by Saskia Mier
Situated to the south of Seville, on the N-IV old Cadiz road, Dos Hermanas is the second-biggest and most important town by population in Seville province, and the ninth-largest town in Andalucia, with about 120,000 inhabitants.
If you enter Seville from Jerez, Cadiz or the Costa del la Luz on the modern A4 motorway, you bypass Dos Hermanas completely. However on the N-IV, as you approach the Andalucian capital, you will notice a large number of industrial estates and apartment blocks close to the road, which appear to be part of Seville's larger urban area - this is Dos Hermanas. There's much more to the town, which has a number of historic monuments and parks of interest (see below), and is known for its racecourse, the Gran Hipodromo de Andalucía (see below).
Many different settlements have existed in the area such as Orippo, a Roman city on the Via Augusta from Rome to Cadiz, previously populated by Turdetanos, an Iberian tribe. You can see the ruins, in Poligono Industrial Carretera de la Isla.
There is no record of any population during the Arab period; the lands that currently form Dos Hermanas were part of the Kora of Seville, with several farms.
The origin of the present settlement dates to the division of lands made after the conquest of Seville by the Castilian King, Fernando III, in 1248.His son, Alfonso X, bestowed the terrains on soldiers of his triumphant forces: the area containing the present day town belonged to Gonzalo Nazareno. This distribution led to the repopulation of the area and among others, the arrival of his two sisters, Elvira and Estefanía Nazareno, hence the name of the town - Dos Hermanas. For this reason, the locals are called narazeno/as.
The oldest document referring to Dos Hermanas dates to 1404. During the 16th and 17th centuries, the town was villa derealenga (directly dependanton the Crown). From 1631 to 1636, it belonged to the Casa de Arcos, and after this date the Lordship and jurisdiction passed to the Pedrosa family.
In 1911, by Royal Decree, the City Council was awarded Excellence, as Dos Hermanas grew in commercial and industrial status, becoming of the first Spanish cities to exporttable olives to the United States.
Dos Hermanas has had a territorial dispute with larger neighbour Seville since the Civil War about four neighbourhoods, including Los Bermejales and Bellavista. It also has one of the lowest foreign-born proportions of population in Andalucia, at only 2.5%.
The town is known historically for its olives, but also produces cotton and wheat.
THINGS TO SEE
Alquería del Pilar
The Neo-mudéjar style building with horseshoe arches, which looks like a defensive fortress, was built in 1872 by the diplomat and poet, Jose Lamarque de Novoa and his wife, the poet Antonia Díaz. The Alquería was a meeting place for poets, painters, literati, musicians and politicians, becoming the centre of the Sevillian intelligentsia of the time. The building is surrounded by Alquería del Pilar Park, which may have been designed by Forestier. The Alquieria is currently headquarters of the local police. Located on Avenida 28 de Febrero.
Opening hours: Monday-Sunday, 07:00-13:00
Tel: 954 91 95 00
Palacio de Alperiz
The palace was built around 1905 by the architect José Solares, and master builder Rafael López, as the home of the Alpériz family. One of the best examples of neo-regionalist architecture in the province of Seville, its gardens are rich in character, with statues, little plazas and ceramics. It is currently used as a day centre and care home. Located on Avenida 28 de Febrero.
Centro Cultural La Almona
This building was once an olive oil mill, part of Hacienda de Montefrio.The original façade and lookout tower have been restored, and there's also a 17th-century baroque tiled mill tower. La Almonawas restored in the 1990s and is currently a Cultural Centreas well as holding an archaeological collection.Located on Calle Real Utrera.
Opening hours: Monday-Sunday, 09:00-14:00 and 18:00-21:00
Price: Free entrance
Tel: 955 67 92 08
Iglesia Parroquial de Santa María Magdalena
The church dates from the second half of the 16th century, later remodelled in the 18th century and restored in 1940 by architect, Aurelio Gómez Millán. Located in Plaza Constitución.
Capilla de Santa Ana
The chapel dates from the 13th century, was rebuilt in the 19th century and restored in 1996. You can visit the cave where the image of Santa Ana was discovered. Located on Calle Santa Ana.
The town hall is in Regionalist style, built between 1939 and 1942 by architects Juan Talavera y Heredia and Antonio Delgado y Roig. It was restored in the late 1990s. Located in Plaza Constitución.
Teatro Municipal Juan Rodríguez Romero
The Municipal Theatre was built by architect Juan Ruesga and seats 455; it is equipped with the latest technical equipment. Located on Calle Nuestra Señora de Valme.
THINGS TO SEE OUTSIDE THE TOWN
Ermita de Nuestra Señora de Valme
The Mudejar-style chapel was reconstructed by the Dukes of Montpensier in 1859 with architect Balbino Marron. Located within the grounds of the Cortijo de Cuarto in the Bellavista area, off the N-IV.
Gran Hipodromo de Andalucía
The 155-hectare race course has a capacity of 10,000 people and is the largest in Spain, with four race tracks:a 2,000m grass one and a 1,800m sand one, plus a warm-up track of 1,600m and an obstacle track of 1,400m. Race days are celebrated alternating with those of Hippodrome Costa del Sol. Located on Avenida de las Universidades.
The race course is also home to La Herradura, an equestrian centre specialising in equine therapy and riding for the disabled. The centre also offers lessons, pony club, clinics, courses and camps.
Tel: 955 05 27 37.
Dos Hermanas offers many gardens and green areas for public use: Parque de la Alquería, Parque de los Pinos, Parque de la Laguna de Fuente de Rey, Parque de la Colina, Parque de las Cuatro Estaciones, Parque Convento de San José, Parque Periurbano de la Corchuela, Parque del Hipódromo and Parque Metropolitano de la Dehesa.
Dos Hermanas was built on one of the earliest railway lines in Andalucia. In the early 1860s the route between Seville and Jerez was constructed and Dos Hermanas station dates from this era. This line connects Utrera, Las Cabezas de San Juan, Lebrija, Jerez, Puerto Real, San Fernando y Cádiz. Slightly later, when the Bobadilla (for Malaga and Granada) line was constructed, it joined the former at Dos Hermanos. This means that passengers from Malaga or Granada to Jerez or Cadiz might find it quicker to change at Dos Hermanas rather than Seville Santa Justa. The Seville to Cadiz route is slowly being upgraded to take the AVE high-speed train.
Dos Hermanas is also the last station on Línea C-1 of the Seville Cercanías (local) train network.
Olivar de Quintos metro station is located several km north of the town centre, and is the southern terminus of the Seville Metro Line 1. Plans to build a tranvia (tram) to connect the metro station with the centre were abandoned due to economic reasons.
Bus companies Los Amarillos and Casal operate services to Seville Prado de San Sebastián bus station and other villages in Seville and the surrounding area.
Typical dishes to try in Dos Hermanas include gazpacho, pimientos asados (roast peppers), pescao frito (fried fish), puchero en colorao (pork stew), puchero de arroz (rice stew), garbanzos y gallina (chickpeas and chicken), caracoles con salsa sopeada (snails in sauce), caldereta de pavo (turkey stew), carne con tomate (meat in tomato sauce), tarvinas de bacalao (cod), espinacas con garbanzos (chickpeas and spinach), menudo or callos (offal), papas aliñás (marinated potato) and sopa de picadillo (stock with jamón and egg). Sweet treats include magdalenas (muffins), cruasanes (croissants), bollos de leche (milk buns), tortas de aceite (olive oil biscuits), torrijas (eggy bread) and yemas de San Lorenzo (egg yolk-based pudding).
Spanish popular music duo, Los del Río, who are widely known for their international hit single, Macarena, are from Dos Hermanas, and still reside in the city.
Football club Atletico Dos Hermanas CF was founded in 2014, replacing Dos Hermanos CF, which enjoyed four spells playing in national leagues, including Segunda B, between 1999 and 2002, and was relegated to Primera Andaluza (highest regional league) in 2010.
Universidad Pablo de Olavide
This public university was founded in 1997 with about 10,000 students. Its campus originates on the old Universidad Laboral de Sevilla and is technically located on the borders of Dos Hermanas, Alcalá de Guadaíra and Sevilla. The university is named after the Hispanic-Peruvian writer, lawyer and politician Pablo de Olavide, who carried out many reforms in Seville (1725-1803).
Universidad Loyola Andalucía
This private Catholic university in Seville, run by the Society of Jesus, opened in 2011.Loyola Leadership School, its postgraduate department, is located in Dos Hermanas. It has another campus in Cordoba, and is connected with other Loyola Universities in Rome and Chicago. Located in the Entrenúcleos district of Dos Hermanas.
Traditional craftsmanship includes stained glass, cabinetmaking, saddlery and artistic binding.
Cabalgata Reyes Magos
Three Kings procession celebrated on the evening of 5 January.
Celebrated in February.
Día de Andalucía
Celebrated on 28 February.
Feria de Mayo
Celebrated in mid-May.
Velada de Fuente del Rey
Celebrated in June.
Fiestas Patronales de Santiago y Santa Ana
Celebrated at the end of July.
Velada de Montequinto
Celebrated in September.
Romería de Valme
Celebrated the third Sunday in October. The Pilgrimage was declared in 1976 Celebration of Tourist Interest.