by Saskia Mier
Alosno is set in the heart of El Andevalo, 43km from Huelva. The district of Alosno covers an area of approximately 200,000km2 and consists of 4792 inhabitants spread between Tharsis and Alosno. It reaches up to El Cerro del Andevalo in the north, Gibraleon and Trigueros in the south, Puebla de Guzman to the west and Calañas to the east.
Alosno was founded in its present location in 1444, due to a forced change of location from a place called Portichuelo, a few kilometres away. The transfer of location was due to the unhealthy impact of the acidic water from the mines on the inhabitants as well as livestock and agriculture. References from the second half of the 17th century suggest that Alfonso X El Sabio reconquered the land previously belonging to the Ducado of Medina Sidonia. From 1812, Alosno became a village due to the disappearance of lordships. Since the late 19th century until recent years, the economy of Alosno was based solely on mining and due to the crisis in the sector, is now in absolute decline.
THINGS TO SEE
Parroquia de Nuestra Señora Gracia
Within the village monuments worth visiting, are the 18th century renaissance Parroquia de Nuestra Señora Gracia.
Ermita del Señor de la Columnas
Also worth seeing is the 16th-century Ermita del Señor de la Columnas.
The streets of Alosno are home to several grand mansions and two beautiful fountains: Fuente El Piano and Fuente de la Begacha.
Alosno has a well-preserved railway station, from the 19th century, known as the Medio Millar, known to be one of the first 3 stations built for the Tharsis Railway that travelled 47km from Tharsis to Puntal de la Cruz in Corrales (Huelva). Used only to transport minerals such as iron, copper and sulphur as well as gold, silver and magnesium, it was the second to be built in Huelva with a gauge of four English feet, a measurement that has only been used for the Glasgow Subway.
The village boasts traces of archaic mines such as Almagrera, Los Guijos, El Chaparral and Tharsis which in particular is a beautifully preserved cultural site. Their metals have been traded since ancient times by the Carthaginians and Romans.
Alosno is also home to an important and recently discovered archaeological site located in the Cabezo Jure dating back to the third millennium BC. As well as pottery, stone knives and bone spatulas, arrowheads have also been discovered, along with evidence showing the lifestyle of those you who lived in Alosno nearly five thousand years ago.
The miradores (viewpoints) of Cabezo Jurel and El Chaparral.
Among a variety of home-cooked dishes such as chickpea and meat stews as well as Iberian pork, Alosno has a selection of cured sausages and specifically its caldereta de borrego (lamb stew) which are both highly recommended. For dessert, flan, rice pudding and many more sweet treats typical of the province such as pestiños (honey pastries) and bollos de pringue (egg-filled profiteroles) which are particularly popular of Alosno and eaten at Semana Santa (Holy Week).
Embroidery is the most characteristic handicraft of Alosno and is renowned throughout the province, as are the leather horse-riding saddlery and harnesses, all still hand-made.
Luminarias de San Antonio Abad is traditionally held on 16 January each year.
Semana Santa (Holy week) sees a variety of processions. On Holy Wednesday, there is the procession of Señor de la Sangre y María Santísima de la Soledad. Holy Thursday is the day of the most popular procession of Alosno, called Los Encuentros. On Good Friday, a procession moves El Señor de la Columna to the Ermita del Señor de la Columna (chapel).
San Antonio de Padua at the end of May or beginning of June on a Saturday after the morning church service, a procession travels through the village followed by a group performing the traditional "Dance of Swords". The dance consists of 15 men playing flutes and drums blessing the swords in honour of the holy saint San Antonio.
San Juan Bautista is held on 24 June with a 10am procession of the patron saint followed by another dance known as Danza de los Cascabeleros. The dance consists of ten changes or different steps danced in chorus around the drum and the Master of Ceremonies, who controls the changes with a directing stick. The group of dancers are composed of 19 men, three of them forming the lead and the remaining 16 are grouped into eight couples.
Corpus Christi is celebrated in June, and the Summer Feria is celebrated in August.
Romeria de la Rama is celebrated in December where locals collect branches from the countryside for nativity displays.
Alosno is loacted approximately 40 km from Huelva city. To get there, take the Huelva-Ayamonte road to the N-431; then onto the A-495 and after passing through the town of San Bartolome de la Torre you reach Alonso.