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Motril (Municipality, Andalusia, Spain)

Last modified: 2019-08-28 by ivan sache
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Flag of Motril - Image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 15 October 2012

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Presentation of Motril

The municipality of Motril (61,194 inhabitants in 2013; 10,977 ha; municipal website) is located on the east bank of river Guadalfeo and on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea, 70 km south of Granada. The municipality is composed of the towns of Motril, El Varadero (3,608 inh.), Carchuna (2,075 inh.), Calahonda (1,684 inh.), Puntalón (531 inh.), Playa Granada (309 inh.; once the official summer residence of the Belgian monarchs, where King Baudoin passed away in 1993), Las Ventillas (156 inh.), La Perla (126 inh.), La Garnatilla (147 inh.), Los Tablones (142 inh.), and La Chucha (39 inh.).

Motril, of obscure origin, was probably a Phoenician settlement. The subsequent Roman town might have been Murgis, listed by Pliny and Ptolemy as a town in Betica. The town thrived during the Nasrid rule over Granada, as Metrel; the Moors introduced sugar cane cultivatiun, which was reported as early as in the 10th century.
When conquered by the Christians in 1489, the town counted more than 2,000 inhabitants living from agriculture, fishing and production of silk and sugar. A wealthy merchant town, Motril covered 3.5 km2, its main nucleus being surrounded by a fortified wall. The town had four mosques and public baths, which were maintained until the middle of the 19th century. The town was also protected by a small fort erected on Carquifa hill, used as her residence by Queen Aixa al-Horra during the last years of the Kingdom of Granada.

After a Mudéjar uprising, the Catholic Monarchs granted on 3 September 1500 a Constitution that allowed the town to have its own jursidiction and a Town Hall. This did not precent a massive Morisco uprising in December 1507, which resulted in the depopulation of the town and the abandon of sugarcane cultivation.
Threatened by Turkish and Barbaresque raids, Motril had its fortifications rebuilt, now protected by two gates and two posterns. The parish church was also fortified. The second Morisco uprising (1569-1570) had the same consequences as the first one; it took five years to re-settle the town with Christian colonists.
In the 19th century, sugar mills thrived in Motril, which became the main industrial center in the Province of Granada. The economic development of the town was fostered by the building of the port, initiated in 1909, and of roads to Málaga, Almería, and Granada.
[Historia Motril]

Ivan Sache, 18 May 2019

Symbols of Motril

The flag of Motril (photo, photo, photo, photo, photo, photo, photo, photo, photo, photo, photo, photo, photo) is prescribed in the Regulation of Protocol and Ceremonial (text), adopted on 29 July 2008 by the Municipal Council.

Article 4.
1. The flag of the town of Motril, once its design reviewed and approved by the competent organism of the Government of Andalusia, shall include in its panel the coat of arms described in Article 3.1., in height 2/5 of the flag's width and inscribed inside a rectangular quadrilatere.
Paragraphs 2 to 10 provide the usual prescriptions about flag hoisting, use and protection.
Article 3.1. lists the places where the coat of arms is to be used, but does not describe it.

Article 2 of the aforementioned Regulation states that "In 1657, Philip IV granted to Motril the title of town, separating it from Granada, and permission to use a seal with the Royal arms and the arms of the town. The municipality of Motril is distinguished with the title of "Muy Noble y Leal Ciudad" (Very Noble and Loyal Town), granted by Philip V in the beginning of the 18th century, a title shown on its arms [indeed on the scroll placed beneath the shield]."
The Latin writing inscribed on the shield's bordure, "CIVITAS SEXIS FOR MENSIS" is erroneous and of dubious origin. It refers to the identification of Motril with Sex, a Phoenician town, or Sexi Firmum Iulium, a Roman town. While there is archeological evidence of Phoenician and Roman settlements in the town, the identification was proposed by local scholars without any bit of proof. Almuñécar appears to be a much more probable site for the old towns.
The writing should have been "CIVITAS SEXIFIRMENSIS". The adjective derived from the toponym Sexi Firmum by adding the usual -ensis suffix should be "SEXIFIRMENSIS", in a single word, and not "EXI FIRMENSIS". "SEXIS" appears only in late Latin texts, therefore the final "S" must have been added by an innovative copyist. "FIRMENSIS" was changed to "FORMENSIS", which was subsequently cut into two parts, "FOR" and "MENSIS", probably for the sake of esthetic arrangement of the words on the bordure.
[El Faro Motril, 7 December 2013]

Klaus-Michael Schneider & Ivan Sache, 18 May 2019

Flag without arms


Other flag of Motril - Image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 15 October 2012

The flags hoisted in front of the Tourist Office and in front of the Fire Brigade Station lack the coat of arms.

Klaus-Michael Schneider, 15 October 2012

La Garnatilla


Flag of La Garnatilla - Image by Ivan Sache, 18 May 2019

The village of La Garnatilla (128 ha), located 10 km east of the town of Motril, is divided by a ravine into two boroughs, La Garnatilla proper and Triana.

The flag of La Garnatilla (photo, photo), which does not seem to have been officially registered, is vertically divided green-white-blue. In the flag's center are placed two pomegranates of unequal size, with green leaves. Beneath appears the village's name, in blue cursive letters.

Ivan Sache, 18 May 2019