by Saskia Mier
Gilena is unique in the vast number of archaeological remains that have been found here. Artefacts from the Bronze Age and Roman era, as well as Catholic and Visigoth graves, are examples of what has been discovered. It has about 3,800 inhabitants.
Gilena owes its name to an evolution of the word for flint, "Sílex" or "Silena". During Moorish denomination, it was known as "Lugar de Gilena", later in the re-conquest it was changed to "Puebla de Gilena" and, constitutionally as, "Villa de Gilena".
Due to its geographical situation, all the civilizations that have been inhabited in the Iberian Peninsula have passed through its lands. All of them have left traces of occupation, from the Chalcolithic, Iberians, Romans, Visigoths and Moors.
These lands played host to one of the battles that were fought between the legions of the Caesar and Pompeyo, historical moment that resulted in the shield of the town.
Gilena was head of an agricultural district of the Cora during Moorish occupation and appeared in the work of the geographer, Yavut or Yaqut al Hamawi, during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, where produce was harvested in the Ribera.
When the Marquesado de Estepa was constituted, in the time of the reign of Felipe II, Gilena happened to be part of it until 1837, date in which the jurisdictional Señoríos dissolved. Also during the same period it became part of the Vicaría de Estepa, an institution that depended directly on the Pope.
THINGS TO SEE
Iglesia de la Purísima Concepción de Nuestra Señora
The church was built around the year 1620 by order of the Marquises of Estepa, of Romanic origin; its original part is of the seventeenth century. Reformations and additions were made later in the same century and during the eighteenth century. Located on Paseo de Andalucía.
Museo de Pintura Contemporánea Francisco Maireles Vela
The museum was founded in 2006 after three years of construction, creating one of the most important and interesting museums in relation to contemporary art in the region of the Sierra Sur. The initiative came from the illustrious painter, Francisco Maireles Vela. Thus there is a room in the museum with a series of his works. The exhibition not only shows paintings but also drawings, engravings, sculpture, poetry, as well as an important number of titles and prizes. Located in Plaza Virgen de los Dolores.
October-March, Tuesday-Friday, 10:00-13:00hrs and 17:00-19:00hrs.
October-March, Saturday, Sunday and Holidays, 10:00-13:00hrs.
April-September, Tuesday-Friday, 09:30-13:00hrs and 19:00-21:00hrs.
April-September, Saturday, Sunday and Holidays, 10:00-13:00hrs.
Prices: Adult, 1 euro
Under 10 and Over 65, Free
Tel: 955 82 60 43
THINGS TO SEE OUTSIDE THE VILLAGE
Ermita de Nuestra Señora de la Salud
The chapel was built by a resident of the village, Francisco de Paula Gálvez Gómez, in gratitude for having been saved from the disease of the Asian morbid cholera of 1890. It was completed in 1891. In 2013 the chapel began restoration which lasted a period of several years. Located on the A-353.
Gilena offers a few routes for walkers and cyclers. They range from medium to difficult in level and from a distance of 5Km right up to 8.2Km. From all routes one can enjoy the flora and fauna that the area has to offer.
Dishes to try when visiting Gilena include gazpacho, salmorejo, conejo al ajillo (garlic rabbit), patatas con caldillo (stewed potatoes), migas (fried bread), cazuela de habas (broad beans), espárragos con caldillo (asparagus in sauce) and tortillitas de bacalao (cod fritters). Sweet treats include gachas (similar to polenta), rosquillos fritos (sugared fritters) and arroz con leche (rice pudding).
Cabalgata Reyes Magos
Three Kings procession celebrated on the evening of 5 January.
Fiesta de la Candelaria
Celebrated the 2 February.
Celebrated in February.
Romería de San Isidoro del Campo
Celebrated the first weekend of May.
Celebrated the 11-14 August.
Festividad de Nuestra Señora del Rosario
Celebrated the 7 October.
Día de los Santos Inocentes
Celebrated the 28 December.