Seville Province - Constantina

Pretty whitewashed houses adorned with bougainvillea
Pretty whitewashed houses adorned with bougainvillea.

CONSTANTINA

Constantina is the largest town in the Sierra Norte de Sevilla Natural Park. Originally a Celtic settlement and an important Roman town, it has lots of medieval character particularly in the maze of cobbled streets in Barrio La Morería on the hill topped by a ruined Moorish castle. It has about 6700 inhabitants.

HISTORY

The origin of Constantina is linked to the exploitation of copper and silver mines in its vicinity. Sources speak of a primitive occupation by the Celts of Bethlehem and archaeology testifies the commercial contact with Phoenicians and the Punic presence.

Numerous documents and remains have been found confirming a way of life during the Moorish reign. At this stage it was the centre of the Cora de Firrish.

It was later Christianized by the Holy King, Fernando III, who was given the keys to his castle in 1247, although a Moorish population was preserved in Carmona after the conquest of Seville.

The castle was recovered by the royal forces of Isabella La Catolica in 1478 and since then, Constantina developed itself as a royal village, linked to the Lordship of Seville. This allowed it to participate in the Discovery of America and in commercial activities such as exportation of wines and spirits towards the Indies.

In 1810 Constantina suffered the invasion of the French army, after a remarkable confrontation that took place in the streets of the village, killing almost three hundred locals. After two years of occupation, Constantina was free in 1812.

King Alfonso XIII gave it village title in 1916 and boomed economically and demographically between the years 1940 and 1950 due to intense cattle activity, agriculture, industrial activity and commercial activity.

THINGS TO SEE

Barrio de la Morería
The Barrio de la Morería is a part of Constantina which still preserves to a large extent, the Moorish construction and layout, being the most primitive area of the village.

Iglesia Parroquial de Santa María de la Encarnación
The Mudejar Sevillian style church was built initially during the second half of the fifteenth century. The Civil War caused devastation within the church, destroying the altarpiece by Juan de Oviedo. It was later restored in 1979 and 1980. The highlight of this building is the Renaissance tower, measuring 50m in height built by Hernán Ruiz. Located in Plaza de Llano del Sol.

Castillo
The Arab Castle defended the north-south axis towards Seville and reinforced the defensive line of Cora de Firrish. It sits on the remains of a previous Roman castrum. The Castle was declared of Cultural Interest in 1985, therefore allowing certain reformations to be done. On 10 March 2010, the Torre del Homenaje (tower) that guarded the entrance of the Castle collapsed due to heavy rainfall. In September 2010, the Castle underwent restoration, and again in 2013 and 2014. Located Prolongación Calle Venero.

Monumento al Sagrado Corazón de Jesús
The monument was built in 1954 as part of the program designed in the past by the Cardinal of Seville, Pedro Segura y Sáez, whose eagerness to promote devotion to the Sagrado Corazón de Jesús (Sacred Heart of Jesus) led to many monuments being built in his honour. Located next to the Castle.

Iglesia de San Juan de Dios
The church dates to the eighteenth century with a simple interpretation of the Sevillian Baroque style, now a retirement home. Located on Calle Vinagra.

Ermita de Nuestro Padre Jesús
The chapel dates to the eighteenth century, built around 1716 and of Sevillian Baroque style. Located on Calle Campo Bajo.
 
Claustro del Antiguo Convento del Tardón
Previously a Basilian monk nursing home that was converted to a private house. It consists of an interior courtyard with gallery of semicircular arches, supported by Tuscan columns. Located on Calle Lorenzo Irisarri.
 
Hospedería-Monasterio Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles "La Carlina"
Originally a humble 'cortijo' with a vineyard, it changed radically in the early fifties, when it was brought by Léon Degrelle, politician and militant, exiled in Spain after World War II, built a palace in 1952 for his personal use, as well as other buildings. Degrelle endowed the house with important works of art and created wonderful gardens with fourteen fountains, decorated with arabesque tiles and Sevillian ceramics. In the sixties, the property was seized, passing through different hands, eventually abandoned. It eventually was handed over to the Town Hall and restoration of the mansion into lodges lasted from 2004 to 2008. The architect, Luis Pérez-Tennessa, was able to combine old elements with the new. In 2008, the community of Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles left its old monastery to occupy the new one on the estate of La Carlina. Located on Calle Pablo Iglesias.
 
Anís La Violetera (Museum)
A distillery dedicated to the artisan production of aniseed and liqueurs, as well as their specialty known as "crema de guindas" (cherry cream). Anís La Violetera is a company with a tradition that dates back to the sixteenth century. It also acts as a museum, explaining the production of their products as well as the history behind them. Guided tours last 45 minutes. Located on Calle Mentidero.
Opening Times:
Monday-Friday, 10:00-14:00hrs and 17:00-20:30hrs.
Saturday, 10:00-14:00hrs.
Price: 2.00 euros approx.
Tel: 955 88 07 63
 
Ruinas de la Ermita de Nuestra Señora de la Hiedra
The chapel was built in 1570. It is now completely ruined. Located south west of Constantina.
 
Ermita de Nuestra Señora del Robledo
The construction of this chapel was done over several stages. Its' most primitive part responds to the Mudejar style and at the beginning of the eighteenth century it was transformed with Baroque Sevillian style. Located 2km from Constantina on the A-3301 to Las Navas de la Concepción.
 
Los Pozos de la Nieve
Pozos de Nieve meaning 'wells of ice', appropriately named due to the presence of two wells where ice was kept vaulted in 1760-1761. A shield of Seville appears dated 1696, as these wells initially belonged to Seville, and during the reign of Carlos II those wells were brought with their pools and water in 1684. Later given the privilege to store ice in 1694 and ordered to do work in 1699. The ice was transported during the night, sold in Seville, and the surplus was taken to the neighbouring towns and sold at a cheaper price. The building, now privately owned, has been restored as a rural accommodation with great respect for its original style and tradition. Located 2km north of Constantina, on the A-455.
 
Jardín Botánico El Robledo
A botanical garden where typical plants of the Mediterranean are represented, the adaptations of these species to the climate are explained, as well as the importance that the rivers have in a region where water is a scarce commodity. The itinerary to be followed by the visitor simulates an ascent from the lower parts of Sierra Morena. This way, the route begins among the olive trees, rocks and holm oaks, until arriving at the plants adapted to live in the cracks of the rocks. Finally, it descends to the course of a stream that houses other species. Located on the A-452 to El Pedroso, km1.
 
Opening Times:
Tuesday-Friday, 10:00-14:00hrs.
Saturday, 10:00-14:00hrs and 15:00-17:00hrs.
Sunday, 10:00-14:00hrs.
Price: Free
Tel: 697 95 52 51

COUNTRYSIDE WALKS

A wide network of livestock routes runs through the area of Constantina, making it an ideal location for activities such as mountain biking, horse riding and hiking. Walking routes include, "Los Castañares", "Molino del Corcho", "Camino de la Jurdana" and "Cerro Hierro".
 

NATURAL MONUMENT

North of Constantina is the Cerro del Hierro Natural Monument, a geologically interesting site of a former iron (hierro) mine.

GASTRONOMY

Dishes worth trying in Constantina include a wide variety of setas (wild mushrooms), either roasted, grilled or in sauce, as well as migas (fried bread) which is very typical in winter with game meats. Many dishes will include local olive oil from the Sociedad Cooperativa Agropecuaria Andaluza Virgen del Robledo and best accompanied by wines produced in the area from vineyards such as Bodegas Fuente Reina and Bodega "La Margarita".

FESTIVALS

Carnaval
Celebrated in Febuary.

Fiesta del Melón
Celebrated at the beginning of July.

Velá de Santa Ana
Celebrated 25 and 26 July.

Virgen del Robledo
Celebrated 30 July.

Feria
Celebrated last week of August.

Velá del Calvario
Celebrated in August.

Romería de la Patrona
Pilgrimage celebrated last Sunday of September.

Jornadas Micológicas
Celebrated at the beginning of November.

LOCATION

Constantina is located 88km from Seville. To get there, take the A-4 east leaving Seville. Take exit 506 onto the A-457 north towards Lora del Rio. At the third roundabout, take the 2nd exit onto the A-431, bearing right onto the A-455. Continue on until you reach Constantina.


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