ALMADÉN DE LA PLATA
by Saskia Mier
Almadén de la Plata is set within the Comarca Sierra Norte area of Seville province, to the west of Cazalla de la Sierra. It has about 1,500 inhabitants.
Almadén de la Plata has been populated since the final Neolithic period. During the Chalcolithic period (3000-2000 BC), the municipality experienced significant population growth.
A Necropolis (now the La Traviesa museum) dates to the Bronze Age (1700-1500 BC), along with a nearby copper mine. Discoveries of two Tartesic gravestones date back to the Bronze Age and to the beginning of the Iron Age. These gravestones, together with a cremation burial pit excavated in the Tholos Palace IIImegalithic complex, are the only tangible archaeological recordsthat offer insights into the native, indigenous society before it entered into history.
Dating to Roman times, this small settlement's main source of wealth came from marble quarries; hence its name, Pagus Marmorarius, which translated from Latin means "village of marbles". Iron, copper and silver mines existed thanksto the detection of slag and minerals in local archaeological sites.
During the Moorish period, it was called Al-Medín Balat, meaning "mines of the road". It thus owed its name to the important role of its old mines, especially marble and silverware.
The Knights of the Order of Santiago conquered Al-Medín Balat from the Moors. After the re-conquest, Fernando III of Castile granted its village title.
Book hotels in Almaden de la Plata
THINGS TO SEE
Torre de Reloj (Antiguo Casa Consistorial)
The clock tower stands above the previous Town Hall built in the fifteenth century as a hospital known as the "Hospital de los Ángeles" (Hospital of the Angels), later becoming a chapel in the seventeenth century. In 1905, the neo-Mudejar style clock tower was built, standing 27 metres in height. At present it houses municipal offices, and is located in Plaza de la Constitución.
Castillo Medieval (Ayuntamiento)
The Town Hall is built on the ruins of a medieval castle dating to the fourteenth century. The castle was used to protect a mine, where today stands the Iglesia Santa María de Gracia. The medieval castle was divided into several parts: Torre del Homenaje, Torres de Flanqueo, El "Aljibe" o "Pozo" and La Muralla. Along with other castles in the area, the "Banda Gallega" protected the Kingdom of Seville from the Portuguese and other possible invaders, as well as providing security to traders of the Silver Route. In the eighteenth century part of the remains of the castle were used to build a municipal warehouse to store grain. In the twentieth century, part of the castle's land was sold and private houses were constructed. In 1997 the part of the castle that was still municipal property was reformed. Today, remains of the castle are preserved as well as part of the Torre del Homenaje with the original door and part of the Torre del Cubo. Located in Plaza de la Constitución.
Iglesia de Santa María de Gracia
The church dates to the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, featuring a Renaissance style and Baroque decoration, and built by Vermondo Resta and Hernán Ruiz II. On 4 January 1953, it suffered a very serious fire that destroyed some of its artistic treasures, including the Baroque altar, a picture of the Divina Pastora and an image of the Virgen del Rosario. Restored in 2002, the church Is located inCalle Iglesia.
Plaza de Toros
The bullring was inaugurated on 28 August 1994, and originally only had half a public stand until 2010, when the other half was added. It is used for 'novilladas' and 'rejoneo' (amateur and horse-back bullfighting), as well as equestrian events. Located in Barriada el Crucero.
Almadén de la Plata offers an extensive network of trails and viewpoints throughout the area, peacefully surrounded by meadows and typical Mediterranean land, ideal for cycling, riding and walking. The area and natural landscapes especially worth a visit are: El Berrocal (natural reserve), Los Covachos (Neolithic site and ancient Roman quarries), La Bordalla (viewpoint at a summit), La Traviesa (archeological site, viewpoint and astronomical centre), El Calvario (crosses on the Camino de Santiago and a viewpoint), Ribera de Cala (recreational area of Divina Pastora pilgrimage), Arroyo de Las Calzadillas (El Chorro waterfalls), Arroyo de Gargantafría, Arroyo de la Mojonera (Las Hoyas), and Río Viar. Most of these places are accessible on foot from Almadén de la Plata.
The gastronomy is based on local products such as game (rabbit, partridge, pigeon, venison, etc), typically eaten in stews, as well as a variety of Iberian pork dishes. Other popular dishes include migas molineras (fried bread with fried eggs and chorizo) and caldillo de Almadén (vegetables with several cuts of pork). Sweet treats include melojas, pestiños and boyas (honey pastries), as well as buñuelos (sugared dumplings) and rebanadas (eggy bread).
Celebrated in February.
Feria del Jamón
'Jamón' fair celebrated on the third weekend of March.
Fiesta de los Judas
Celebrated on Resurrection Sunday. Stuffed mannequins are made and placed around the village.
Romería en Honor a Nuestra Divina Pastora
Pilgrimage celebrated the third weekend of May.
Fiesta del Pirulito
To welcome the summer, celebrated the weekend before San Juan.
Cultural week of activities, performance, etc., celebrated during July.
Fiestas en Honor a Nuestra Señora la Virgen de Gracia
Celebrated the first Saturday of August.
Feria de Agosto
Annual summer fair celebrated the week of 15 August.
Cristo del Crucero
Celebrated the Saturday before 14 September.
A wild game and fishing fair celebrated the last Sunday of September.
Live nativity on weekends during December.
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