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Guadarrama (Municipality, Community of Madrid, Spain)

Last modified: 2016-05-19 by ivan sache
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Flag of Guadarrama - Image by Ivan Sache, 9 July 2015

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Presentation of Guadarrama

The municipality of Guadarrama (15,547 inhabitants in 2014; 5,698 ha; tourism website) is located in the north-west of the Community of Madrid, 50 km of Madrid.

Guadarrama was established by the Moors, on the river of the same name, meaning in Arab "a sandy river". Guadarrama was officially re- founded in 1268 by King Alfonso X the Wise. Incorporated into the Real de Manzanares, Guadarrama was granted the status of villa on 22 November 1504 by Ferdinand V.
The building of the San Lorenzo de El Escorial monastery, started in 1562, boosted the development of the town. During Ferdinand VI's reign, the new road connecting the two Castiles via the Pass of Guadarrama superseded the old road via the Pass of Tablada.
In the beginning of the 20th century, Guadarrama developed as an health center. The spa "La Alameda" and the "Colonia del Dr. Rubio", a complex including an hotel, a casino, a chapel and houses, were built. A sanatorium was established in Tablada.

Guadarrama owes the site known as "La Peña del Arcipreste de Hita", declared a natural monument of national interest by Royal Order No. 213 of 30 September 1930. The registration was obtained by Ramón Menéndez Pidal and the Royal Spanish Academy of Language to commemorate the 6th centenary of the first publication of the Libro del Buen Amor (The Book of Good Love), 1330/1343). Written by a Juan Ruiz, the Archpriest of Hita, this masterpiece of Spanish poetry relates romantic adventures taking place in the Sierra de Guadarrama and its harsh wintertime. The registered site is named for a rock (peña) sculpted in the shape of an open book.
Guadarrama was located on a main front of the Civil War, immortalized in Ernest Hemingway's For Whom the Bell Tolls (1940). At the end of the war, the town was totally ruined and had to be rebuilt form scratch by the Directorate for Devastated Regions.

Ivan Sache, 9 July 2015

Symbols of Guadarrama

The flag (photos, photo, photo, photo, photo) of Guadarrama is red with the municipal coat of arms in the middle.

The Royal Academy of History validated the proposed symbols. The coat of arms is derived from a seal used in the 19th century by the municipality, featuring the schematic representation of the monument erected in 1749 on the Pass of Guadarrama. While the charges used in heraldry should be generic and not specific, the arms can, however, be accepted because they have been used for more than 100 years and because the realism of the representation is not exaggerated. The arms are described as "Gules a pedestal on rocks supporting a lion couchant holding two globes in its claws all argent, the pedestal inscribed with 'F VI', Ferdinand VI's cypher. The shield surmounted by a Royal Spanish crown".
The proposed flag is rectangular, in proportions 2:3, red, charged in the middle with the municipal coat of arms.
[Boletín de la Real Academia de la Historia, 2006, 203, 3: 388]

The process of official adoption of the symbols does not appear to have been completed. The coat of arms must have superseded a previous design, prescribed by a Decree adopted on 24 January 1958 by the Spanish Government and published on 4 February 1958 in the Spanish official gazette, No. 30, p. 1,156 (text).
The "rehabilitated" coat of arms is not described in the Decree. The database of the Royal Academy "Matritense" of Genealogy and Heraldry gives it as "Azure a pilaster or ensigned by a lion couchant gules holding two globes azure in its claws, the base of the pilaster inscribed with 'F VI' [Crown not mentioned]."

The Pass of Guadarrama is also known as Alto del León (Pass of the Lion), because of the monument. The lion holding the two globes is a symbol of the hegemony of Spain over the two worlds, Europe and the Americas. The full Latin inscription on the pedestal reads:

Fernandus VI pater patriae viam utrique castellae Superatir motibus fecit an Sallutis MDCCXLIX Regni sui IV

(Ferdinand VI, father of the country, built this road connecting the two Castiles through the top of the mountains, in year 1749, the fourth of his reign)
[El Eco de la Sierra, July 2012]

Ivan Sache, 9 July 2015