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La Alberca (Municipality, Castilla y León, Spain)

Last modified: 2015-01-17 by ivan sache
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Flag of La Alberca - Image by Ivan Sache, 4 February 2014,

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Presentation of La Alberca

The municipality of La Alberca (1,192 inhabitants in 2012; 1,963 ha; municipal website) is n the south of Salamanca Province, on the border with Cáceres Province (Extremadura), 80 km from from Salamanca.

La Alberca was already settled in the Neolithic, as evidenced by numerous rock paintings found in the valleys of Lera and Las Batuecas. The village was re-settled in the late 12th century - early 13th century by King Alfonso IX.
In 1434, the discovery of the statue of the Virgin of la Peña de Francia made of La Alberca a popular place of pilgrimage, at the crossroads of the Southern Way and of the Silver Way, two branches of the Way of St. James. The Virgin of la Peña de Francia is mentioned by Cervantes in La Gitanilla, the first and longest of his Novelas ejemplares (Exemplary Novels), The valley of Las Batuecas is the scene of the comedy Las Batuecas del Duque de Alba, published in 1604 by Lope de Vega.

Ivan Sache, 4 February 2014

Symbols of La Alberca

The flag and arms of La Alberca are prescribed by a Decree adopted on 3 May 1993 by the Government of Salamanca Province and published on 29 June 1993 in the official gazette of Castilla y León, No. 122 (text).
The symbols are described as follows:

Flag: Quadrangular, divided per bend gules and argent in the same order as the coat of arms.
Coat of arms: [Per fess,] 1. The traditional arms of the place from the 17th century, a chestnut tree terraced with leaves and without fruit, flanked dexter by a distaff from which emerges a thread forming two rounds around the trunk of the tree and a beehive with bees, all natural on a field argent, 2. Gules a chain argent surrounding a Royal crown or with florets, pearls and gems. The shield surmounted by a Royal crown.

Ivan Sache, 4 February 2014

Benner's Day in La Alberca


Flag used on Banner's day - Image by Ivan Sache, 4 February 2014,

The Banner's Day (Dia del Pendón; municipal website) recalls an historical event that took place in 1475 during the Castilian Civil War that opposed Isabel the Catholic to Joanna la Beltraneja. During the battle of Las Matancias, fought close to La Alberca, the women of the town attacked by surprise the Portuguese troops commanded by the Prior of Crato, a supporter of Joanna. The winning women came back to the town with the Prior's banner, which they hoisted on the top of the San Blas chapel. Maria de Toledo, Duchess of Alba and lord of La Alberca, also a supporter of Isabel, released on 5 May 1547 a proclamation ordering the Town Council to offer wine and hornaza (the traditional Easter cake of the Salamanca Province) to all the villagers at every celebration of the Banner's Day.

The Banner's Day is celebrated every year on Easter Monday by more than 1,000 people re-enacting the historical event. A replica of the captured banner - whose original is kept in the Town Hall - is escorted by the quintas and quintos, the young woman and men, respectively, who came at age during the year, dressed in traditional costume. The banner is hoisted on the balcony of the Town Hall, while a quinta reads the Duchess' proclamation. Then a procession led by a quinto riding a horse and holding the banner heads to the San Blas chapel through the streets of the village. The quinto then climbs on the roof of the chapel and hoists the flag on the top of the cross surmounting the chapel. After a traditional dance, wine and hornaza are offered to everyone by the quintos and quintas, respectively. The banner is brought back to the Town Hall at the end of the day.

The banner used during the Banner's Day (photo, photo) is a squarish forked red flag charged in the middle with a white crescent flanked at hoist by a small yellow Maltese Cross.

Ivan Sache, 4 February 2014