by Saskia Mier
Aznalcóllar was previously known as 'Iptucci' by the Romans, who used this area extensively for mining pyrite. It has about 6,100 inhabitants.
Aznalcóllar is of Celtic origin and is located within the territory of the ancient city of Tejada. It was later conquered from Turdetani control by the Carthaginians in 237 B.C.,when the local mines were exploited.
The Romans later took over the Aznalcóllar area and used the land for agriculture.
The Barbaras also exploited the mines after the Romans, but olive production was the most popular. The empire was invaded by Franks, Visigoths, Suevians, Vandals, Alans, Burgundians, Heruli, Ostrogoths, African Berbers and Parthians of Persia.
The Visigoths settled near where the Monastery of the Tardón would be today, working the mines. They confronted the Moors in 844, but were defeated. Its current name comes from the Arabic 'hanz-al-kollar', meaning walled enclosure.
The Almohads owned Tejada and all the surrounding area between 1146 and 1147. The exact date of its conquest by the master Santiago is unknown; however, it is thought to have been in 1247, if we consider that he later conquered Albaida del Aljarafe in 1246, and Gerena the following spring. In 1594, Aznalcóllar was part of the Kingdom of Seville in Axarafe.
During the eighteenth century, the Portuguese took advantage of the situation to harass settlements west of the Kingdom of Seville, including Aznalcóllar.
On 25 April 1998, the Doñana Disaster, also known as the Aznalcóllar Disaster, occurred. The mineral waste retaining wall at the Swedish-owned pyrite Los Frailes mine burst, causing the most harmful environmental and socio-economic disaster in Andalucia. Approximately 4-5 million cubic metres of mine tailings, containing dangerous levels of several heavy metals, quickly leaked into the River Agrio and River Guadiamar, travelling 40 kilometresin distance. Due to the immense damage caused the regional government decided in May 1998 to finance a comprehensive, multi-disciplinary research initiative with the objective of eradicating or at least minimising all of the negative social, economic and environmental impacts. The cleanup operation took three years: almost 2,000 birds, chicks, eggs, and nests were killed or destroyed and more than 25,000 kilos of dead fish were collected in the aftermath. The concession to mine again in Aznalcóllar was awardedby the Junta de Andalucía in 2015.
THINGS TO SEE
Iglesia de NuestraSeñora de la Consolación
The church was built over the ruins of an original gothic Mudejar church during the eighteenth century. Looting and fires in 1936 destroyed many works of this church, which have not yet been restored to this day. Located in Plaza Fuente Clara.
Cerro del Castillo
The remains of the castle date to the Bronze Age and reached great splendour in the Roman and Islamic era. From here you can see the entire Aljarafe area and the surrounding countryside to the south. Some wall paintings discovered in the archaeological excavation of 1995 can still be seen today. Located in Calle Cementerio.
The chapel of the cemetery was part of the old Mudejar church of Aznalcóllar, possibly built in the fourteenth century. The chapel was demolished in 1782, and only a part of its ruins still stand today. It has been restored on several occasions, due to dampness caused by water seepage and multiple cracks in the main entrance. Located in Calle Madrileno.
Capilla de la Cruz de Arriba
The small chapel was inaugurated in 1927. Its interior contains the works of Don Manuel Guzmán Bejarano, Rossi and Castillo Lastrucci. Located in Plazuela Cruz de Arriba.
Capilla de la Cruz de Abajo
The chapel was built in the 1950s and is home toa painting by Don Juan Manfredi. The twentieth century cross was remodelled in 1973. Located in Plaza del Alamillo.
THINGS TO SEE OUTSIDE THE VILLAGE
Torreón de la Dehesilla
Torreón de la Dehesilla is a seven-metre high tower that stands on an elevation, perfectly visible from Cerro del Castillo. It formed part of an extensive defensive system of the Almohad period. The Torreón de la Dehesilla is located four kilometresto the south of Aznalcóllar, next to Cortijo El Negro and Cortijo Garci Bravo.
Molino del Arroyo de los Frailes
A mill belonging to the Convento de NuestraSeñora del Buen Suceso, it was founded by Count Duque de Olivares. The state of its remains gives an idea of its characteristics and function.
Analysis of these archaeological remains took place in 2012 and suggested the mill was abandoned in the late eighteenth or early nineteenth century. The mill is located on the right bank of Arroyo de los Frailes, belonging to the Paisaje Protegido Corredor Verde del Guadiamar.
Convento de Nuestra Señora del BuenSuceso
The monastery, now having disappeared following construction of the mines, was founded in 1634 by Don Gaspar de Guzmán, Duke of Olivares. This archaeological site, dating from the seventeenth century, was excavated in the 1990s. It had a convent, orchard and mill.
Puente del Ferrocarril
This viaduct (bridge) was constructed by the Compañía Gaditana de Minas on Arroyo de los Frailes and is one of the few-from the total number of bridges created for the railroad-that are currently preserved. The line ran between the La Caridad mine in Aznalcóllar and Muelle de los Gordales in San Juan de Aznalfarache, with a length of 33,610 kilometre,and it passed through Camas, Valencina, Santiponce, Salteras, Olivares and Sanlucar la Mayor transporting mining materials. This is the route for Via Verde Italica.
Restos del Acueducto Romano de Itálica
These are the remains of the aqueduct that carried water to the city of Itálica, built in the second century A.D. and covering more than 35 kilometres. Located on the A-477 towards Gerena.
For those of us who are golfers, there is one quaint nine-hole course in Aznalcázar, Las Minas Golf, only a 20-minutedrive from Seville. For more information on golf courses, clubs and resorts please visit our Golf home.
Aznalcóllar has a wonderful variety of natural areas for keen nature lovers including Corredor Verde del Guadiamar, Arroyo de los Frailes, Complejo Serrano de Interés Ambiental Madroñalejo, Dehesa del Palmar, Embalse del Agrio, Dehesa del Perro, Dehesa de "Caña Honda", Dehesa del Campillo, Charcofrío, Vía Verde de Itálica, Carretera Paisajística Aznalcóllar-El Madroño and CarreteraPaisajística El Castillo de las Guardas Aznalcóllar.
When visiting Aznalcóllar, it is worth trying one of the many traditional dishes such as migas (fried bread), puchero en colorao (port stew), cocido de calabazas (pumpkin stew), puchero en amarillo (chicken stew), papas en paseo (stewed potatoes with egg) and repápalos (meatballs), as well as game meats: perdiz (partridge), venado (venison), jabalí (boar) and liebre (hare). Sweet treats include pestiños (honey pastries), torrijas (eggy bread) and poleá (semolina made with aniseed liqueur).
Cabalgata Reyes Magos
Three Kings procession celebrated on the evening of 5 January.
Celebrated in March-April.
Celebrated the last week of July.
Fiesta Patronales NuestraSeñora de Fuente Clara
Celebrated the first weekend of September.
Cruz de Abajo
Celebrated 15 August.