PALMA DEL RÍO
by Saskia Mier
Palma del Río is particularly stunning when the orange trees that line its street are out in flower and the fragrance of orange blossom fills the town. It has about 21,100 inhabitants.
It is known from archaeological remains that there was life in the city during the prehistoric era, with the first news provided by written sources dating from the Arab period, specifically the year 855. The then urban nucleus was called Balma, relatively small and territorially integrated into Itálica province.
The castle and wall were built during the eleventh and twelfth centuries, respectively, with the clear objective of protecting the town from increasingly frequent attacks by Christians. In the thirteenth century (year 1241), the final conquest of the municipality was led by troops commanded by Don Alonso, Infante de Molina, under the orders of his brother, King Fernando III. From this moment, the territory was under the administrative influence of the Council of Córdoba.
In the year 1342, it was donated by King Alfonso XI to Admiral Micer Egidio Boccanegra, First Lord of the town. The Black Death caused a significant reduction in population, a decline that was corrected by the Second Lord, Ambrosio Bocanegra, with the arrival of a Mudejar community from Gumiel (Burgos), becoming the largest community in Andalucía at the end of the fifteenth century. This increase in population was reinforced in the fifteenth century (year 1473) with the emigration of Jewish converts from Córdoba to Palma del Río. Both these and the Mudejar community were expelled from the territory in 1492. In 1888 the Queen, María Cristina de Habsburgo-Lorraine, granted Palma del Río the title of City.
THINGS TO SEE
The origin of this fortification dates to the High Middle Ages. In the twelfth century, the Almohads reinforced it and built a fortress to hold off attacks by Christian troops, who finally conquered the village in 1231. Although its structure derives from the period of Islamic domination, much of the primitive canvases were redone in the late medieval era, after the Christian conquest. Today, the castle has now almost disappeared, although the wall remains well conserved. Located in Mesa de San Pedro.
Palacio de Portocarrero
The Palace was built during the sixteenth century and opened with a plateresque style door and balcony out onto the Plaza del Cabildo. The Mudejar courtyards with a Renaissance influence feature semicircular arches and marble columns. This monument was also used as a warehouse for the Tercia, intended to collect tax in kind during the Modern Age.Today, it is the headquarters of the Municipal Museum. Located on Calle Cardenal Portocarrero.
The Municipal Museum was created by a plenary agreement in 1989 and has been in the Palacio de Portocarrero since 1995. The museum is split into four sections: Archeology, Ethnography, Art and Bullfighting. It consists of five permanent exhibition rooms devoted respectively to Prehistory, Antiquity, Middle Ages, Ancient Crafts and Artistic Funds. It also has a temporary exhibition hall and meeting room.
Monday and Tuesday, 10:00-14:00hrs.
Monday-Friday, 10:00-14:00hrs and 19:00-21:00hrs.
Tel: 957 64 58 83
Casa Museo Manuel Benítez "El Cordobés"
The Museum shows the life of the bullfighter Manuel Benítez "El Cordobés", an informative and entertaining attraction that enables visitorsto enjoy the contents and an experience that is the perfect finishing touch to a tourist route promoting the Valley of the Guadalquivir and Palma del Río. Located on Calle Ancha.
Monday-Friday, 10:00-14:00hrs and 16:30-18:30hrs.
Iglesia del Buen Suceso
The church was built in 1723 and was later destroyed during the Civil War. It remained closed until being used as an academy, and is currently occupied by the Brotherhood of the Holy Burial. Located on Calle Nueva.
Hospital de San Sebastián
During the low Middle Ages many brotherhoods and charitable hospitals flourished to care for the sick, the poor and the elderly who lived in poverty, and the Hospital of San Sebastián was one of them. It began its work at the beginning of the fifteenth century and the building has since evolved with different constructions of different styles. Located on Calle San Sebastián.
Convento de San Francisco
The Convent was founded by Pope Leo X in 1518 and remained active until the confiscation of Mendizábal at the beginning of the nineteenth century. Since then it has been dividedinto two parts. One part became the church in 1954, and the other a hotel. Located on Avenida Pío XII.
Convento de Santo Domingo
The Convent was founded in 1400, and today the building is a school run by the Tertiary Franciscan Sisters, who maintain the cloistered part for teaching and the church for worship, under the invocation of the Immaculate Conception. Located on Calle Feria.
Parroquia de Nuestra Señora de la Asunción
The Baroque-style church dates to the eighteenth century, from 1712-1770. There are numerous pieces of artwork, as well as baroque canvases from the Córdoba school. A sixteenth century Gothic-style chalice with Renaissance elements was a gift from the Bishop of Córdoba, Leopoldo de Austria. Located on Calle Cardenal Portocarrero.
Capilla de las Angustias
The image of Virgin of Las Angustiaswas placed inside the tower of the defensive walls for protection when the Moors attacked the town in 1483.In that tower the small baroque chapel was built in the eighteenth century. After the restoration carried out on this historic chapel, all its architectural elements have been recovered, reopening the old door of the tower. Visitors can climb to the roof of the tower with views over the Alcazaba.Located on Calle Cerro de la Iglesia.
Embalse del Retortillo
The reservoir, with a surface area of 600 hectares, feeds on the Retortillo River and other minor sources such as the Comares, del Moral or Boquinete. It is surrounded by farms where game hunting is practised, such as El Águila or Canónigos, and it is common to see groups of deer drinking in its waters. Its environment is a Mediterranean forest of holm oaks and well preserved cork that is home to magnificent specimens of Iberian fauna: black vulture, golden eagle, black stork and lynx among others. It is also normal to see, mainly in winter, groups of migratory birds such as cormorants, mallards and herons. It is a favourable place for sports activities such as fishing.Located on the western boundary of the Sierra de Hornachuelos Natural Park.
Dishes to try when visiting Palma del Río are typically made with oranges, such ashuevos fritos con naranjas (fried eggs with orange), codornices con naranja (quail with orange), flan de naranja (orange flan), bizcocho de naranja (orange sponge cake) and naranjas en dulce (oranges in syrup). Also typical of the town is gazpacho de habas secas (broad bean gazpacho), revuelto de espárragos (scrambled egg with asparagus) and lomo relleno (stuffed pork loin).
Traditional crafts still produced in Palma del Río are faux works, ceramics and carpentry.
Cabalgata Reyes Magos
Three Kings procession celebrated on the evening of 5 January.
Celebrated in February.
Feria de Mayo
Celebrated around 19-22 May.
Feria de Agosto
Celebrated in August.
Romería de Ntra. Sra. de Belén Coronada
Celebrated the last Sunday of August.
Celebrated on 6 and 7 September.
Fiestas Patronales en Honor a María Santisima de Belén Coronada
Celebrated on 8 September.