CASTILLEJA DE LA CUESTA
by Saskia Mier
Castilleja de la Cuesta has always been specifically well known for the production of homemade desserts but more recently has become a large retail town. It has about 17, 500 inhabitants.
The first settlement dates to the Chalcolithic era, however, embedded within Tartessic territory. After the disappearance of Tartessos and the proliferation of small Kingdoms, the settlement was fortified after the Roman invasion of Hispania. The name Castilleja derives from the Latin word, Castra, meaning fortress.
In Visigothic and Moorish Hispania it was known as Castalla Talaçana. After the conquest of King Fernando III of Castile of Seville in 1248, it was called Alixar, but soon went back to Castalla. The settlement was divided in two by Alfonso X. A part was given to his uncle, Rodrigo Alsono, who in turn exchanged it with the Order Military of Santiago in 1267 for an inheritance near to Benavente.
In 1539, Carlos I sold Castilleja de la Cuesta to the Count of Olivares, Pedro Perez de Guzmán y Zúñiga. The mayor, Pedro de Castañeda, gave the town to the Count except for the street, Calle Real, which at that time belonged to the town of Tomares. Successive Counts of Olivares tried to acquire the street, until the Count-Duke of Olivares, Gaspar de Guzmán, obtained it in 1624. In the nineteenth century the dominions were abolished and the town was passed into the hands of the Town Hall as from 1808.
THINGS TO SEE
Palacio de Hernán Cortés
The Palace is an illustrious building and was owned by a Mayor of Seville, El Jurado Rodriguez. The garden holds a curious stone slate, with an inscription reading: Cordobés.
It is the name of the horse that saved the life of Hernán Cortés in the Batalla de la Noche Triste (battle). Today the Palace is an Irish School. Located on Calle Real.
Iglesia de Santiago Apósto
The Mudejar church dates to the fourteenth century, although was reformed during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The main altarpiece is of Neo-Gothic style, made between the late nineteenth to early twentieth century. However, the church has older carvings. Located in Plaza de Santiago.
Iglesia Parroquial de Nuestra Señora de la Concepción
The first hermitage was built after the Re-conquest but the present church was erected in 1834. The greater Baroque altarpiece was made by, Cristóbal de Guadix, between 1702 and 1706. The church is decorated with tiles from the mid-twentieth century by, Juan Oliver, and contains an organ from the eighteenth century. Located on Calle Real.
Iglesia Parroquial Matriz de Santiago del Mayor
The Mudejar church dates to the fourteenth century and has had various restoration works done to it throughout the nineteenth century. The bell tower dates to the seventeenth century. Located in Plaza de Santiago.
Hacienda de la Sagrada Familia
The manor house was built between the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Formerly its own chapel that eventually became the village chapel. It is a good example of the Andalusian regional architecture and also conserves the tower of the oil mill. It has been reformed as a library and culture house. Located on Calle Enmedio.
Hacienda de San Ignacio
Until the nineteenth century it was home to a Jesuit convent, founded by San Ignacio de Loyola. It was property of the family, Sáiz de Rozas around 1880, but today is a hotel. Located on Calle Real.
Hacienda Santa Bárbara
The house was acquired in 1885 by, Ana Cansino Cabrera, however after losing its agricultural and residential use since 1991, it now belongs to the Town Hall and is currently a hotel. Located on Calle Príncipe de Asturias.
THINGS TO SEE OUTSIDE THE VILLAGE
Ermita de Nuestra Señora de Guía
A chapel of oriental origin destined for religious purposes such as small rituals, dating from the Almohad period and lately has been in danger of collapse. Located in Calle Camino de Guia.
Castilleja de la Cuesta offers a rich variety of locally grown vegetables such as berenjenas (auberguine), calabazas (pumpkin), coles (cabbages), espárragos (asparagus), espinacas (spinach) and alcachofas (artichokes), usually found in stews or even on their own. Fish and seafood is also among the rich gastronomic offerings of Castilleja de la Cuesta. However it is the traditional cakes which are most well known, reflecting the passage of different cultures that have left their mark on the area. These include tortas de aceite (olive oil torts), pestiños (sweet pastries) and tortas (spiced torts).
Cabalgata Reyes Magos
Three Kings procession celebrated on the evening of 5 January.
Celebrated in February.
Día de Andalucía
Celebrated the 28 February.
Fiestas de Cruz
Celebrated in May.
Festividad de la Virgen de Guía
Celebrated at the end of May, beginning of June.
Vela de Santiago Apóstol
Celebrated the 25 July.
Fiestas en honor de la Inmaculada Concepción
Celebrated the 1 to 8 December.
Celebrated from the 16 to 25 December.