VILLANUEVA DEL RÍO Y MINAS
by Saskia Mier
Villanueva del Río y Minas was formed by combining the previous mining town of Villanueva del Río with those houses belonging to the miners of the area. It has about 4900 inhabitants.
In 1594 Villanueva del Río was part of the Kingdom of Seville in the Sierra de Constantina. The main town of Villanueva del Río, situated next to the River Guadalquivir, belonged to the Casa de Alba. Due to the massive exploitation of the coal mines, from the nineteenth century, it caused the activity to move to the new mining village next to the Ribera del Huesna.
In the seventeenth century, coal mines were discovered far away from Villanueva del Río and Felipe III authorized the mineral coal to be carried in barges along the river to Seville. This caused a mining neighbourhood to arise on the outskirts of the town, eventually being called Villanueva de las Minas.
In the nineteenth century, the mines of Villanueva became opulent, so much so, that the government meeting to the demands of the mining district, makes the neighbourhood head of the municipality due to its enormous economic power. Eventually in 1972, the government decided to cease mining activities.
THINGS TO SEE
A magnificent building was built in 1890 with dyes of colonial architecture consisting of a central patio with butcher and bakery. Located on Calle Valverde.
Teatro Cine M.Z.A
The theatre-cinema was completed in 1933 thanks to the continuous requests made by the workers. It is equipped with a stage, orchestra forum and six dressing rooms. Located on Calle Guadalajara.
Iglesia de San Fernando
The Neogothic church shows the influence of the French capital in this colonialist architecture. Designed in 1909 by José Espiru, who among others built the famous Sevillian Córdoba Station, it was later built between 1926 and 1927. Located on Calle Juan Gómez Torga.
Escuela de Niños o de los Maristas
The previous school was completed in 1926. Its stylistic form is reminiscent of the School of Fine Arts in Paris and, above all, the now-defunct building of the Union Factory, built by Juan Talavera in the "Ronda de Capuchinos" in Seville. Today it has been restored as the Town Hall. Located on Calle Juan Gómez Torga.
Casa de Direccion
Built during the last decade of the nineteenth century as a residence for Edmund Thiéry. It consists of various sitting rooms, toilets, lobbies, libraries, bathrooms, offices, 12 bedrooms, etc, all decorated with an extraordinary modernist and regionalist ornamentation. It is currently in a ruinous state with few possibilities of restoration. Located on Calle Juan Gómez Torga.
La Central Eléctrica o Castillete
The Neomudejar building housed the Distribution Panel of the Central Electric Board. Located on Calle Santa Angela de la Cruz.
THINGS TO SEE OUTSIDE THE VILLAGE
Conjunto Arqueológico de Munigua
The discovery of the iron deposits by the Romans represented the ancient city of Mulva, establishing the civilization around the luxurious sanctuary of Munigua, which preserves part of the temple, city wall, sanctuary, forum and basilica, baths, necropolis and some houses. Located 7km north of Villanueva del Río y Minas.
Minas de la Reunión
The mines were used to extract coal from the seventeenth century until it was closed in 1972 and today declared Cultural Interest. Located north of Villanueva del Río y Minas.
Iglesia de Santiago el Mayor (Villanueva del Río)
The Mudejar-Gothic church dates to the fifteenth century. Located on Calle Santiago.
Palacio de los Marqueses de Villanueva (Villanueva del Río)
The remains of the wall of the old castle of the Marquises of Villanueva del Río, later Dukes of Alba, are still preserved today. Located on Calle Santiago.
El Paraje Natural de los Arenales del Parroso
A natural area ideal for hiking activities, horse riding, climbing, etc. Located west of Villanueva del Río y Minas.
Parque Fluvial Ribera del Hueznar
The Ribera del Huesna passes through the town and has unbeatable conditions for practicing canoeing in the form of slalom (white water). The recreational area also has a snack area, swimming area, bike lane, as well as the possibility to practice bungy jumping and zip lining. Located north of Villanueva del Río y Minas, on Calle Guadalquivir.
Typical dishes of Villanueva del Río y Minas include asadilla de tomates, sardinas asadas, pimientos, aceite, cebolla, vinagre (roast tomatoes, sardines, peppers), potaje minero (miners stew), venado (venison) and carne de jabalí (wild boar).
The only craft still seen today in Villanueva del Río y Minas is pottery.
Cabalgata Reyes Magos
Three Kings procession celebrated on the evening of 5 January.
Celebrated the last weekend of February.
Romería en Honor de la Patrona
Celebrated the last Sunday of May.
Fiestas de la Pastora
Celebrated the third Sunday of May.
Feria y Fiestas
Celebrated the 11-15 July.
Fiestas de Santiago el Mayor
Celebrated the 25 July.
Verbenas de Barrios
Celebrated every weekend of August.
Festividad en Honor de la Patrona Santa Bárbara
Celebrated the 4 December.