by Saskia Mier
Beas is located in the centre of the province of Huelva within El Condado. Most famously known for its belenviviente, a live Christmas nativity that has spectators coming from all round the country, and also has a great name for the production of olive oil. It has 4,190 inhabitants.
According to historians, Beas originates from a crossing of two tracks: one from Trigueros in the south, leading to El Andévalo and the Sierra de Aracena, and the other track, an agricultural pathway that lead from the Condado de Niebla to the frontier lands of Portugal in the west. This hypothesis dates back to the sixteenth century by the historian Rodrigo Caro, for whom the place name Beas would be a derivation of the Latin word "Veas" or "Vehas", referring to a crossing point or crossroads.
However, more recent studies suggest Beas comes from the Mozarabic word "Vea", meaning valley or fertile place, referring to the rich and fertile orchards that have always existed by the stream of Trigueros.
There is evidence of a settlement from the Neolithic and Chalcolithic period (Dolmen de "El Labradillo"). From the Bronze Age there is evidence of settlements in the southern part of the village (burials, ceramics, axes, etc).
Roman remains have also been found in the vicinity of Fuente de San Benito, which belonged to a village from the Bajo Imperial era.From Arab settlements, remains have been found in Matahijos, such as bottles and bowls. The fact that this necropolis, now destroyed, was once near the centre of Beas, suggests that the village existed at that time.
The first written references about Beas are found after the Spanish conquest of the Kingdom of Niebla in 1262. In December 1342, Alfonso XI donated Beas to Juan Alonso de la Cerda, Lord of Gibraleón, and soon to the jurisdiction of Niebla, after his death. Beas then formed part of the estate of Don Juan Alonso de Guzmán, Lord of Sanlúcar de Barrameda.
With political changes following the approval of the Constitución de Cádiz of 1812, Beas gains its village title. In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries a demographic and urban explosion occurs, significantly expanding the urban area of Beas. Communications are also improved with the railroad of San Juan del Puerto to Minas del Buitrón and new roads.
During the mid-twentieth century, consequences of the Civil War produced a significant decrease in population and great economic depression causing famines as well as many locals seeking better life in Catalonia and other regions.
THINGS TO SEE
The Ayuntamiento is the town hall, dating back to the mid-eighteenth century, specifically in 1755 and suffered serious damage due to the Lisbon earthquake. It was not until 1878 when it was agreed to rebuild a new building and construction began in 1881, managed by architect Manuel Pérez González. It has a neoclassical style set over two floors with a central bell towerthat was added in 1929.After over a hundred years since its construction, the Ayuntamiento needed urgent restoration that was carried out in 2000, by architect Alicia Fernández-VictorioNavascués.Located in Plaza de España.
Casa Museo de Venezuela
On November 14, 1592, Francisco de Vides, a native of Trigueros, went on an expedition from the port of Sanlúcar de Barrameda towards America, reaching the Venezuelan coast on 18 December 1952 with a contingent consisting of 286 people, from mostly from Seville, Huelva, Badajoz and Caceres. In Venezuela in 1953, Francisco de Vides founded a village called"Nuestra Señora de los Clarines" in honour of the patron saint of Beas.
The origins of this relationship seem to be in the year 1966, when Juan Bautista Romero Rabadan, former brother of Hermendad de Nuestra Señora de Clarines, found information about the existence of a town called Clarines in Venezuela. Later in 1994, the former city councillor of Beas, Gregorio González Pérez, organized a trip to Clarines in Venezuela and decided to build a replica of Casa Museo that they saw in Venezuela. The creation of this cultural space emerged in 2000 to create a museum institution associated with the Latin American cultural diversity in Beas, strengthening the ties between the two continents and the two populations.Located on Calle Ramon y Cajal.
Dolmen "El Labradillo"
The archaeological site corresponds to megalithic architecture and dates to the middle of the third millennium, 2500-1900 B.C. The existence of these remains has been known since the fifties of the twentieth century, when Carlos Cerdán conducted studies in the province.
This site consists of two main areas; in the first, dolmens I (best preserved of the three) and II (deplorable condition) with remains of another tomb, and in the second, dolmen III (deplorable condition) and the quarry that provided material for its construction. Located northeast of Beas, towards the reservoir, by the resting stop of "El Labridillo".
Ermita de Clarines
The church was built in the late Middle Ages and retained its structure until the first third of the nineteenth century, when the War of Independence, economic stagnation and cholera, caused great deterioration. In the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century, the chapel was restored but later destroyed due to an earthquake and the following year underwent more reconstruction. Located south east of Beas, off the HU-3107.
Fuente de "La Nicoba"
The area known as Fuente de "La Nicoba" is set in a natural landscape where Arroyo de la Barcena runs (river), commonly known among locals as the "Arroyo de la Nicoba". Various springs flow into the river including La Fuente de "LaNicoba" to its mouth at Arroyo de Trigueros, also known as"El Pilón". La Fuente de "La Nicoba" is hidden in the dense vegetation of the stream. Located 2kms west of Beas.
Parroquia de San Bartolomé
The Sevillian Gothic-Moorish style chapel's construction dates to the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. It has undergone a few restorations, the last in 1989.Located in Plaza de España.
Pozo del Concejo
Pozo del Concejo is a municipal well dating back to the early eighteenth century.In 1954, the City Council decided to provide Pozo de lConcejo with new and modern facilities for water treatment intended for human consumption. Located on Calle Pozo Concejo.
La Torre de Beas
La Torre de Beas is a tower that stands about 40m high and was built with true late eighteenth century style and altered after the earthquake in 1755. The date marked on its weather vane is 1829, marking the year it was finished. It was restored in 1996/97. Located in Plaza España.
Ruta de los Molinos
The natural area known as the "Ruta de los Molinos del Agua", located between La Huerta del Conde and La Loba, west of the municipality of Beas. There are several flour mills found along this route, located between the meadow of Huerta del Conde, Casa Nueva and Nicoba.
Some of these mills were built in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and were used for milling cereals harvested in Beas, mainly wheat and barley, with the help of water from the Arroyo Los Molinos. Currently, the only mills still standing are"La Loba", "Las Monjas", "La Higuera", "La Llave" and "De Bonifacio".
The walking route that connects these mills runs 1.5km in length and also connects with the Via Verde de los Molinos de Agua that has a width of 8m and 35km in length through the disused railway line connecting San Juan del Puerto with El Buitrón.
The gastronomy includes dishes such as caldereta de borrego (lamb stew), habas con chocos (broad beans with cuttlefish), habas en zapatás (marinated broad beans), migas and revuelto de setas (scrambled egg with wild ceps). Desserts include huevos nevados, polea, empanadillas de cidra and perrunillas. All local dishes can be accompanied by a variety of local wines produced in El Condado.
The most traditional handicraft in Beas is pottery. A selection of pieces can be brought from various places.
Fiestas de San José Obrero
Celebrated the 1 May. The tradition began in 1915, first in honour of the Sagrado Corazon de Jesus, and since 1924, in honour of the Patriarca San José, a figure that best represents the spirit of hard work.
Romeriade Nuestra Señora de España
Celebrated the 3, 4 and 5 May. The pilgrimage lasts 3 days as pilgrims take Nuestra Señora de España to Sotiel Coronada in the heart of El Andevalo.
Romeria Nuestra Señora de los Clarines
Celebrated the 14, 15 and 16 August. Processions take place through the streets and the actual pilgrimage sets off on the 15 August.
Capeas en Honor de San Bartolomé
On 23 August, capeas (small bullfights in the street) start in honour of the Patron San Bartolomé, which last for 5 days, from Saturday 23 to Wednesday 27. A very traditional festival in Beas, which combines the bulls in the evening with the night fair.
Fiestas de Nuestra Señora de la Salud
Celebrated the last weekend of September with a pilgrimage in Fuente de la Corcha.
Fiestas de Nuestra Señora de la Merced
Celebrated the 24 September with processions and music accompanied by dancing.
Beas is located 25km from Huelva. To get there, take the H-31 leaving Huelva and take Exit 75, towards Trigueros on the N-435. Pass by Trigueros and you will then reach Beas.