Seville Province - Las Cabezas de San Juan

Las Cabezas de San Juan. © Michelle Chaplow
Las Cabezas de San Juan.

LAS CABEZAS DE SAN JUAN

by Saskia Mier

Las Cabezas de San Juan overlooks the Guadalquivir wetlands and the Doñana Natural Park to the east. The town was the scene for the 1820 rebellion, led by General Riego, against Fernando VII's monarchy. Just outside Las Cabezas de San Juan is the luxurious Hacienda de San Rafael, a former olive farm with a beautiful patio filled with bright bougainvillaea (please see our accommodation section). It has about 16, 500 inhabitants.

HISTORY

The first settlements date back to prehistoric times due to the archaeological remains found in the area. For some historians it is the area of settlement of an Iberian town called Ugia, named by Ptolemy.

It was also populated during the Roman period and its current denomination comes from the time of Al-Andalus, in which it was known as Atalaya de Montújar or Montufar. Due to its raised up setting, it was named Las Cabezas.

The Christian conquest was carried out by Fernando III from 1250-1255. It is suggested the second part of the name comes from the custody and defence for the Order of San Juan.

During the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries it acquired great importance as a border area between Christians and Moors. During the reign of Carlos II, the town was sold to, Don Francisco Joseph de Villavicencio, Count of Cañete, who demolished part of the castle to build his palace.

In 1821 he became famous because the pronouncement of General Rafael de Riego Núñez was enacted, promulgating the Constitution of 1812. It was the beginning of a series of revolutionary uprisings in various cities. The Cortes of 1821 rewarded the town a title, however, with the fall of these Cortes and the arrival of the Absolutist Regime, the Decree was annulled, which did not come into force.

THINGS TO SEE

Ayuntamiento
The current consistorial building was built in 2003, occupying the same plot where the previous Town Hall stood, constructed by the architect, Humberto Girón. Documents from the year 1450 to the present day are preserved in their Municipal Historical Archives. The most important document is the book of Chapter Acts of 1820, which includes the Rise of General Irrigation, an important chapter for national history. You can also appreciate the collection of archaeological remains donated by local residents and found in the different archaeological surveys conducted in the municipality. Located in Plaza de la Constitución.

Capilla del Cautivo
The chapel was built in 1993 on land donated by the Town Hall, consecrated in 2002 by Cardinal Carlos Amigo Vallejo. This building is characterised by having the steeple as three bodies exempt to the main building of the chapel. Located on Calle Virgen de la Cabeza.

Casa de la Cultura
A neoclassical building built on the foundation of an old abattoir. A plaque in the hall indicates that, Paco Rabal, intervened in the inauguration of this building. It houses the municipal library, auditoriums, exhibitions and music school. Located on Calle Salvador Allende.

Opening Times:

Monday-Friday, 10:00h-14:00hrs and 17:00h-20:30hrs.

Tel: 955 87 23 86

Casa Valcárcel
Once a family house with patio, composed from the aesthetic and constructive principles of popular Baroque architecture, it currently municipal property, has been restored as Casa de Museo de la Ciudad (museum).

Opening Times:
Monday-Friday, 08:00-15:00hrs
Tel: 607 65 83 95

Convento Santa Ángela de la Cruz
The location of the convent was ideal for its charitable functions, but for visiting makes it difficult to park because of the narrowness of the streets. It was founded by the Counts of Villacreces in 1943 and was originally the Palace of the Zuleta. Located on Calle Vicente Aleixandre.

Jardines de Juan Bernabé Britto
The gardens were dedicated to the memory of, Juan Bernabé Britto, who created many of the best carvings and religious paintings of Las Cabezas de San Juan, where he was born and lived in the early twentieth century. It is equipped with benches, mosaics, shade and a churrería. Inside it has 8000m² and surprisingly there is no space in the gardens dedicated to children. At Christmas, it is converted into a living grotto. Located on Avenida Ancha.

Parroquia de San Roque
The chapel was built in the seventeenth century, between 1955 and 1967, on the site of a previous hermitage. Located in Plaza Mártires del Pueblo.

THINGS TO SEE OUTSIDE THE VILLAGE

Cerro Mariana
In 1998, for the construction of a public park, archaeological actions were carried out in the upper part of the hill. Remains were found from the fifth century A.C to the eighth century A.C. In the lower part of the hill was a Roman Necropolis, among the many archaeological pieces found were two limestone lions and two sedentary ladies. Located south of Las Cabezas de San Juan, off the A-471.

NATURAL AREAS

La Laguna del Taraje
The lagoon is part of the group that make up the Endouroic Complex of Lebrija, located between the external zones of the Betic Cordilleras and the sedimentary units of the Guadalquivir Valley. All these lagoons are on a private estate. It is the ideal place for keen birdwatchers, declared as Special Protection for Birds (ZEPA). The characteristics make this Natural Reserve a protected area by UNESCO in 2009. Located southwest of Las Cabezas de San Juan.

GASTRONOMY

Dishes to try in Las Cabezas de San Juan include lomo en manteca (pork), gazpacho, sopa de tomate (tomato soup), potaje con berza (kale stew), habas heladas (broad beans), conejo en salsa (stewed rabbit), espárragos revueltos (asparagus scrambled eggs) and caracoles (snails). Sweets incude roscos amarillos con aguardientes (liquor pastries), arroz con leche (rice pudding) and torrijas (eggy bread).

FESTIVALS

Cabalgata Reyes Magos
Three Kings procession celebrated on the evening of 5 January.

Día de Andalucía
Celebrated the 28 Febuary.

Carnaval
Celebrated in February.

Semana Santa
Holy Week.

Romería en Honor a San Isidro
Celebrated the end of May.

Fiestas en Honor a San Juan Bautista
Celebrated the 24 June.

Feria
Celebrated the 12-16 September.

Cross Anual de Riego
Date changes every year.

Carreras de Galgos Atrailladas
Greyhound racing. Date changes every year.

NEXT PLACES

The next villages to Las Cabezas de San Juan are Lebrija, El Cuervo de Sevilla and Los Palacios y Villafranca.

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