by Saskia Mier
Guillena is located close to the Club de Golf Hato Verde, therefore being an ideal location for keen golfers. It has about 12, 500 inhabitants.
Guillena has been inhabited since prehistory, as suggested by two local megalithic graves; la de Caniallas and El Serrano. The name of Guillena derives from a Roman estate called Casa de Agilis or Gaelius.
There are many archaeological sites in the area that confirm existence of a settlement during the Roman era, such as in the bullring, as well as other findings confirming the route of the Roman road nº XXII that united the mouth of the River Guadiana with Mérida. Remains of the Visigoth period have also been found in Casa de Maera.
During Moorish occupation, Guillena became an important location, due to its system for defending entrances to Seville from Sierra Morena. When Guillena was attacked by San Fernando, the Moors who occupied the fortress of Guillena (nowadays the bullring) handed it over to San Fernando, who then allowed the Moors to continue living in the village. For centuries, it was a Moorish settlement.
In 1247, Fernando III "El Santo" conquered Guillena and in 1286, it was granted village title by Sancho IV. In 1631 Perafán de Rivera, Conde de la Torre, buys the Señorío of Guillena and in 1639, Felipe IV grants him civil and criminal jurisdiction.
THINGS TO SEE
Iglesia Parroquial de Nuestra Señora de la Granada
The Gothic-Mudejar style church was built at the beginning of the fifteenth century, with a main Baroque altarpiece of the eighteenth century and the most important image of the Virgin del Rosario, made by the famous sculptor, Jerónimo Hernández, in 1578. Located in Plaza Francisco Sousa Valdivia.
Plaza de España
The main square has always been the meeting place for the locals inaugurated during the sixties. The most important reform was carried out in 1993, losing the originality of the fountain. The town hall is the most important building of the Plaza de España, which still retains its neoclassical style of 1782.
Plaza de Toros
In the bullring there is a milestone that once marked the distance between Itálica and Mons Mariorum (road No. XXII), that was built by Emperor Hadrian, and connected Itálica with Mérida passing through Guillena and Las Pajanosas. The bullring was built on the remains of a Moorish castle in 1400. In 1881, the bull ring was used to celebrate bullfights and from 1959-1966 was reformed. It was then abandoned until 1991 when it was restored to host bullfights once again. There have been many cultural events, films and theatre productions shown over the years and is currently waiting for a Bullfighting Museum to be created. Located on Calle Joaquín Costa.
THINGS TO SEE OUTSIDE THE VILLAGE
Palacio de Parladé
The manor was built in 1914 by Mr. Parladé Heredia. Apparently it followed the model of another castle of similar characteristics, of the same family, located in Marbella. Originally run as a working farm, it now specializes in the breeding of bulls. Located south of the Embalse de Cala, off the SE-186.
Cortijo Torre de la Reina
The Cortijo Torre de la Reina dates to the conquest of Seville. At the end of the thirteenth century, it was owned by Queen Maria de Molina and remained in the Crown until the middle of the fifteenth century, and later passed into the hands of Perafán de Ribera, Mayor of Andalusia. Its extraordinary architecture and variety and conservation of its extensive gardens make it unique. It is currently a hotel and has been declared National Historical-Artistic Monument since 1977. Located 7km froim Guillena on Paseo Alameda, Torre de la Reina.
Ruta del Agua
The Paraje Natural de la Ruta del Agua de Guillena is an authentic natural walking route in the foothills of Sierra Morena. It measures 68km in length starting in Monte Carambolo (Aljarafe) and ending in Lago del Serrano. The route travels through some places that are almost unknown.
Hunting is very popular in Guillena, therefore it is typical to try game dishes using wild rabbit, partridge, venison and wild boar, such as conejo o perdiz con arroz (rabbit or partridge with rice) and caldereta de ciervo o jabalí (venison or wild boar stew). A traditional dish from Guillena that is a must to try is salmorejo, a colod tomato soup, similar to gazpacho but only consisting of tomatoes, garlic and bread.
Cabalgata Reyes Magos
Three Kings procession celebrated on the evening of the 5 January.
Celebrated in February.
Día de Andalucía
Celebrated the 28 February.
Feria de Torre de la Reina
Celebrated in May.
Feria de Las Pajanosas
Celebrated in August.
Fiestas en Honor a Nuestra Señora de la Granada
Celebrated the 8 September.