VILLAFRANCA DE CÓRDOBA
by Saskia Mier
Villafranca de Córdoba has an unusual festival called the Gran Huevada, celebrated on the 14 May, during which thousands of eggs are fried and shared among the community. The town has around 4800 inhabitants.
Archaeological remains have been found in the area dating to prehistoric times, as well as evidence of Roman presence in the form of Sacilis (or Cecilia). There is even a supposed section of the Via Augusta in the vicinity.
However, the current Villafranca de Córdoba finds its origins in the small village of El Cascajar, a name deriving from the detritic deposits left in the area by the Guadalquivir River. In 1358, Martín López de Córdoba, Mayor of Córdoba, and Pedro I of Castille bought the depopulated village from the Church. In 1359, the town was granted a formal title in order to constitute a population. After the death of Señor de Villafranca, it became directly dependent on the Crown, closely related to the Order of Calatrava.
In 1549, Doña Catalina Fernández de Córdoba, Marquesa de Priego and Señora de la Casa de Aguilar bought Villafranca. During this time the town flourished, and an economy developed; this was based principally on agricultural activity, although the production of needles meant that a manufacturing industry also grew., so much so that the town was then named Villafranca de las Agujas ("of the needles").
On September 18, 1938, bloody battles broke out between Republican and National forces in the Civil War, affecting even rural towns like Villafranca.
THINGS TO SEE
Parroquia de Santa Marina de Aguas Santas
This church dates to the seventeenth century, although its current appearance is due to extensive restorations carried out in the eighteenth century. The roof, featuring an arched vault, is decorated with elaborate plasterwork, decoration which is echoed in the Rosario Chapel. The main altar originally came from the Church of San Francisco y San Eulogio de Córdoba. The exterior bell tower is also a highlight. The church is located on Calle Alcolea.
Ermita de San Miguel
This chapel and tower occupy the remains of the primitive parish of Santa Marina, dateable to the late fourteenth century. There are also architectural features from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The chapel can be found on Calle Barroso.
Torre de Reloj
This Baroque tower once belonged to the Town Hall, and was built in the sixteenth century then restored during the eighteenth. The bell tower has half point arches. Located on Calle on Calle Alcolea.
This arch, built in the eighteenth century (1729), is an important remnant of the town's pósito (grain store). In 1731, the tradition of placing oil lamps for San José arose. This image became a definitive part of the arch in 1747. The arch connects Calle Carnicería with Calle Alcolea.
Antigua Mayordomía de los Duques de Medinaceli
This is an eighteenth-century manor house, belonging to the Dukes of Medinaceli. It stands out for the bold yellow and maroon of its façade, and can easily be spotted on Calle Alcolea.
Casa de los Benavente
This building is a former seventeenth-century butcher shop, commissioned by Francisco Javier de Exea. Today only the original façade remains, and it is used as the municipal library. It is located on Calle Alcolea.
Ermita de Nuestra Señora de las Angustias
This Baroque chapel dates to the eighteenth century, but is currently used as a warehouse. Located on Calle las Angustias.
THINGS TO SEE OUTSIDE THE VILLAGE
Ermita de la Virgen de los Remedios
This chapel's construction began in 1701, funded by the donations of neighbours, although it was not finished until 1731. In addition to the image of the Virgin, carved by Juan Martínez Cerrillo in the 1940s, the chapel is home to the Via Crucis Mariano, made of tiles in the ceramics workshop of Santa Ana de Sevilla. The original image of the Virgin that was worshipped in the hermitage disappeared during the Civil War. The chapel is situated south west of the village, off the CO-3103.
Puente de Hierro
This metal bridge over the Guadalquivir River was built in the twentieth century, and is currently in disuse. It can be found south of Villafranca, off the A-421.
Traditional local handicrafts include ceramics, ironwork and wood; the production of furniture forms a central part of the local economy.
Villafranca's beautiful surroundings of hills, pine forests and streams offer ample opportunities for outdoor activities, including bird-watching, rock climbing, hiking, and canoeing on the Guadalquivir River. Parque Acuatico de Aquasierra is a waterpark which is ideal for children in the summer. For those keen on walking, the local water route, Ruta del Agua, is worth exploring.
Try traditional dishes such as cocido (chickpea stew), salmorejo de pan vaquero (chilled tomato soup), gazpacho de ajo (garlic soup), guiso de pies de cerdo (pig trotter stew), embutidos caseros (homemade cold cuts), conejo al ajillo (garlic rabbit), cochifrito (suckling pig), migas con chorizo (fried breadcrumbs with chorizo), berenjenas rellenas (stuffed aubergines), perolillas camperas (stew) and flamenquines (meat roll filled with ham and cheese). Sweet treats include roscos de San Antonio (lard cakes), pestiños (honey pastries), natillas (egg custards), flanes (baked egg custard) and pudding de café (coffee pudding).
Cabalgata Reyes Magos
Three Kings procession celebrated on the evening of 5 January.
Día de la Candelaría
Celebrated the 2 February.
Día de Andalucía
Celebrated the 28 February.
Celebrated in February.
Holy Week (dates vary each year).
La Gran Huevada
Celebrated the evening of the 14 May.
Fiesta de San Isidro Labrador
Celebrated the 15 May.
Feria y Fiestas en Honor a Santiago Apóstol y Santa Ana
Celebrated the 25-28 July.
Fiesta de la Virgen de los Remedios
Celebrated the 8-10 September.