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Alcalá de Guadaíra (Municipality, Andalusia, Spain)

Last modified: 2016-04-02 by ivan sache
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Flag of Alcalá de Guadaíra - Image after the Símbolos de Sevilla website, 24 May 2014

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Presentation of Alcalá de Guadaíra

The municipality of Alcalá de Guadaíra (74,404 inhabitants in 2014, therefore the 3rd most populated municipality in the province; 28,461 ha; municipal website) is located 15 km of Seville.

Alcalá de Guadaíra was established in 1161 as the camp of Qalat Yabir. set up by the Almohads preparing the assault against Qarmuna (Carmona). A fortress was built, which included baths (hammam) for the garrison. After the Almohad victory, the fortress was maintained as an administrative center, where tax was collected from the neighbouring estates. In 1172, the Almohad caliph ordered to restore the old aqueduct originating in Santa Lucía to supply supply the town of Seville with freshwater - the aqueduct would be used until the 19th century; Qalat Yabir was part of the network of fortresses that watched the aqueduct.
After having surrendered to King Ferdinand III the Saint in 1247, the fortress was used by the Christians to prepare the assault against Seville, successfully completed the next year. For a few decades, the reconquerred area was hardly settled; a garrison was stationed in the fortress to "watch and protect" Seville, but no village was established nearby. Alcalá de Guadaíra was eventually established in 1280 by Alfonso X. A town grew up out of the old fortress, formed of two new fortified boroughs, Santa María and San Miguel. The town was ruled by the Council of Seville, which appointed the alcade commanding the fortress. Agriculture thrived in the 14th and 15th century, wheat and olive being the main sources of income. Grain mills were erected on river Guadaíra and its tributaries; in the 15th century, the town was the main bread supplier of Seville, which it still is, being known as Alcalá de los Panaderos (of the Bakers). In the 15th century, the town was one of the most fluent and powerful settlements neighbouring Seville.
During the Castilian nobility war, Alcalá de Guadaíra was used as a battlefield by the rival lineages of Ponce de León and Guzmán. The Ponce de León held the castle from 1471 to 1477, using it as a base for raids against Seville, hold by the Guzmán. After the Peace of Marchenilla, the fortress was incorporated to the Royal domain. In the 16th century, the medieval, fortified boroughs were progressively abandoned, while new boroughs (Santiago, San Mateo and San Sebastián) were established.downhill, which would form the core of the modern town. The uphill boroughs were progressively re-settled at the end of the 20th century.

Ivan Sache, 24 May 2014

Symbols of Alcalá de Guadaíra

The flag of Alcalá de Guadaíra, submitted on 2 February 2010 by the Municipal Council to the Directorate General of the Local Administration, is prescribed by a Resolution adopted on 8 February 2010 by the Directorate General of the Local Administration and published on 2 March 2010 in the official gazette of Andalusia, No. 41, p. 14 (text).
The flag is described as follows:

Flag: Panel in proportions 2/3 (width to length), divided in three parallel horizontal stripes of equal width, the central, white, the upper and the lower, cyan blue (Pantone process blue C. Cyan Blue 100%).

The memoir supporting the proposed flag was redacted by Manuel Francisco Fernández Chaves, Ph.D. in History of the University of Seville. The blue-white-blue flag has been consistently used in the town at least since the middle of the 20th century. A Marian flag was hoisted on the tower of the church of Santa María del Águila, the patron saint of the town, with a celestial shade of blue. The same design, but with a darker shade of blue, has been used by the local football club, Club Deportivo Alcalá, since its foundation. The flag was progressively used by the town's institutions and collectives, long before official approval.
[El Correo de Andalucía, 25 March 2010]

The flag appears to be used, either outdoors (photo, photo, photo) or indoors (photo, photo, photo, photo), photo, photo) with the municipal coat of arms in the center - hardly visible from a distance -, which is not prescribed in the official Decree.

The coat of arms of Alcalá de Guadaíra is prescribed by a Decree adopted on 3 January 1986 by the Government of Andalusia and published on 28 January 1986in the official gazette of Andalusia, No. 7, p. 177 (text). This was confirmed by a Resolution adopted on 30 November 2004 by the Directorate General of the Local Administration and published on 20 December 2004 in the official gazette of Andalusia, No. 246, pp. 28,986-29,002 (text).
The coat of arms, which was validated by the Royal Academy of History, is described as follows:

Coat of arms: Azure a bridge argent masoned sable [ensigned by a castle of the same] port and windows gules surrounded by two keys sable fimbriated argent in pale surmounted by an image of Apostle St. Matthew. The shield surmounted by a Royal crown closed.

The coat of arms was designed by Juan José Antequera Luengo. The charges are taken from different historical seals used by the town. The castle represents the fortress, whose strategical location on the road to Seville is highlighted by the keys. St. Matthew is the town's patron saint. The waves represent river Guadaíra.
[Símbolos de las Entidades Locales de Andalucía. Sevilla (PDF file)]

The coat of arms actually used by the municipality, on the flag included, is slightly different of the design adopted in June 1985: the field is argent, the castle or and the keys sable.
[Símbolos de Sevilla website]

Ivan Sache & Klaus-Michael Schneider, 24 May 2014

Hermandad de Nuestro Padre Jesús Nazareno

The Hermandad de Nuestro Padre Jesús Nazareno (full name: Antigua, Fervoroas, Real e Ilustre Hermandad y Archicofradía dels Santísimo Sacramento, Ánimas Benditas, Nuestro Padre Jesús Nazareno, María Santísima del Socorro y San Juan Evangelista; website), a brotherhood first recorded in 1620 and awarded the Royal title by Ferdinand VII on 10 September 1824, is a main contributor to the celebration of the Holy Week in Alcalá de Guadaíra. On the morning of Maundy Thursday, the brotherhood is in charge of the Judios procession, the most emblematic event of the celebation. The Judios (lit. Jew) are a Roman squadron commanded by a decurion (or capitán), formed of ten lancers and a child (pajineta), escorted by a standard bearer, a reed piper and a drummer. At each station of the procession, the standard bearer "revolves" the flag, as a sign of mockery, while the child dances a kind of Sevilla menuet, hitting with a small stick the tablet where Jesus' sentence is written in Latin, Greek and Aramean.

[Flag]         [Flag]         [Flag]

Flags of the Hermandad de Nuestro Padre Jesús Nazareno - Images by Ivan Sache 14 October 2015

The "revolved" flag is square, purple with a white cross. Different copies of the flag seem to have been used over years:
- 2015: No other charge is added to the flag (video);
- 2014: The flag is charged in the center with "the five crosses potency of Jerusalem", the traditional emblem of the brotherhood (photo);
- 2013: The flag is charged in the center with "the five crosses potency of Jerusalem", the traditional emblem of the brotherhood, superimposed with a representation of the chapel of the brotherhood, the whole placed one grey square covering the intersection of the cross' arms (photos);
- 2007: No other charge is added to the flag (video).

Ivan Sache 14 October 2015