MORÓN DE LA FRONTERA
by Saskia Mier
Morón de la Frontera rises above the rolling patchwork plain of La Campiña like a mirage. A great place to visit in July during the annual flamenco festival; one of the best known festivals where the traditional gazpacho andaluz is also celebrated. Established in 1963, it features flamenco baile (dance) and cante (song) and serves the customary gazpacho (typical Andalusian chilled soup). It has about 23,000 inhabitants.
The origin dates back to the Chalcolithic era, already settled permanently. It was during the time of the Celts when the city of Arunci was founded, reaching a greater height in the Roman period.
In the eleventh century it became one of the capitals of the Taifa Kingdoms. Fernando III El Santo conquered it for the Crown of Castile in the thirteenth century, coming to depend shortly after on the Council of Seville. In 1285 Sancho IV gives it to the Military Order of Alcántara to defend it from Moorish attacks. At the end of the fourteenth century, the Crown favoured its repopulation with fiscal privileges, and in the fifteenth century it became part of the Lordship of the Counts of Ureña (House of Osuna).
As from the sixteenth century to the eighteenth century, there is a strong urban growth towards the southwest and towards the north of the town. At the beginning of the nineteenth century the presence of French troops ended with the blowing up of the Castle. In 1864 the railway was inaugurated, allowing communication with Utrera and Seville. Morón de la Frontera has had an American air base since 1953.
THINGS TO SEE
Iglesia de San Miguel
The church was declared an Asset of Cultural Interest, built on the ruins of a mosque. Construction began in 1506, divided into four phases that ended in 1730, so it includes various artistic styles such as late Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque. In total there were eleven architects who took part in the process, among which, Lorenzo de Oviedo and Diego de Riaño, stand out. The bell tower dates from the seventeenth century and was built on an old Almohade minaret; its design mimics the Giralda of Seville. Located on Calle Siete Revueltas.
Hospital de San Juan de Dios
A previous Hospital that became a Convent in the fifteenth century. Originally it was occupied by the Order of San Juan de Dios and since 1900 it is a teaching centre run by the Order of the Inmaculada Concepción. Located on Calle Ánimas.
Iglesia de San Ignacio de Loyola
The Baroque church known as, "La Compañía" was built in 1627. The entrance has the shield of Castilla y León and inside, there are five altarpieces made out of borne wood and a pictorial collection of scenes from the life of the Virgen Mary, a work by the flamenco artist, Pieter van Lint. Located on Calle Nueva.
Iglesia de la Victoria
The church dates to the seventeenth century. The stone entrance has an image of San Francisco de Paula, founder of the Orden Mínima. Located on Calle Corredera.
Convento de Santa Clara
The chapel dates to the eighteenth century with highlights including the dome and altarpiece by Pablo de Rojas. In 2012, one of the halls of the convent was converted into a Museum. Located on Calle Utrera.
Iglesia de San Francisco de Asís
Built in the sixteenth century, the church has an altarpiece from the eighteenth century. The convent has been a hospital since 1895 and a Cultural Interest. Located in Plaza de San Francisco.
Iglesia de la Merced
The church was built in the seventeenth century by the Order of the Barefoot Mercedarians. Located on Calle Marchena.
Ermita de Nuestro Padre Jesús de la Cañada
The chapel was built in 1734. The interior Renaissance mausoleum is where Antonio Ponce de León y Lencastre, I Duke of Baños, and his wife rest. Located in Plaza de los Remedios.
Monasterio de Santa María
The Monastery dates to 1943 after the original was destroyed. Located on Calle Corredera.
Iglesia de María Auxiliadora
The church is integrated within the building of the Salesianos School (San Juan Bosco) and dates to 1944. Located on Calle María Auxiliadora.
Iglesia de San José
The church is within the neighbourhood of El Pantano and was built in the 1950s.
The Castle is the oldest architectural vestige in Morón de la Frontera built during the Moorish domination of the Iberian Peninsula and later transformed by the Dukes of Osuna into a Palace fortress between the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Located on Subida al Castillo.
The Town Hall dates from 1593 and was renovated in 1878, adding the high galleries, plenary hall and the main façade of Neoclassical style, that houses a clock very similar to the Puerta del Sol in Madrid. Located in Plaza del Ayuntamiento.
Casa de la Cultura
The Culture House is a small Palace that was built in 1735 by the Marquises of Pilares. It has been the residence of nobles such as the Counts of Daoíz, those of Miraflores and the poet of the Generation of 27, Fernando Villalón. Located in Plaza el Polvorón.
Popularly known as the "Casa del Agua", the building was an old Palace from the beginning of the nineteenth century that was converted into a library. It was inaugurated as a library in 1991, although it already functioned as such since 1969. Located on Calle Ánimas.
Plaza de Toros
The bullring is owned by businessman and breeder, Manuel Morilla, who was Mayor between 2003 and 2011. The works began in 2000, with a budget of 240 million pesetas (1.5 million euro) and was inaugurated in 2001 with a bullfight in which the bullfighters Manuel Benítez "El Cordobés", Enrique Ponce and El Juli participated. Located on Paseo de la Alameda
American Military Air Base
Construction of the air base, which was originally called "Aeródromo Militar Vázquez Sagastizabal", began in 1940 and served as a base for the training of fighter pilots of the Spanish Air Force. In 1953 it was one of four bases ceded to the USA. In June 2015 the Spanish government signed an agreement with the United States whereby the US military presence at the base became permanent. The Military Air Base is located north west of Morón de la Frontera. More>
Jardines del Gallo
Also called Peña del Gallo, the garden was built at the beginning of the twentieth century at the request of, Jerónimo Villalón-Daóiz and Pérez de Vera. They commissioned the Sevillian sculptor, José Márquez, to make a sculpture of a rooster, reminding people of the famous legend. The sculpture was placed here in 1916, made of bronze and weighs 98Kg. The legend says that in 1500 the neighbours split into two camps, where tempers flared and battles were fought. The Chancellery of Granada sent a judge with a reputation as a thug, to bring order, which always repeated "where this cock sings no other". The inhabitants tired of his bravado, left him naked and beat him; for this reason the popular saying was born, "you're going to end up like the rooster of Morón, without feathers and crowing at the best occasion". Located on Paseo del Gallo.
The gastronomy of Morón de la Frontera is very varied and includes traditional dishes such as gazpacho, calderetas and potajes (stews), cola de toro (oxtail), habichuelas blancas guisadas con carne (white vean and meat stew) and guiso de caracoles (snail stew).You cannot forget the local olives best served as an aperitif. Sweet treats include many of the pastries made by the nuns of Santa Clara and Santa María including crema de batata (sweet potato cream), frutitas (glazed fruits with almonds, pear and peaches), angelinas (angle hair and almond tarts), tartas de yema (egg tarts) and tarta de huevo y limón (egg and lemon cake).
Cabalgata Reyes Magos
Three Kings procession celebrated on the evening of 5 January.
Celebrated in February.
Feria Infantil del Libro
Celebrated in May.
Festival de Flamenco Gazpacho Andaluz
Celebrated in August.
Feria y Fiestas de Morón
Celebrated the third week of September.
Romería de Nuestra Señora de Gracia
Celebrated the second Sunday of October.
Festividad de la Inmaculada Concepción
Celebrated the 8 December.