LOS PALACIOS Y VILLAFRANCA
by Saskia Mier
Los Palacios y Villafranca was born as a result of the unification between Los Palacios and Villafranca de la Marisma in 1836. It has about 38, 100 inhabitants.
Los Palacios dates to the Roman era with a settlement known as Searotinus. During Muslim domination the settlement was known as Serotín or Saracatín, eventually becoming Seracatín or Saracatino, possibly being a place of passage and rest for travellers who followed the old route that linked the port of Gades with Hispalis.
In the middle of the fourteenth century, Pedro I El Cruel ordered to build in this area a palace, Atalayuela, on the remains of a previous Arab castle, as a residence during the hunting season. This is the origin of the name Los Palacios. At the beginning of the fifteenth century, the property belonged to the Dukes of Arcos, leaving the royal palace to become a small rural settlement.
Villafranca de la Marisma was founded by King Alfonso XI, and given to Diego López de Arnedo in 1330 and not reintegrated into the Crown until the late seventeenth century, during the reign of Carlos II. In the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, Villafranca de la Marisma depended on Los Palacios, constituting a dispersed settlement, occupied by shepherds.
In the seventeenth century, Los Palacios occupied the hill as an urban settlement, being totally surrounded by the territory of Villafranca. The two localities were merged into a single constitutional council in 1836, renamed Villafranca and Los Palacios.
THINGS TO SEE
Parroquia Mayor de Santa María la Blanca
The Baroque church was built in the fifteenth century by the Dukes of Arcos, which boasted the Lordship of the town of Los Palacios. The organ was built by Francisco de Ortiguez in 1747. The highlight is its main altarpiece by the Flemish painter, Pablo Legot, and dated to the seventeenth century (1631-36). It was later altered in 1712 and reconstructed in 1865. Located on Calle Nuestra Señora de las Nieves.
Capilla de San Sebastián
The chapel was built at the beginning of the sixteenth century, in honour of the Roman martyr who protected the population from epidemics and calamities. In 2002 the City Council granted the gold shield of the municipality to the Virgin, in commemoration of the V Centennial of Villafranca de las Marismas. It has been restored on several occasions in recent years to strengthen its structure. Located on Calle San Sebastián.
Capilla de la Aurora
The chapel dates from the eighteenth century, a popular style building, although with clear Neoclassical connotations. Located on Calle Nuestra Señora de la Aurora.
Parroquia del Sagrado Corazón de Jesús
Built in the early nineties, the chapel was inaugurated by, Fray Carlos Amigo Vallejo, Archbishop of Seville, in May 1992. The architectural design corresponds to the Seville architect, Manuel Álvarez Pérez. Located in Plaza Cristo De La Salud.
Construction of the late nineties of the twentieth century, restored after an accidental fire in 2001 that destroyed the altar and caused serious damage to the oldest image of Los Palacios. The image has been completely restored by fine arts teacher, restorer and sculptor, Juan Manuel Miñarro. Located on Calle Nueva.
Capilla Nuestra Señora de Los Ángeles
Project of architect, Evaristo Román, and built by, José Dorante Rincón, at the beginning of the twenty first century. Located in Plaza de la Almazara.
Casa de la Cultura
Built during the late nineteenth century by, Don Francisco Murube. During the twentieth century it was used as a Town Hall until a few decades ago, after an important rehabilitation, it became the House of Culture. Inside it houses exhibition halls, multipurpose rooms and auditorium. It is the headquarters of the Municipal School of Music and Dance of Los Palacios and Villafranca. Located on Calle Real de Villafranca.
This Town Hall was built in 1986 and holds the majority of the Municipal Delegations with their respective offices and the historical archive of the locality. On September 5, 2013 a fire broke out in the municipal archives burning various documents, invoices and key documents for the anti-corruption plot investigated by the prosecution against the former PSOE government team. Located in the Plaza de Andalucía.
The Municipal Library was built on land that belonged to an oil mill and a school, inaugurated in January 2001 and had a cost superior to the three million euro. It is equipped with the most up-to-date technological systems in acoustic, lighting, safety and technology, resulting in its multipurpose use. Located in Plaza de la Almazara.
Los Palacios y Villafranca has a selection of natural spaces and parkland for anybody to visit and enjoy the abundant flora and fauna. These include Parque de los Humanamientos, Parque de las Marismas, Parque Puente Verde and Parque de Maribáñez. For those keen on bird watching, head over to Cerro de las Cigüeñas, Humedal El Pantano and Laguna La Mejorada "Lago de Diego Puerta".
Traditional dishes to try when visiting Los Palacios y Villafranca include gazpacho, liebre en salsa (wild rabbit in sauce), garbanzos con pringá (chuickpeas with pork), caldereta de pavo (turkey stew), pato con arroz (duck with rice), caldereta de ternera (beef stew), garbanzos con acelgas (chickpeas with chard) and habichuelas colorás (marinated broad beans).
In 2013, the town went into the Guinness Book of World Records for their elaborated fritada de tomate (tomato sauce).
Local crafts made here include saddlery, ceramics, chair making and weaving.
Cabalgata Reyes Magos
Three Kings procession celebrated on the evening of 5 January.
Celebrated in February.
Agricultural fair held in April, a week before the Feria de Sevilla.
Romería en Honor a San Isidro
Celebrated in the middle of May.
Feria de Farolillos
Celebrated the last week of August.