by Saskia Mier
Moguer is situated north of Palos de la Frontera and is still very much one of the three significant places in the history of Christopher Columbus and the discovery of America. It has about 21,300 inhabitants.
The first contacts with Rome must have occurred between 150-114 BC. Moguer was originally a Roman villa with its tower, later converted into farmstead by the Moors and was conquered by the Order of Santiago from 1239-1240.
Moguer became one of the most important fishing villages in Andalusia. The port's facilities reached their peak as from 1439, when the Catholic Monarchs granted insurance to vessels that arrived to the port from Europe, the Canary Islands and Africa. This explains the participation of Moguer and its port on the discovery of America.
The Monarchs commissioned Juan de Peñalosa to enforce a charter, written in Santa Fe on 30 April 1492, by which three armed and equipped ships owned by Moguer would be provided when needed. Moguer provided the ship "Niña", built by the family Niño.
In 1642, Felipe IV granted Moguer its village title and after the 1755 Lisbon earthquake major restoration was carried out in the affected buildings. At the same time, the cultivation of vines increased, improving the local economy until the plague of Phylloxera devastated the vineyards in the early twentieth century.
Currently Moguer thrives on strawberry and raspberry cultivation exported to Europe and is currently the largest producer in the province of Huelva, generating 110,000 tons of strawberries annually.
THINGS TO SEE
Monasteria de Santa Clara
The monastery was built in 1337 by Alonso Jofre Tenorio, first lord of Moguer and first patron of the monastery. The female abbot, Ines Enríquez, aunt of King Fernando, supported the trip of Christopher Columbus, who spent the first night in the monastery fulfilling the vow made at sea when a storm was about to capsize the Niña. Located on Plaza de las Monjas.
Convento de San Francisco
The convent was built during the fifteenth century to eighteenth century in Renaissance and Baroque style. Today it contains the Municipal Historical Archives and Iberoamerican Library. Located on Calle San Francisco.
Capilla Hospital Corpus Christi
The chapel was originally part of the Franciscan convent built by the same founders of the Monasterio de Santa Clara in 1337. Following the transfer of the community to the new Convento de la Esperanza, at the end of the fifteenth, the Capilla became part of the charity hospital of the same name. Located on Calle Andalucía.
Casa del Almirante
The house of Don Luis Hernández Pinzón y Alvarez, admiral of the Spanish Armada from 1816-1891 and was in command of the Pacific Fleet. Currently the house remains privately owned by the descendants of the Pinzónes. Located on Calle Almirante Hernández Pinzón.
The Town Hall was built in the eighteenth century and is the most beautiful example of municipal architecture of Huelva. It was a project by the Italian architect, Tomás Bottani. Located in Plaza del Cabildo.
Iglesia Parroquial Nuestra Señora de la Granada
The church was built between 1776-1783 with a cathedral appearance with slight similarity to the Giralda in Seville. Located on Calle Tras la Iglesia.
Castillo de Moguer
The castle is of military construction, expanded and transformed in the fourteenth century, whose origin was a Roman defensive tower. Located on Calle Amparo.
Ermita de San Sebastián
The Baroque chapel was built between the sixteenth and eighteenth century and is home to the Brotherhood of Nuestro Padre Jesús Nazareno. Located on Calle Nuestro Padre Jesús Nazareno.
Casa Museo Zenobia y Juan Ramón
The house was built in the nineteenth century and was the home of Zenobía Camprubí and the local poet, Juan Ramón Jiménez. The house has preserved objects, books, paintings and manuscripts. Juan Ramon Jimenez, author of the hugely popular Platero y yo, prolific poet, and winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1956, was born just outside Huelva. Controversially, he wrote erotic poems about his sexual experiences with nuns from the Holy Rosary Order, with whom he worked in a Madrid nursing home. The poems were only published in 2007, nearly 50 years after his death, due to his wife's disapproval. Platero y yo (platero means silvery) is a firm favourite of Spanish children's literature, and describes 'a small donkey, soft and hairy', a symbol of purity and naivety which the author uses to reflect on the simple joys of life. Located on Calle Juan Ramón Jiménez.
Tuesday-Saturday, 10:15-13:00hrs and 17:15-19:00hrs.
Price: Free Entrance
Tel: 959 37 21 48
Teatro Felipe Godínez
The theatre is a modern building built on the site occupied by the Enology Station, respecting the entrance tiles from Seville's School of Anibal González. It also has an exhibition space. Located on Calle Andalucía.
An interesting collection of religious art is housed at the Museo Diocesano de Arte Sacro.
Monasterio de Santa Clara
Tel: 959 37 01 07
Contemporary and traditional art can be seen at the Galería Fernando Serrano.
Plaza Iglesias 18
Tel: 959 37 25 16
THINGS TO SEE OUTSIDE THE VILLAGE
Ermita de Montemayor
The chapel was built between the fifteenth and twentieth century. There is a Moorish water source from the thirteenth century next to the chapel. Located 2kms from Moguer on the Camino Montemayor.
The pride and joy of Moguereños (as the residents are known in Spanish) is that their town is the birth place of the 1956 Nobel Prize for Literature winner, Juan Ramón Jiménez Mantecón, whom they remember as a "universal poet". You'll find he is well remembered in the town with museums and personal collections on display.
The municipal district of Moguer actually stretches down to the coast where there are vast, nearly untouched beaches. Of special interest is the much loved Playa de Mazagón. There is also La Playa del Parador by the Mazabo Parador Hotel.
DOÑANA NATIONAL PARK
The municipality of Moguer is also fortunate to have part of the famous Doñana National Park within its districty, which is especially famous for the birds that stop there as they migrate between Europe and Africa.
Moguer has a rich cuisine consisting of bacalao con tomate (cod with tomato), choco con habas (cuttlefish with broad beans), gazpacho de cilantro (gazpacho with coriander) and fritos y asados de pescado fresco de la costa (local fried and grilled fish). Local wines from El Condado are the perfect complement to all dishes. Sweet treats include quesadillas de almendra de Santa Clara (almond pastries), naranjas (local oranges), melocotones (local peaches) and especially the fresón (local strawberry).
In Moguer there has been a great tradition in leatherwork, specifically equine use, although other accessories are also produced. Embroidery was once popular but was forgotten for many years, until lately, where it has created a come-back.
Romería de Nuestra Señora de Montemayor
Celebrated the second weekend of May in honour of the patroness
Fiestas Patronales (Velada) de Nuestra Señora de Montemayor
Celebrated the 8 September
Romería de Nuestra Señora del Carmen
The pilgrimage is celebrated in May
Moguer is located 19kms from Huelva. To get there, take the H-31 leaving Huelva and onto the A-49 towards Seville. Take Exit 75, and the first exit at the roundabout onto the A-494 until you reach Moguer.