by Saskia Mier
El Granado is located in the extreme west of the province, east of Villanueva de los Castillejos, only a few kilometres from the border with Portugal. Its mountainous landscape extends over an area of almost 1000 hectares and has approximately 650 inhabitants.
The origins of El Granado date back to the third millennium B.C. Graves arranged in rectangular groups have been found in local olive groves, along with knives of stone, clay pots, copper utensils and pottery.
During the Moorish period, El Granado was under the jurisdiction of Beja (Portugal). Rights and privileges of the manor of Gibraleon were granted by Rey Fernando IV to Infante Alfonso de la Cerda, son of the Crown Prince of Castile and grandson of Alfonso X the Wise, in the late 13th century, in exchange for Alfonso resigning his rights to the throne.
El Granado was definitively founded in 1547 when Doña Maria Teresa de Zúñiga, Duchess of Béjar and Marquise of Gibraleón, donated lands for joint exploitation with neighbouring Sanlucar de Guadiana.
In the 15th century, due to population growth, the Moorish-Gothic Ermita de la Santísima Trinidad was built. Although the land was not very fertile, the villagers cultivated cereals, vines and oranges until the 19th century, when manganese was exploited from the Santa Catalina mine. After the mines stopped during the 1950-1960 crisis, and then closed for good, agriculture once again became the main industry.
THINGS TO SEE
Iglesia de Santa Catalina
The neoclassical church was built in the 18th century, when Pedro Pérez Medina reported to the archbishop of Seville, that the church was ruined. Inside you can see La Coronación de la Virgen, a painting restored in 2000, initially located in the Ermita de Santísima Trinidad. It is an anonymous 17th-century baroque piece, from the Escuela Sevillana. It represents the coronation of Mary by the Santísima Trinidad. Located on Calle Plaza.
Ermita de la Santisíma Trinidad
A Gothic-Mudejar style chapel dating from the 15th century, originally used by those who lived outside the village walls due to suffering from epidemic diseases. Located on Calle La Trinidad.
Molino de Viento
This windmill dates back to the 18th century and was faithfully restored in 1996, using material brought from Portugal. Currently it is fully functioning, and it also contains several tools that were used by the ancient millers. Old pieces of the original mill are located in the outer area, along with other farm implements. Its perimeter is endowed with gardens and playgrounds for all visitors. Located north of El Granado, off the HU-9010.
Museo Etnografico y de Aperos de Labranza
This museum is dedicated to the display of agricultural tools reflecting on 20th century working life. You can see tools and equipment previously used for everyday tasks such as cooking, kneading, carpentry or mining. All the pieces displayed have been donated by residents or found in the local area. Located within the Molino de Viento.
Puerto de la Laja
This small hamlet situated west of El Granado on the Guadiano river was aport for mineral storage used by manganese exporters, mined from the Santa Catalina mines. Years later it became one of the most important mineral ports due to the construction of the railway linking the mine of Cabeza de Pasto with Puerto de la Laja. Inaugurated in 1888 by The Bede Metal Chemical Ltd. The railway was repaired,and the port expanded and modernized,in 1912 by the French company Saint Gobain.
In the 1920s, new locomotives were acquired, and three to four trains circulated daily regulated by telegraph, with two intermediate stations, until the mid-20th century.
Vía Verde del Guadiana
This 17km green way is closely linked to the mining history of western Andévalo. In the late 19th century, the Herrerías-Puerto de la Laja railway line opened, carrying pyrite and manganese ore to the Rio Guadiana, where it was loaded onto large cargo ships.
The pathway is very accessible, with easy directions. The diversity of its landscapes shows the past and present inhabitants of the area and the natural area of the Rio Guadiana.
The route begins at Minas de la Isabel. At km 8.9, Puente del Lobo, formed by three large arches, is the longest bridge on the pathway, offering great panoramic views; it also has a rest and recreation area.
At km 10.8 is Sardón, an old train station where minerals from Las Herrerias mine were weighed and loaded onto trains headed for Puerto de la Laja. Reaching the end of the route, you will see an ancient Roman bridge and a short tunnel through the rock. The route ends in Puerto de la Laja, on the Rio Guadiana.
Typical dishes of El Granado include gazpacho, migas, poleá (semolina), tagarninas con huevo (thistles with eggs), revuelto de gurumelos (scrambled egg with wild mushrooms), revuelto de esparragos (scrambled egg with asparagus) and especially rabbit, either fried, with rice, in sauce or stewed. A popular desert is arroz con leche (rice pudding).
El Granado offers handicrafts such as embroidery and leather products.
Feria de Artesania
A craft fair celebrated every year around October.
Fiesta de Santa Catalina
Celebrated on 25 November for the Virgen de Santa Catalina. Cultural events are usually celebrated the weekend before this date.
Celebrated on 24 June. The weekend before this date, many cultural events take place throughout the village, such as dancing and concerts.
Romería de la Santa Cruz
A pilgrimage celebrated on the first weekend of May. Founded in 1963, many people ride horses, although some go on foot as well.
El Granado is located 64kms from Huelva. To get there take the A-49 towards Ayamonte, then take the A-499 and at Villanueva de los Castillejos, take the HU-4402 west to El Granado.