CASTILBLANCO DE LOS ARROYOS
by Saskia Mier
Castilblanco de los Arroyos is home to the avant-garde building, Miguel Fisac Municipal Theatre, a structure of cubes that, as an architectural piece and a modern construction, looks beautiful. It has about 5000 inhabitants.
Archaeological remains suggest the passage of several settlements; however the origin dates to the Middle Age. Roman domination is very visible in the area, such as one of the most important Roman roads of the empire, Vía de la Plata. Castilblanco de los Arroyos served as a rest place for travellers.
Castle and tower remains give evidence to the Moorish era. Castilblanco de los Arroyos as a thriving village began during the thirteenth and fifteenth centuries. Since 1253, it had belonged to La Sierra de Aroche and between 1246 and 1247 there was a Christian re-conquest by Fernando III of Castile. In 1247, King Fernando III "El Santo" created a military camp in the area of Escardiel in the siege of Seville and left an image of the Virgin de Escardiel, in commemoration.
At the end of the sixteenth century, the construction of the church was concluded. In 1594 Castilblanco de los Arroyos was part of the Kingdom of Seville.
In the seventeenth century the writer, Miguel de Cervantes, stayed in Castilblanco de los Arroyos and quoted the town in one of his novels, "Las Dos Doncellas", published in 1613. In 1669 the town appeared in the book, Viaje de Cosme Médicis por Spain y Portugal, edited by Ángel Sánchez Ribero.
King Felipe V and his court visited in 1729 for the hunting season and ordered some elements for the church, which was reformed between 1710 and 1728 by Diego Antonio Diaz and later in 1770, Ambrosio de Figueroa, added certain elements.
In the nineteenth century, French troops of Napoleon Bonaparte passed through on their way to Gibraltar and in 1834 the village suffered an epidemic of cholera.
The greatest demographic growth occurred in the first half of the twentieth century. It was given its current name, Castilblanco de los Arroyos in 1916 and attempted to industrialize palm trees, at one point reaching more than 500, and being called "La Palma".
THINGS TO SEE
Iglesia Parroquial del Divino Salvador
Mudéjar church reformed during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Located in Plaza de la Iglesia.
Casa de la Sierra (Museo Etnológico Municipal)
A regionalist building built in 1923, is currently the headquarters of the Occupational Centre for the Handicapped and a museum. A few meters from it is the Tourist Information Office. Both are used for the celebration of events and exhibitions. Located on Calle Antonio Machado.
Teatro Municipal "Miguel Fisac"
The theatre was designed by architect, Miguel Fisac, and was inaugurated on 18 February 2003 by the Councilor for Culture of the Junta de Andalucía, Doña Carmen Calvo Poyato, and the President of the Provincial Deputation of Seville, Luis P. Navarrete Mora. Architecturally avant-garde in style, it is made up of a structured system of cubes, using white concrete slabs. It also holds the Municipal Public Library "Manuel Vázquez Montalbán", an exhibition hall and dressing rooms. Located on Calle Santa Escolástica.
Monumento a Cervantes y las Dos Doncellas
A monument made by sculptor, Manuel Castaño Beza, in commemoration of the writer, Miguel de Cervantes, and his novel, "Las Dos Doncellas". Located in Parque Miguel de Cervantes.
Monumento al Cantero
Monument made in 1986 by local stonemason, Juan Carrero. Located on Calle Antonio Machado.
Monumento al Palmero
In remembrance of the men and women who dedicated themselves to the work of the palm exploitation from 1950 to 1960. Located on Avenida Antonio Machado.
Monumento al Pensionista
Monument made by, José Lemus, as a tribute to our elders. Opened in June 1990. Located in Plaza Maestro Castaño.
THINGS TO SEE OUTSIDE THE VILLAGE
Ermita de San Benito Abad
The chapel was built in the fifteenth century and where the pilgrimage in August is celebrated. Located on Camino de San Benito, 12km north-east from Castilblanco de los Arroyos, near to Pantano de los Melonares.
Ermita de Nuestra Señora de Escardiel
The chapel dates to the thirteenth century and next to it you will find Encinar de Escardiel, a natural park rich in flora and fauna as well as an education centre. Located 2.5km from Castilblanco de los Arroyos.
Centro Andaluz de Fauna Salvaje
An education centre dedicated to environmental education, protected natural spaces, wildlife species and falconry. Located at Finca El Pimpollar, Carretera Almadén de la Plata, Km.15.
Monday-Friday, by appointment only.
Saturday, Sunday and Holidays, 10:00-19:00hrs.
Price: Adults, 14.00 euro
Children, 13.00 euro
Over 65s, 10.00 euro
Tel: 955 73 47 76
Centro de Naturaleza "Encinar de Escardiel"
An education centre set in the natural space of Encinar de Escardiel equipped with, bedrooms, rural cottages, classrooms, swimming pool, sports centre, horse riding facilities, farm and allotments. Located on Carretera Almadén de la Plata, Km.3.
Tel: 954 76 80 57 or 954 76 01 33
Typical dishes to try in Castilblanco de los Arroyos include, cochinillo (suckling pig), conejo (rabbit), perdiz (partridge), carnes ibéricas (Iberican meats), carnes de caza (game meats), salmorejo (cold tomato soup), pestorejo (pork), menudo de cordero (lamb offal) and perdiz guisada (stewed partridge). Sweet treats include pestiños (honey pastries) and tortas de manteca (lard cakes). Mesón La Colina is a great place for trying these traditional home cooked dishes.
Cabalgata de Reyes Magos
Three Kings celebrated on 5 January.
Celebrated the 2 February.
El Certamen de Artesanía
A food and crafts fair with stalls from all over Andalusia. Celebrated the first few days of February.
Celebrated in Febuary.
Fiesta de Nuestra Señora de Gracia
Celebrated in July.
Romería de San Benito
Celebrated the last Sunday of August.
Romería de Escardiel
Celebrated the first and second weekend of September.