VALVERDE DEL CAMINO
by Saskia Mier
Valverde del Camino is located in the eastern part 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. Valverde del Camino has about 12, 750 inhabitants.
Valverde del Camino has traditionally been a resting stop for travellers crossing the province of Huelva from the ports on the coast to the Sierras in the north, and onward to Extremadura.
Its origins date back to the time of the construction of a farmhouse and an inn and lodging for merchants and couriers. This inn was known as, Facanías, a name apparently of Hebrew or Arabic origin. More>
THINGS TO SEE
Museo Casa Dirección
The museum was built in 1912 as the residence of John H. Cresswell first director of The United Alkali company and his family. It was later restored, preserving the English architecture. The Museo Casa Dirección displays the 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 has space for conferences, temporary exhibitions and other social and cultural events. It also has large, beautiful gardens and a shop, restaurant and café, as well as an outdoor amphitheater with 250 seats. Located on Avenida de la Constitución.
Winter, Tuesday-Saturday, 11:00-14:00hrs and 17:00-20:00hrs
Summer (July to mid-September), Tuesday-Saturday, 11:00-14:00hrs and 18:00-21:00hrs
Tel: 959 55 39 88
Restaurante Casa Dirección
Situated in the historical complex of Casa Dirección is Restaurante Casa Dirección, which is based on two premises: the quality and innovation. It is an exciting project that after six years of existence has never stopped growing and evolving. The head chef, José Duque has a clear objective to offer diners innovation and avant-garde styles. In 2018, the restaurant was awarded Michelin Bib Gourmand. Located on Avenida de la Constitución. Reservations: 959 55 13 34 or 605 28 48 45.
The English legacy in Valverde del Camino can be explored in more depth, visiting the former offices of The United Alkali Company, the old railway station and the old railway workshops which house a restored wagon from 1900.
Iglesia de Nuestra Señora del Reposo
The construction of the church started in the second half of the sixteenth century and was completed in the first decades of the seventeenth century. Iglesia de Santa María under the invocation of the Virgen del Reposo, has since then been the parish church of the town. In 1630 Pablo Legot a Luxembourg painter settled in Seville, he designed the main altarpiece, although it is not certain that he painted it since records show it was painted between 1640-1650. The Lisbon earthquake of 1755 affected the church which was rebuilt by Tomás Botani, who made some reforms such as the addition of several side chapels. The church is located on Calle La Calleja.
Ermita del Santo
The chapel was built in 1953-1960, inspired by the eighteenth century Baroque architecture of Seville. It occupies the location of the previous hermitage of San Sebastián, which was built at the beginning of the eighteenth century. Located on Calle San Sebastián.
Ermita de Santa Ana
The first religious building to be built in Valverde del Camino, its construction dates from the beginning of the sixteenth century and is related to Doña Ana, wife of Don Alfonso de Guzmán (seventh Duke of Medina Sidonia), who was devoted to the Saint of her name. This sixteenth century building has since disappeared and today a small and beautiful chapel stands in its place. Located on Calle Santa Ana.
Ermita de la Trinidad
The construction of this hermitage dates back to the beginning of the eighteenth century. It was built on an old lazaretto where the sick from the cholera epidemics that hit Andalusia at the beginning of the century were isolated. Despite having undergone various conservations, it maintains its original structure. Located on Calle Trinidad.
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 bullfights still take place. Located on Calle Benavente.
Casa de la Cultura y Museo Mineralógico
The large municipal building holds some of the cultural events of Valverde del Camino. The ground floor has an exhibition hall whereas the upper floor is equipped with a library, boardroom and historical archives. In 1984 a small mineralogical exhibition was initiated here 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
Tel: 959 55 00 36
THINGS TO SEE OUTSIDE THE VILLAGE
Conjunto Dolménico Los Gabrieles
One of the most important monumental ensembles of megalithic art in the region, which are also in a good state of conservation. They were discovered by José Maria Luzón in 1966, although they were not studied until 1974. It is made up of seven dolmens distributed in two groups differentiated by their morphological characteristics and location, and it is possible that they respond to different chronological moments. Located southeast of Valverde, bounded to the north by the Barranco del Chorrito and to the south by the Huerta del Duque.
Dique de Campanario
A dyke that runs for 10km southwest of Valverde del Camino in the direction of Beas. It was built for the mine of Campanario and now is a pleasant walk by the water course. It is extremely deep in place and is 80% full for most of the year now that it no longer supplies the town with water. 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.
There are a number of walking routes available that pass through the four 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 of the Odiel River", a railway footpath covering the 36 km route that follows the former Buitrón mining railway line that passed through Valverde and on down to the coast at San Juan del Puerto.
Typical dishes of Valverde del Camino such as caldereta (meat stew) and a variety of dishes made with gurumelos (wild ceps). Sweet pastries dipped in honey such as orejas, rosas or piñonates are also worth a try.
The artisan tradition of Valverde del Camino began to take hold in the eighteenth. There are still very important artisanal strongholds such as saddlers, shoemakers and wood work. Valverde del Camino is famously known internationally for its bespoke leather riding boots, with Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, amongst other celebrities owning a pair.
Popular festivals in Valverde del Camino are Romeria de San Pancracio, Pirulitos de San Juan, Velada de Santa Ana, Feria and Día de la Patrona Nuestra Señora del Reposo. More>