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Santa Fe de Mondújar (Municipality, Andalusia, Spain)

Last modified: 2017-01-29 by ivan sache
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Flag of Santa Fe de Mondújar - Image from the Símbolos de Almería website, 9 May 2014

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Presentation of Santa Fe de Mondújar

The municipality of Santa Fe de Mondújar (511 inhabitants in 2008; 3,500 ha; unofficial website) is located on river Andarax, 20 km north of Almería.

The first settlement, Mondújar, of Moorish origin, was located south of the today's village, on the river, near the remains of a Roman tower watching the road connecting Acci (Guadix) and Urci (Pechina). The geographer and traveler Al-Idrisi described the tower of Mondújar as a red tower built on the top of a hill and flanked by an inn. Around it a small village was inhabited by 176, fed by estates (alquerías) located in Guechen (Huéchar) and on the today's site of Santa Fe. At that time, Mondújar formed, together with Marchena and Alboloduy, the district of Orx Casi.
After the expelling of the Moriscos, the village of Santa Fe was built from scratch in 1573 to replace the deserted villages of Mondújar and Huéchar, as the main center of resettlement. In the 18th century, José de Creaga, Marquis of Torre Alta and a descendant of the Almería Infant, Cidi Yahaya al-Nayar, a former governor of the Moorish taha of Marchena, built the tower subsequently named for him and still visible in the village.
In the 19th century, the development of Santa Fe, whose population peaked at 1,218, was boosted by grape cultivation; a railway line was initiated in 1877 to transport grape and ore from Gádor and Alquife. The first railway bridge of Santa Fe (photo), designed in Gustave Eiffel's workshop, was inaugurated in 1893; it was superseded only in 1973 by a modern bridge. In 1911, the first electric railway line in Spain was operated on the slopes between the stations of Santa Fe and Gérgal; a power plant built near the river supplied the required electricity until 1959, when fuel-powered locomotives superseded the electric ones. Grape cultivation declined in the 20th century and was replaced by citrus cultivation; the today's Santa Fe landscape is an orange monoculture, in spite of diversification attempts, for instance with olive trees and new varieties of grapes.

Santa Fe de Mondújar is mostly known for the Prehistoric remains of Los Millares. In 1887, two Belgian mining engineers, the brothers Louis (1869-1934) and Henri (d. 1905) Siret published Les premiers âges du métal dans le sud-est de l'Espagne (The early ages of ore in the south-east of Spain), revealing the archeological richness of Andalusia. Among the emblematic sites is the village excavated from 1892 onwards in the place called Los Millares, which was inhabited in 2700-1800 BC and is considered as the best preserved settlement from the Chalcolithic (Copper Age) in Europe. The village could host up to 1,000, living in circular huts of 4-7 m in diameter; paved with stones, the village had mills and silos. Four successive walls were built following the increase of the village, with a length of 310 m, therefore the bigger ever found in Europe from that time, and a height of 4 m; every 2-5 meters, the wall was defended by a tower and there was a complex system of gates. The necropolis includes 100 collective, tumulus-like tombs (tholoi). The village had remote defenses, made of a system of 15 complex fortresses built on the neighbouring hills. The village itself was built on a flat spur flanked on two sides by rivers and therefore easy to defend; moreover, it was located not far from either the sea or the copper mines. The inhabitants of the village built ovens to smelt copper ore; remains of crucibles and awns have shown that they had started to use copper instead of stone to produce some specific tools. The place gave its name to the Culture of Los Millares, which spread to Andalucia, Levante and Portugal. Henri Siret offerred most of his foundings to the Spanish State, which established the Almería Provincial Archeological Museum (Royal Decree of 28 Marh 1934) to keep them.

Ivan Sache, 2 August 2009

Symbols of Santa Fe de Mondújar

The flag and arms of Santa Fe de Mondújar, approved on 2 November 2004 by the Municipal Council and submitted on 17 November 2004 to the Directorate General of Local Administration, are prescribed by a Decree adopted on 14 December 2004 by the Directorate General of Local Administration and published on 28 December 2004 in the official gazette of Andalusia, No. 252, p. 29,565 (text).
The symbols are described as follows:

Flag: Rectangular panel in proportions 1:1.5, made of five parallel stripes perpendicular to the hoist; the first and the fifth turquoise blue, 1/3 of the flag's hoist; the second and the fourth, golden yellow, 1/12 of the hoist, and the third, turquoise blue, 1/6 of the hoist. In the center of the panel the municipal coat of arms in which or and argent are replaced by yellow and white, respectively.
Coat of arms: Azure, on waves argent and azure a viaduct or masoned sable and surmounted by a campaniform vase or. The shield surmounted with a Royal crown closed.

The waves represent river Almería watering the municipal territory, rich in citrus orchards. The viaduct symbolizes the economical boost due to the establishment of the railway in the 19th century. The campaniform vase is an integrating symbol of the Los Millares culture, the original nucleus of the municipality.
[Símbolos de las Entidades Locales de Andalucía. Almería (PDF file)]

Ivan Sache, 2 August 2009