villanueva de las cruces
by Saskia Mier
Villanueva de las Cruces is situated in the heart of El Andevalo, with Puebla de Guzmán to its west and Calañas to the east, covering a surface area of 34km² and 124 metres above sea level. It has 379 inhabitants.
The origin of Villanueva de las Cruces is quite confusing because there are several versions on file with the town hall. One of the most popular theories is that an inn was built at a crossroads from Seville to Portugal, where travellers would stop for the night, and the village grew from this focal point.
It is also suggested that the origins of Villanueva de las Cruces are prior to the construction of this inn, placing the first settlement in the Cumbre de Charnecal, a place approximately 1,500 meters away from the current Villanueva de las Cruces. Here there are remains of a town that apparently dates from the Roman era.
As for the origin of the name of Villanueva de las Cruces, it comes from the Latin name of Villa Nova and Cruces seems to be due to the crossroads previously mentioned. In the middle of the sixteenth and seventeenth century, the villagers could not read or write and when they saw obligation to do so, especially when signing a document, they did so with a cross. Each resident drew their cross in a very personal way, making it easier to differentiate between one another.
THINGS TO SEE
Cruz de los Caídos
A monument in memory of the fallen during the Spanish Civil War. It was built in the years 1940-1950 and the Cruz de los Caídos (memorial cross)also acts as a meeting place especially for young people. Located on Plaza La Candela.
Iglesia Parroquial Santa María de la Cruz
The neoclassic style church was built in 1788, built on the foundations of another older church. Once inside there are many beautiful images, such as those of Christ, Virgen de los Dolores, San Sebastián and Santa María de la Cruz, among others. Located on Calle Dr Rogelio de Olea.
Ermita de San Sebastián
A chapel situated on a hill next to Villanueva de las Cruces, where you can enjoy magnificent views of the town and its surroundings. It was built in honour of San Sebastián in the early eighteenth century and due to the state of deterioration, it was renovated in 1995. Located on Calle Ermita.
Resto Antiguo Ferrocarril Minero
The un-used bridges of the railway linking the mines of La Zarza and Corrales, called Pirita, Cascabelero and Recueros, are found only 1000 meters from the village.Unique for their great height and length, the most recently built bridge of Cascabelero is the longest railway bridge in the province of Huelva. The railway line itself offers a landscape virtually unchanged for years, where visitors can get an idea of how it was built, operated and lived at the time. Located north of Villanueva de las Cruces.
Puente Río Oraque
Offering the opportunity to enjoy exceptional examples of civil engineering, the bridge over Río Oraque is one of the most important and beautiful sites. Located off the A-475 towards Calañas.
The gastronomy of Villanueva de las Cruces is specifically focused on the wild cep, gurumelo, in the form of stews or even just simply grilled. As for sweet treats, the most traditional are rosas, piñonate, roscos, borrachos and ajuelas. There is also a bread called pan de custodio traditionally made in a wood oven, it is very popular to all who visit.
The handicrafts of Villanueva de las Cruces are all edible. Not only a wide variety of sweet treats are made but the pan decustodio is specific to the village.
Cruz de Mayo
The Cruz de Mayo is celebrated in May with musical events to sing and dance to the rhythm of the guitar and tambourine.
Feria de Verano de San Sebastián
Celebrated the second weekend of August. It includes a Mass and procession of San Sebastián through the streets, accompanied at all times by the "Danzaores" that perform the "dance of the sticks" in his honour.
Fiestas Patronales San Sebastián
Celebrated the weekend closest to 20 January.An enormous bonfire is lit on the Friday in the Plaza del Ayuntamiento, and as from midnight dancing starts the weekend off with an orchestra. There is also a mass and procession of the patron saint followed by music and dancing.
Celebrated on the Saturday before the 28 February. The brotherhood of Santa María de la Cruz organises a lunch, known as "El Potaje", as well as flamenco performances and flamenco fashion show.
Romería Santa María de la Cruz
Celebrated the first weekend of May.Pilgrims transfer the Simpecado to the site of the pilgrimage, called Recueros and taken back two days later to the Iglesia de SantaMaría de la Cruzto the sound of tambourines and flutes.
Villanueva de las Cruces is situated 64km from Huelva. To get there, take the H-30 leaving Huelva towards Gibraleón. After passing Gibraleón, follow the A-495, passing San Bartolomé de la Torre, Alosno, Tharsis. After Tharsis, head east on the A-475 to Villanueva de las Cruces.