ALCALÁ DEL RÍO
by Saskia Mier
Alcalá del Río is an ideal location to visit during Semana Santa (Holy Week) where the town's celebrations have been declared of National Tourist Interest. It has about 11, 800 inhabitants.
It is believed that Alcalá del Río was part of the Tartessos area and that there was a rich trade with the Phoenicians of various goods, including bronze.
During the second Punic War, Publius Cornelius Scipio, nicknamed "The African", conquered the Guadalquivir valley. In 206 A.C. the last great battle on Hispanic ground took place between Carthaginians and Romans in the Battle of Ilipa, where the Carthaginian army was defeated. The Battle of Ilipa was considered by many as Scipio Africanus's most brilliant victory in his military career. It is believed to have taken place on a plain east of Alcalá del Rio, near the village of Esquivel.
The Romans built walls within the town but as from the third century they lost importance, due to the decline in metal trade and increasing role of the Híspalis port (Seville). In the Middle Ages, the Moors reformed various Roman forts and built an alcázar (Moorish castle), renaming the town, Qalat Ragwal.
In 1594 it was part of the region of the Axarafe and in 1931 a dam was built on the Guadalquivir next to the town.
THINGS TO SEE
Iglesia de Santa María de la Asunción
Mudejar church initiated in the first half of the fourteenth century and ended during the fifteenth century. At the beginning of the eighteenth century, two more sections were added and after the 1755 Lisbon earthquake the roof was restored. Located on Calle Padre Ruiz Páez.
Capilla de San Gregorio de Osset
The Mudejar chapel is dedicated to St. Gregory de Osset, also known as Gregorio Osetano. It was built in the late fifteenth century and ordered to be erected by the Catholic Monarchs, preserving in its interior a tomb with Visigothic inscription containing the remains of the Holy Confessor Gregorio de Osset. Inside is the magnificent mural painting dating to 1500, representing San Gregorio Magno, that responds to the style of the so-called "Primitive Sevillanos". Located on Calle Coronel García-Baquero.
Peñón de la Reina
A small enclosure was built by the Moors in the south-eastern sector of the fortified perimeter, which was the easiest defence location. The city recovered its role as strategic control point of the Guadalquivir, reusing the Roman fence and building a tower called Peñón del Alcázar or Peñón de la Reina, preserving about 3m of elevation. Located on Calle Alcázar.
Muralla Romana Ilipa Magna
The Roman wall declared as Cultural Interest (BIC) has a perimeter of approximately 1,500m, width of 1.20m, height exceeding 8m and encloses an interior space of 14 hectares. Constructed around the first century D.C. it is a clear example of the Romanization carried out in the Betica with the arrival of Augustus. Located on Avenida Andalucía.
Centro de Interpretación de la Muralla Romana Ilipa Magna (CIMR)
The Interpretation Centre is a museum for visitors to enjoy the Roman wall and the town's heritage. Located on Calle Sol.
For a visit, you must book in Casa de la Cultura.
Tel: 955 65 09 39
Puente, Central Hidroeléctrica y Presa
Alcalá del Rio once had a ford where the ebb of the tide made it possible to cross from one shore to another on foot. At the beginning of the twentieth century there was a wooden bridge over barges, used until the construction of the current bridge. The plan was conceived by civil engineer, Carlos Mendoza Sáez de Argandoña, and included the construction of eleven waterfalls between Cordoba and Seville. On one side of the dam a power plant, and on the other, a lock. The dam's mission is to produce a slope in the river bed in order to accumulate energy potential that, in turn, move turbines coupled to two AEG alternators generating electric power, each with a power of 3800kwa. The architectural design of both the dam and the power plant one was the work of Madrid architect, Casto Fernández Shaw. The houses that were built on the left bank of the river were for the technical staff, equipped with gardens designed by Javier de Winthuysen. Located on Calle Pje Real.
Jardines de Winthuysen
In 1931, the Sociedad Canalización y Fuerzas del Guadalquivir asked Javier de Winthuysen to landscape the whole of the Hydroelectric Power Plant. The project included the gardens surrounding the power plant, temporary garden, main garden, orchards, and on the other side of the road, a garden with trees. Many areas are inspired by the history of Alcalá del Río with ceramic pieces made by the Manuel García Montalván Ceramic Factory in Triana. Javier de Winthuysen finished the project in 1934 with an approximate surface area of 3,062m2. Located on Calle La Banda.
Yacimiento Calcolítio y Tartésico La Angorrilla
La Angorrilla is an archaeological site used as a population during the Chalcolithic era and as a necropolis during the Tartessos and Roman eras. It is located on a slight elevation an old terrace on the right bank of the River Guadalquivir and the necropolis is located outside the village about 800 meters south-west of the town, separated by a trough originating from the Caganchas seasonal stream, which led to the Guadalquivir.
The gastronomy of Alcalá del Río is very rich and varied, emphasizing the typical dishes such as salmorejo (tomato soup), potaje de garbanzas pelados (chickpea stew), albures con tomate (fish in tomato sauce), tomates con bacalao (tomatoes with cod) and lomo en adobo (marinated loin of pork). For sweet treats try the torrijas (honey eggy bread) and Sevillian pestiños (honey pastries).
Tapestry is a typical handicraft of Alcalá del Río.
Cabalgata Reyes Magos
Three Kings procession celebrated on the evening of 5 January.
Celebrated in February.
Feria de Esquivel
Celebrated the 16 July.
Festival de la Virgen del Carmen
Celebrated the 16 July.
Feria de San Ignacio del Viar
Celebrated the 31 July.
Feria de San Gregorio de Osseth
Celebrated the second week of September.