VILLANUEVA DE SAN JUAN
by Saskia Mier
Lakes used to make up a big part of the landscape around Villanueva de San Juan so it is a rich source of marine fossils. It has about 1,100 inhabitants.
The area is known to have hosted an inhabited settlement during the Paleolithic period, as axes and other stone objects have been found. There does not seem to be any record of other cultures until the time of the Roman denomination, with the remains of clay objects, lead pipes and coins of the empire found in places such as"Laina".
During the Middle Ages and Arab domination, the settlement was known as "El Jaral". The area became known as the Banda Morisca, located between the Christian Kingdoms and the Moors,and led to the creation of the afore mentioned nucleus, with a military nature, given its proximity to Pruna where there was a Castle.
In 1562, King Felipe II granted the Duchy of Osuna to Don Pedro Girón de la Cueva, V Conde de Ureña. After the changes that took place in the Spanish Nation after the War of Independence, the Feudal Lordships came to an end. Spain wanted to be a free and liberal state and began a period in which many villages and districts decided to become independent of the Villas and Cities to which they belonged.
Villanueva de San Juan fought to separate from the Town Hall of the Villa de Osuna. For 12 to 14 years economic burdens ruined many neighbours, and in 1834 they wrote to the Subdelegado de Fomento de la Provincia (Civil Government) requesting separation from the Villa de Osuna. The town became independent in 1835.
THINGS TO SEE
Iglesia de San Juan Bautista
The church dates to the eighteenth century. The most important work conserved in the temple is arelief representing San Pablo Miki, the only remaining fragment of the primitive altarpiece from the eighteenth century, but in need of urgent restoration. All the works and objects remained in the church until the Spanish Civil War when it was burnt down. Located in Plaza de la Iglesia.
Arco de la Calzada
An archway giving access to the main street, Calle Comandante Pérez.
Arroyo de las Mujeres
The river was used to supply the town with drinking water and frequented by women to wash clothes. Subsequently, with the arrival of running water, the river no longer had its purpose, apart from as a watering hole for cattle. Later the Town Hall did take advantage of the water to fill the municipal swimming pool. It is the only river in the area that maintains its flow during the summer. Located less than one kilometre south of Villanueva de San Juan.
The Corbones River, also known as Algámitas, originated in Sierra Blanquilla, Cañete la Real, in Málaga province. Its course travels from south to north, within the jurisdiction of Villanueva de San Juan, El Saucejo, Puebla de Cazalla, Osuna and Marchena, and ending in the Guadalquivir River in the judicial district of Alcolea del Río (Seville). At the mouth there are natural pools, whose waters produce admirable effects for healing ulcers. This river is used to irrigate many hectares of land, and to facilitate the operations of a considerable number of mills.
Typical dishes of Villanueva de San Juan include ardoria (also known as salmorejo or porra, a cold tomato soup), guiso de membrillo (quince stew), conejo a la serrana (rabbit), sopa de tomate (tomato soup) and puré de zanahorias a la crema (carrot purée). Also worth trying is the local mosto, a wine produced from the first grape press, and the coloraillo, a liqueur consisting of a mix of sour cherry and aguardiente (anise flavoured liqueur).
Cabalgata Reyes Magos
Three Kings procession celebrated on the evening of 5 January.
Fiesta de la Candelaria
Celebrated on 2 February.
Día de Andalucía
Celebrated on 28 February.
Celebrated at the end of February.
Fiesta del Huerto
Celebrated on Resurrection Sunday.
Romería en Honor de la Patrona la Virgen del Rosario
Celebrated in April or May, depending on the dates of Easter.
Fiesta en Honor del Patrón San Juan Bautista
Celebrated on 24 June.
Fiesta de Nuestra Señora del Rosario
Celebrated on 7 October.