ALCALÁ DE GUADAÍRA
by Saskia Mier
Alcalá de Guadaíra used to be known as Alcalá de los Panaderos; the word panaderos meaning bread-makers, as this town supplied most of Seville's bread. It has about 75, 000 inhabitants.
According to archaeological remains found, the first stable settlements date from the Chalcolithic or Copper Age (2500-1500 BC), a period characterized by an increase in population in settlements near rivers.
Around the second century AC and because of the proximity with Híspalis, the area was quickly favoured by the Roman culture, that brought with it the Latin language, currency and the Roman law. There is little documentation of the Visigoth period since it was not established in the southern part of the Iberian Peninsula. Numerous Visigoth tombstones and inscriptions are conserved in the Museum of Alcalá de Guadaíra.
In the Battle of Guadalete, King Rodrigo lost his Kingdom. After a quick conquest based on the deals and agreements, Arab reign was imposed on the Peninsula. The name, Alcalá de Guadaíra, derives from, Qall'at Yábir (meaning castle), along with the denomination of the Guadaíra River, Wadi Ayra (Wadi ira). It served as a crossroads and defensive belt of Híspalis.
THINGS TO SEE
Castillo de Alcalá
One of the most important fortifications in the Seville province, the castle was constructed by the Almohads and modified by the Christians, who conquered the town in the mid thirteenth century under Fernando III. The area consists of the castle, the enclosed stone walls, the Palace tower named Torre Mocha and a defence wall. Located on Avenida del Águila.
Tel: 955 79 64 74
Puente del Dragón
The Bridge of the Dragon, was built as part of the ring road of Alcalá de Guadaíra, linking the A-92 (Sevilla-Almería Highway) to the A-392 (Alcalá-Dos Hermanas).
The structure was created by Sevillian engineer, José Luis Manzanares, also creator of the "Cachorro Bridge" from Seville city. It is 123m long and emulates a dragon that gets out of the Castle hill crossing the Guadaíra River, at the foot of one of the largest Almohad fortresses in Europe. Located on the A-8033.
Iglesia de Santa María del Águila
The Mudejar church was built at the end of the thirteenth century and later restored during the eighteenth and nineteenth century by Félix Hernández. Located on Calle Santa María.
Iglesia de San Miguel
The church dates to the Middle Ages but underwent a complete reconstruction during the twentieth century, except for the main façade. Located on Calle Cardenal Amigo Vallejo.
Iglesia de Santiago
Construction of the church began at the beginning of the sixteenth century under the direction of, Alonso Rodríguez, Master of the Cathedral of Seville. It was restored after the Lisbon earthquake of 1755. As a curious detail, in its southwest corner is a capital of Corinthian style and unknown origin. Located on Calle Sánchez Perrier.
Iglesia de San Sebastián
The original building dates back to the end of the fifteenth century. Various works are documented between the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, in relation to the state of ruin of the building after the earthquake of Lisbon in 1755. It was later burned in 1936 and restored again. Located on Calle Canalejas y Méndez.
Museo de la Ciudad
A museum showing an informative exhibition of the geology and palaeontology of the area located within the, Molino del Algarrobo, which dates back to the fifteenth century. The museum holds regular exhibitions of paintings, sculpture and photography. Located on Calle Calle Juez Pérez Díaz.
Tuesday-Friday, 10:00-14:00hrs (entrance through Calle Juez Pérez Díaz) and 18:00-21:00hrs (entrance through Parque Centro).
Saturday and Sunday, 10:00-14:00hrs and 19:00-21:00hrs (entrance through Parque Centro).
Tel. 955 621 964
Salón Gutiérrez de Alba
The theatre was built in 1931 by architect, Juan Talavera. Located on Calle Nuestra Señora del Águila.
THINGS TO SEE OUTSIDE THE VILLAGE
Due to the importance of its baker industry the town still has many of its preserved mills dating back from the Islamic and late Middle Age periods. You will find them along the Guadaíra River, consisting of; Molino San Juan, Molino Benarosa, Molino Algarrobo, Molino La Tapada, Molino Aceña, Molino Las Eras or San Francisco, Molino Arrabal and Molino Realaje.
Castillo de Marchenilla
The church was built at the end of the thirteenth century by the Benimerines incursions who created the fortification as a small walled enclosure reminiscent of the nearby Castillo de Alcalá. Currently private property. Located 5km south east of Alcalá de Guadaíra, off the A-360.
Saturday Morning, 10:00-14:00hrs.
Enterramientos Calcolíticos de Gandul
Among the most monumental and best-known archaeological sites in the Gandul area are the burials of the Calcolithic age (during the third millennium BC). It is the first archaeological site excavated by, Jorge Bonsor, at the end of the nineteenth century, and his investigation continues until the present day. Visits by appointment. Located east of the town, off the SE-208.
Ermita de San Roque
The chapel forms part of an ancient penitential route which is still witnessed by some of the chapels located on the hillside. It was built during the sixteenth century, although completely reconstructed at the end of the nineteenth century. Located south of the town within Pinos de Oromana, next to the Guadaíra River. Turn off at Avenida Portugal.
Hacienda La Boticaria
The farmhouse is now a sumptuous, five-star rural hotel on a country estate. See here our accommodation page. Located at Km2 on the Carretera Alcalá-Utrera.
The tourist office (oficina de turismo) is in the Casa de Cultura. Located on Calle General Prim. Tel: 955 61 68 43.
Keen golfers might like to know that the Real Club de Golf Sevilla is near Alcalá de Guadaíra. It is a fun but challenging 18 hole course, and belongs to the Parador Hotel chain.
Many traditional crafts of the town have been lost over time and today there are only a few people who, in particular, work in leather or wooden sculptures. There are also good workshops of Sevillian artistic ceramics.
Popular dishes to Alcalá de Guadaíra include aceitunas aderezadas (olives), gazpacho, ajo meneao (garlic dish), garbanza (chickpeas), perdiz con arroz (partridge with rice), bacalao con tomate (cod with tomato) and cocido de acelgas encolorao o con pringá alcalareña (chard stew with pork). Sweet dishes include tocino de cielo (egg pudding) and torta de Alcalá.
Cabalgata Reyes Magos
Three Kings procession celebrated on the evening of 5 January.
Celebrated in February.
Día de Andalucía
Celebrated the 28 February.
Día de San Isidro
Celebrated the 15 May.
Celebrated the 23-26 June.
Feria en Honor a Nuestra Señora del Águila
Celebrated the last two weeks of August.
Romería y Día del Patrón San Mateo
Celebrated the 15 September.