Town Hall is built on the ruins of a medieval castle dating to the fourteenth century. The castle was used to protect a mine, where today stands Iglesia Santa María de Gracia. The medieval castle was divided in several parts; Torre del Homenaje, Torres de Flanqueo, El "Aljibe" o "Pozo" and La Muralla. Along with other castles in the area, the "Banda Gallega" protected the Kingdom of Sevillefrom the Portuguese and other possible invaders, as well as providing security to the traders of the Silver Route. In the eighteenth century part of the remains of the castle were used to build a municipal warehouse to store grain. In the twentieth century, part of the castle's land was sold and private houses were constructed. In 1997 the part of the castle that was still of municipal property was reformed. Today, remains of the castle are preserved as well as part of the Torre del Homenaje with the original door and part of the Torre del Cubo. Located in Plaza de la Constitución.

Iglesia de Santa María de Gracia
The church dates to the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. Renaissance style and Baroque decoration, built by, Vermondo Resta and Hernán Ruiz II. On 4 January 1953, it suffered a very serious fire that destroyed some of its artistic treasures, such as the Baroque altar, a picture of the Divina Pastora, an image of the Virgen del Rosario, and a few others. The church was restored in 2002. Located on Calle Iglesia.

Plaza de Toros
The bullring was inaugurated on 28 August 1994, and originally only had half a public stand until 2010, where the other half was added. It is used for 'novilladas' and 'rejoneo' (amateur and horse-back bullfighting), as well as equestrian events. Located in Barriada el Crucero.

COUNTRYSIDE WALKS

Almadén de la Plata offers an extensive network of trails and viewpoints throughout the area, quietly surrounded by meadows and typical Mediterranean land, ideal for cycling, riding and walking. The places and natural landscapes worth a visit are; El Berrocal (natural reserve), Los Covachos(Neolithic site and ancient Roman quarries), La Bordalla (viewpoint at a summit), La Traviesa(archeological site, viewpoint and astronomical centre), El Calvario (crosses on the Camino de Santiago and a viewpoint), Ribera de Cala (recreational area of ​​Divina Pastora pilgrimage), Arroyo de Las Calzadillas (El Chorro waterfalls), Arroyo Of GargantafríaArroyo de la Mojonera (Las Hoyas), and Río Viar. Most of these places are accessible on foot from Almadén de la Plata.

GASTRONOMY

The gastronomy is based on local products of the area such as game (rabbit, partridge, pigeon, venison etc), typically eaten in stews, as well as Iberican pork which alone offers a variety of dishes. Other popular dishes include migas molineras (fried bread with fried eggs and chorizo) and caldillo de Almadén (vegetables with several cuts of pork). Sweet treats include melojas, pestiños, boyas (honey pastries) as well as, buñuelos (sugared dumplings) and rebanadas (eggy bread).

FESTIVALS

Carnaval
Celebrated in Febuary.

Feria del Jamon
'Jamon' fair celebrated on the third weekend of March.

Fiesta de los Judas
Celebrated on Resurrection Sunday. Stuffed mannequins are made and placed around the village.

Romería en Honor a Nuestra Divina Pastora
Pilgrimage celebrated the third weekend of May.

Fiesta del Pirulito
To welcome the summer, celebrated the weekend before San Juan.

Semana Cultural
Cultural week of activities, performance etc celebrated during July.

Fiestas en Honor a Nuestra Señora la Virgen de Gracia
Celebrated the first Saturday of August.

Feria de Agosto
Annual summer fair celebrated the week of the 15 August.

Cristo del Crucero
Celebrated the Saturday before the 14 September.

Feria Cinegética
A wild game and fishing fair celebrated the last Sunday of September.

Belén Viviente
Live nativity on the weekends during December.

LOCATION

Almadén de la Plata is located 69km from Seville. To get there, take the SE-30 west leaving Seville and onto the E-803, A66, Autovía Ruta de la Plata direction Portugal/Merida. Take exit 765 onto the A-8175 and continue onto Almadén de la Plata.

 


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