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Bérchules (Municipality, Andalusia, Spain)

Last modified: 2018-03-18 by ivan sache
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Flag of Bérchules - Image image from the Símbolos de Granada website, 10 March 2018

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Presentation of Bérchules

The municipality of Bérchules (727 inhabitants in 2016; 6,900 ha; municipal website) is located 100 km south-east of Granada. Locally known as Los Bérchules, the municipality is made of the villages of Bérchules (520 inh.) and Alcútar (197 inh.). Another two villages, Purchenas and La Alfaguara, were deserted long ago.
Bérchules celebrates New Year's Eve on the first Saturday of August. In winter 1994, a power shortage prevented the bells to be rang, so the celebration was postponed to August. Since then, the August, snowless celebration of the New Year has attracted every year more than 10,000 visitors in Bérchules.
[ABC, 6 August 2016]

Bérchules is named for the Arab word berchul, "an orchard", referring to the abundance of water, the fertility of the soil and the mild temperatures, in spite of the high elevation of the place (1,300 m and the proximity of Sierra Nevada. The name of the village could also have been derived from the Banu Asad lineage, whose member Ibn al Jatib was the most famous chronicler of Al-Andalus. Yet another possible etymology is connected to baryul, "a pass".
Alcútar, aka Alcunaca or Alcuza, means in Arab "the paradise's fountain".

Bérchules was settled in the 8th century by Mozarabs. The village peaked during the Nasrid rule, producing highly-prized silk, wine, fruits and aromatic herbs.
At the end of the Morisco revolt, in May 1571, the last rebels hid in caves located downhill of the village. More than 60, mostly women and children died after the cave had been smoked out; Aben Aboo, the head of the rebellion, could escape by a secrete exit. He was subsequently murdered in another cave located between BĂ©rchules and Mecina.

Ivan Sache, 10 March 2018

Symbols of Bérchules

The flag and arms of Bérchules, adopted on 24 May 2017 by the Municipal Council and submitted on 26 June 2017 to the Directorate General of the Local Administration, are prescribed by a Resolution adopted on 28 June 2017 by the Directorate General of the Local Administration and published on 7 July 2017 in the Andalusian official gazette, No. 129, pp. 108-109 (text).
The symbols are described as follows:

Flag: Rectangular in proportions 2:3, made of a green panel charged with a white saltire in proportions 1/8 of the panel's width and charged in the center with the municipal coat of arms, in proportion 2/3 of the panel's width.
Coat of arms:Per fess, 1. Vert two snowy mounts separated by a river proper, 2. Argent a pomegranate proper. The shield surmounted by a Royal crown closed.

The symbols were designed by Tomás Rodríguez Peñas. The two mounts represent the two villages forming the municipality, while the pomegranate is the symbol of the Province of Granada.
[Símbolos de Granada]

Ivan Sache, 10 March 2018