Valverde del camino
by Saskia Mier
Valverde del Camino is at the very east side of El Andevalo. Most famously known nationally and internationally for the manufacturing of Spanish vaquero-style leather riding boots, it still has many workshops designing leather boots and shoes of all styles as well as belts, bags and other leather products. It has 12, 615 inhabitants.
Valverde del Camino has traditionally been a resting stop for passing travellers that crossed the province of Huelva, from its ports to the Sierra, to and from Extremadura.
Created in the fourteenth century around a local café/bar, Valverde del Camino grew thanks to the inventiveness of its people that led to industry and craft becoming the main source of wealth.
Throughout the second half of the nineteenth century many foreign, especially British companies, settled in the province of Huelva to search mainly for copper and pyrite. With the arrival of these companies, a small British community settled in Valverde del Camino to carry out the construction and operation of mining railway Buitrón- San Juan del Puerto and the management of several other mines.
From these British mining companies that built the first railroad in the province and the first narrow gauge in Andalucia, the inhabitants of Valverde del Camino incorporated their knowledge of traditional production, eventually making the village an example of industrialization. It became the first Andalucian producer of footwear, with renowned furniture industry and other crafts that in the rest of the country have disappeared.
THINGS TO SEE
Museo Casa Dirección
The museum was built in 1912 as the residence of director of the Alkali United Company and was restored by the town hall preserving the English architecture. The Museo Casa Dirección displays heritage that has led to the fame of Valverde del Camino, including leather footwear workshops, wood and metal workshops, the railway and the English influence. The ground floor of the museum is also a multifunctional space for conference activities, temporary exhibitions and other social and cultural events. It has spacious and beautiful gardens and is equipped with shop, restaurant, café as well as an outdoor amphitheatre with 250 seats. Located on Avenida de la Constitución,.
Tuesday-Saturday, 11:00-14:00hrs and 17:00-20:00hrs (Winter)
Tuesday-Saturday, 11:00-14:00hrs and 17:00-20:00hrs (Summer: July to mid-September)
Prices: Free Entrance
Tel: 959 55 39 88
The English legacy left behind in Valverde del Camino can be enjoyed in more depth, visiting the former offices of the company, the old railway station, the old railway workshops and the centre for the Ferias de Muestras Temporales, which contains a restoration of a wagon from 1900.
Iglesia de Nuestra Señora del Reposo
Built in the second half of the sixteenth century, it has an altarpiece dating back to 1640-1650. Located on Calle La Calleja.
Ermita del Santo
Also known as Ermita de San Sebastián, the Baroque chapel was recently built from 1953-1960 and inspired by the Sevillian Baroque architecture of the eighteenth century. Located on Calle San Sebastián.
Capilla de Santa Ana
The first religious building that was built in Valverde del Camino in the early sixteenth century. Located on Calle Santa Ana.
Ermita de la Trinidad
The chapel dates to the first third of the eighteenth century on a former quarantine hospital and to this day still maintains its original structure. Located on Calle Trinidad.
Conjunto Dolménico Los Gabrieles
An archeological site called "Los Gabrieles" located in a resting area just outside Valverde del Camino.
Dique de Campanario
A stone wall parts the dyke between the end of Beas and Valverde del Camino. Initially built for the mine of Campanario, it is extremely deep and between 4 and 5 projections. It is at 80% capacity most of the year now that it no longer supplies the town and today is a great natural landscape surrounded by lush vegetation and rich fauna. Located 10kms south west of Valverde del Camino.
Dique de los Silillos
The dyke of Silillos supplies drinking water to Valverde del Camino. It is also great for fishing carp and other species such as black bass. The road leading to the dam passes through the Dehesa de los Machos and Arroyo de Bajohondo.
Plaza de Toros
The bullring dates from the mid-nineteenth century and has a capacity of 3,000 people. It retains its nineteenth-century style and still holds bullfights today. Located on Calle Benavente.
Casa de la Cultura y Museo Mineralógico
The large municipal building holds some of the cultural events taking place in Valverde del Camino. The ground floor has a hall whereas the upper floor is equipped with a library, boardroom and historical archives. In 1984 a small mineralogical exhibition was initiated containing minerals, fossils, models of prehistoric animal species and the evolution of Man with estimable pieces of archaeological interest.Located on Calle Jose Franco.
Monday-Saturday, 10:00-11:30hrs and 17:00-21:00hrs
Prices: Free Entrance
Tel: 959 55 00 36
There are a number of walking routes available that pass through the 4 natural resting stops as well as many other places of heritage, culture or environmental interest; highlighting and publicizing the uniqueness and beauty. Local ecosystems include pine, eucalyptus as well as riverside and Mediterranean forest. Hiking is the most popular of all sports however many of the routes are suitable for bicycles and horses.
The mining past of Valverde del Camino has left various infrastructures that have been adapted for the "Vía Verde", a green footpath covering the 36km route of the old mining railway that passed through and on to the coast of Huelva.
Typical dishes of Valverde del Camino should include caldereta and a variety of dishes made with gurumelos (wild cep). Sweet pastries dipped in honey such as orejas, rosas or piñonates are also worth a try.
The main craft of Valverde del Camino are the leather riding boots, although many workshops has created a variety of leather footwear and accessories to accommodate everybody. There is also a huge tradition of wood carving, specifically furniture making.
The carnival is celebrated in February. There are a huge variety of music and sport events held in Valverde.
Romeria de San Pancracio
The pilgrimage originated in the early twenty-first century. Celebrated between May and June, thousands of pilgrims follow the holy pilgrimage from Valverde to the chapel.
Pirulitos de San Juan
Celebrated in June.
Velada de Santa Ana
In 1947 a group of neighbours, known as the "Club de los Veinte"created this celebration as small block party and in 1972 stopped organising the annual event. In 1994 a new group of residents managed to regain this ancestral celebration. Celebrated at the end of July.
The annual fair is celebrated the week from 15 August.
Día de la Patrona Nuestra Señora del Reposo
Celebrated on the Saturday before the 12 September and a procession is celebrated 1 November.
Valverde del Camino is located 44kms from Huelva. To get there, leave Huelva east on the H-31. Take Exit 75, on the N-435 towards Trigueros. Pass Trigueros and Beas until you reach Valverde del Camino.