by Saskia Mier
Almensilla was built over farmland that, in the Middle Ages, was converted into a hamlet belonging to Palomares del Río. It has about 5900 inhabitants.
It is suggested that Almensilla was founded by the Moors, initially an alquería belonging to Serra-al-Mensi, a Moorish settlement. Due to the enormous wealth of spring water, the Moors considered it an ideal place to settle, as it ensured the irrigation of their crops.
Some suggest the name came from the Latin word Mensilla, meaning 'small plateau', and the Moors later adding Al to merge both words after the Christian re-conquest.
Along with other neighbouring towns of the region, Almensilla belonged to the Count-Duke of Olivares, which was validated by King Felipe IV. During the Middle Ages, Almensilla became a village belonging to Palomares del Río, and it was in 1837 that it became independent.
It underwent a huge population growth during the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, as large numbers of people from the capital moved out in search of affordable housing.
THINGS TO SEE
Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de la Antigua
The Mudejar church was restored during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. During part of the year, the church is home to a seventeenth century sculpture of the patron of Almensilla, San Diego de Alcalá. Located in Plaza de la Iglesia.
Hacienda de Quinta
La Hacienda de Quinta is a rustic manor house reconstructed around the seventeenth century, suggesting the original house must have been very old, since several Visigoth inscriptions have been found on the floor. It includes an oil mill, a tower and medieval architecture. Located on Calle de la Virgen Antigua.
Hacienda de San Antonio
The Neo-Classical Hacienda de San Antonio dates to the eighteenth century and is attached to the Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de la Antigua. It once belonged to the Count of Santa Barbara and is beautifully conserved. A ceramic plaque dating to 1640 is still visible. Located in Plaza de la Iglesia.
The Town Hall clock still works today and was constructed at the end of the nineteenth century. Located in the Plaza de Iglesia.
THINGS TO SEE OUTSIDE THE VILLAGE
Ermita de San Diego
The contemporary chapel's construction began in 1967 in order to house the image of San Diego, which arrived that same year in an unknown way. Construction finished in 1968, and the two bells were baptized Diego and Ludgarda. Located in Pinares de San Diego, Vereda del Camino de Aznalcázar.
Hacienda de Santo Patriarca
A small manor house with a central well, mill, stables, hayloft and additional housing, reconstructed during the twentieth century. Located on the road from Almensilla-La Juliana.
Hacienda de Majalcófar
Its name suggests the manor house was originally a Moorish farmhouse, rebuilt totally in the nineteenth century with a Neo-Classic style. It contains the remains of what was once an old beam mill. Located on the SE-646, Carretera Almensilla-Bollullos de la Mitación.
Almensilla offers a rich gastronomy with dishes to try such as sopeao (similar to gazpacho, served with hard-boiled egg, tuna and bread), migas (fried bread), tortillitas (fried crisps made with cod or shrimp) and pringá (slow cooked meat). Locally harvested olives is particularly popular in Almensilla, as well as olive oil and mosto (must). Sweet treats include torrijas (fried eggy bread), rosquitos, pestiños, rosas (sweet pastries), galletas fritas (fried biscuits stuffed with custard) and rollitos (doughnuts stuffed with custard).
Cabalgata Reyes Magos
Three Kings procession celebrated on the evening of 5 January.
Celebrated in February.
Fiesta de San Sebastián
Celebrated the 20 January.
Día de Andalucía
Celebrated the 28 February.
Romería de San Diego
Celebrated the third Sunday of May.
Feria de Almensilla
Celebrated the last week of June.
Fiesta del Corazón de Jesús
Celebrated on 16 June.