Seville Province - Pilas

PILAS

by Saskia Mier

Pilas had a fast growing pottery trade that came about after the Romans settled in the area. It has about 14, 000m inhabitants.

HISTORY

The first documents on Pilas are based on the texts of the Roman writer, Plinio El Viejo, who described the importance of the settlement within the Roman Empire for its highly appreciated oil exportation. During Roman domination, Pilas belonged to the Convento Jurídico Hispalense, although the definitive formation of the present nucleus was defined by the Moors, around an almohade that is conserved at the present time inside the Ermita de Belén.

In 1248, Alfonso X changes the municipal name. During the centuries after the Re-conquest, the population increased rapidly, thus, formalized in the fifteenth century. The fifteenth and sixteenth centuries experienced thriving trade, mainly in oil and ceramic tiles.

During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, Pilas was under the legal-administrative guardianship of the Order of Santiago. In addition to oil and tile trade, the business initiative of soap emerged and the first shipment of the product left Almondas de Pilas for America in 1502. In 1594, Pilas formed part of the Kingdom of Seville in the Axarafe. In the seventeenth century the great Baroque painter, Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, married Beatriz de Cabrera y Sotomayor.

During the twentieth century, Luis de Medina y Garvey inherited properties, industrialising them with Basque capital, from the family of his wife, Amelia de Vilallonga. Pilas later acquired an industrial character with business initiatives in olive oil, wine, timber, electricity, leather and soap (Jabón "Santa Amelia"), made from olive oil residues. Later the cultivation of cereals, tobacco and cotton were introduced.

THINGS TO SEE

Iglesia Parroquial Santa María la Mayor
The church was built in the eighteenth century on a former building by architect, Diego Antonio Díaz. The main Neoclassical altar is of the early twentieth century built by locals, however, between 1798 and 1799 Francisco de Acosta el Mozo, master carver of the Archbishopric of Seville, built an altarpiece for the church. The altarpiece later passed to the Convent of the Trinitarians of Seville in 1814. Located on Calle Santa María la Mayor.

Ermita de Nuestra Señora de Belén
The chapel was built on an ancient Arab Qubba, suggested to date to the eleventh century. Throughout its history it has undergone several modifications, with the last reform in the 1970s. Located in Plaza Belén.

Capilla del Sagrado Corazón de Jesús
The chapel was built in 1998. Located on Calle Magallanes.

Torres de Molino
The towers both date to the seventeenth century, characteristic of the Sevillian countryside. One is named Torre de Resinas and the other, Torre del Marqués de Castellón or "Los Carnevali". Located on Calle Alfonso X El Sabio and Calle Comandante Cuesta.

Jardines de Medina
Gardens designed inside the industrial premises of the old olive factory of the Medina Garvey family. It has a variety of vegetation and currently belongs to a factory of packaging, commercialisation and export of olives. Located on Calle Párroco Vicente Moya.

Archivo Fotográfico, Filmográfico y Sonoro
A photography exhibition with between 68,000-70,000 photographs and 800 hours of film material obtained as a result of donations, loans and purchases. It is split into three sections; photographic, film (in the form of films, videos, television documents, documentaries, recordings and reports) and sound (consisting of 200 audio files, radio recordings, video recorders, single discs, LP, Compac Disc, DVD, MP3 player, Pen Drive, MP4 and other digital formats). Located in Plaza Virgen de Belén.

Opening Times:
By appointment only.
Tel: 955 75 49 10

Biblioteca Municipal
Former agricultural complex that belonged to the Resina family, today it is the Municipal Library. Its vicinity, probably forming part of the same complex, still preserves an olive oil tower with ceramic tiles. Located on Calle Antonio Becerril.

Opening Times:
Monday-Friday, 08:00-15:00hrs and 16:30-20:30hrs (Adult Section)
Monday-Friday, 16:30-20:30hrs (Children's Section)
Tel: 954 75 12 66

Casa de Don Pedro
A nineteenth century manor house measuring more than 1000m², is the result of the union of several houses. Its first owner was Pedro Ruíz Prieto. It was acquired by the Town Hall in 1983 and was used as a girl's school for more than five decades. Today it is a multipurpose centre. Located on Calle Pineda.

Parque Municipal
The municipal park measures 60,00m² and was inaugurated in 1987. It contains more than 130 species of trees and shrubs, two great lakes, a creek, playgrounds, an aviary and other spaces for animals. Located in Plaza Isabel II.

Opening Times:
Monday-Friday, 17:00-22:00hrs.
Saturday and Sunday, 09:00-14:00hrs and 17:00-22:00hrs.

Seminario Menor
Built by architect, José María Barquín Barón from 1957 and was inaugurated in 1961. The functional seminary housed a Spiritual House before becoming a hotel complex in 1992. It currently houses a high school and a tourist residential complex, El Lantana Garden, as well as garden areas, sports area, swimming pool, restaurant and different rooms and lounges for events. Located on Avenida Pío XII.

THINGS TO SEE OUTSIDE THE VILLAGE 

Arroyo de Pilas
The stream is included within the Natural Space of Doñana for being an ecological corridor between it and Sierra Morena. It measures 12km where up to 50 plant varieties and a much higher number of animals have been found, of which only 42 are bird species. It is tributary of the Guadiamar River, with its birth located in Manzanilla (Huelva). Located west of Pilas, on the A-474.

GASTRONOMY

Typical dishes to try in Pilas are tostón (toast with sardines), aliño (vegetable salad) aceitunas (local olives), habas refritas (refried broad beans), coquinas con tomate, refritas, en salsa, al vapour (cockles in tomato, refried, in sauce or steamed), sopa de tomate (tomato soup), sopa de ajo (garlic soup), pollo con arroz (chicken with rice), conejo en salsa y conejo en caldereta (rabbit), sardinas con tomate (sardine sin tomato) and atún con tomate (tuna in tomato).

FESTIVALS

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

Carnaval
Celebrated in February.

Semana Santa
Holy Week.

Feria Medieval
Medieval festival celebrated in Spring.

Feria
Celebrated end of June.

Feria de la Cultura
Celebrated the first week of September.

Pilas en Corto
Celebrated in October.

Feria Oulet
Celebrated in December.

Mercado Medieval y Navideño
Medieval and Christmas market celebrated at the beginning of December.

NEXT PLACES

The next villages to Pilas are Hinojos, Aznalcázar, Villamanrique de la Condesa and Carrión de los Céspedes.

 

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