San Silvestre de Guzmán
by Saskia Mier
San Silvestre de Guzmán is located southwest of El Andévalo, along the Guadiana River. It has Villa blanca to its south and Villanuva de los Castillejos to its north. It has 755 inhabitants.
The presence of man in the area dates back to at least five thousand years ago, suggested by the remains of Castelo, north of the houses of Fuentesanta houses.
From a very early date the lands of San Silvestre de Guzmán became the boundary to various administrative demarcations in the west that divided the province. There are remains of a Roman road parallel to the Rio Guadiana.
The Taifa Moorish Kingdoms of Mértola and the Algarve, Portuguese ownership of the area after the Christian conquest or the territorial separation between the Marquesado de Ayamonte and of Gibraleón, all had their effects on the land.
In 1531,Don Silvestre de Guzmán, Marqués de Ayamonte, donated land of Los Verdes and Campanillas to repopulate a vast territory and in 1595, the then Marques de Ayamonte, Don Francisco de Guzmán, granted village title.
Economic activities were influenced by the poor quality of soil and in 1640 during the Portuguese Independence War, inhabitants fled to safer lands, which influenced a population reduction of 50% in very short space of time.
In 1930, San Silvestre de Guzmán increased in population and was on a rise, only to be hit by the devastation of the Civil War. The second half of the twentieth century caused a rural collapse due to extensive farming activities.
THINGS TO SEE
Parroquia San Silvestre Papa I
The chapel dates back to the first half of the sixteenth century and in the seventeenth century underwent reformation as the steeple and bells were both added. Located in Plaza de España.
Pilar de la Huerta
The Pilar de la Huerta is a drinking trough where travellers would stop to drink and local farmers collected water for their animals. There is currently a tranquil picnic area and it is also within one of the walking routes of the Camino Natural del Guadiana.
Rio Guadiana - Frontera Natural
The Guadiana River is one of the most interesting rivers of the Iberian Peninsula and is also currently listed as one of the 7 wonders of the province of Huelva. Its birth is in the lagoons of Ojos del Guadiana, in the municipality of Villarrubia de los Ojos and its mouth, 744kms away in the Atlantic Ocean in Ayamonte. The Romans called the river, FluminusAnae, meaning river of the ducks. In the Al-Andalus period, it became Ana and later added Wuadi or Uadi, Wuadi Ana, later becoming Guadiana.
Yacimiento El Castelo
This Iron Age archaeological site dates back to at least 5,000 years ago, as confirmed by the remains of Castelo. Located north of Fuentesanta.
Plaza de España
The main square is typical of the eighteenth century. Accessed in three corners of the square and have all the town hall, post office, banks and chapel leading off it.
Molinos de Viento
Windmills built in the nineteenth century of slabs of stone and lime and have specific conical shapes, traditional to a flour mill. Both Molino de Vilán and Molino de Juana Correo were restored. Located south of San Silvestre de Guzmán.
San Silvestre de Guzmán is an ideal location for walkers. Routes such as Divisando el Mar, Un Paisaje de Frontera and Un Paseo entre el Viento all begin in the resting stops of Barciolonga and Fuente Santa. There are also several hunting grounds in the area.
San Silvestre de Guzmán offers a range of dishes to try such as conejo en salsa, la liebre con arroz and el estofado de venado, all dishes very common due to the great hunting in the area.
As for desserts, San Silvestre de Guzmán offers a unique selection including el dulce de arroz, el dulce de sidra, as well as pastries such as hojuelas and rosas.
The main handicraft of San Silvestre de Guzmán is definitely the leather riding boots, all beautifully designed and handmade.
Romeria Nuestra Señora del Rosario
Celebrated in April, the pilgrimage begins on the Friday at 23:00hrs with prayers and end with a glass of brandy and sweet fritters or hojuelas. The procession takes place on the Saturday after mass and on Sunday at 9:00hrs, the pilgrimage sets off to Alto de las Grullas.
The fair is celebrated in July and originates from the animal fair that was formerly held by the windmills. It was later moved to the town square for three days that often coincides with a weekend. Musical performances, dances and other cultural and sport activities go on over the weekend, as well as the carreras de cintas which is a horse competition to which ribbons are placed knotted onto a pole and horsemen have to gallop underneath the pole spearing a ribbon and releasing it from the pole each time they pass.
Fiestas de San Silvestre
Celebrated on the 31 December. At 11:00hrs a mass is celebrated in honour of the patron followed by a procession.
Concurso Provincial de Fandangos
A flamenco style music competition is held every year in Spring.
San Silvestre de Guzmán is located 54kms from Huelva. To get there, take the A-497 towards Aljaraque. Turn off onto the A-5077 leading onto the A-492. Continue on until joining the A-49. Take Exit 117 towards Villablanca. Pass Villablanca on the A-499 north to San Silvestre de Guzmán.