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Alcalá del Río (Municipality, Andalusia, Spain)

Last modified: 2015-11-17 by ivan sache
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Flag of Alcalá del Río - Image by Ivan Sache, 15 October 2015

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Presentation of Alcalá del Río

The municipality of Alcalá del Río (1,690 inhabitants in 2014; 8,197 ha; municipal website) is located 15 km north of Seville. The municipality is made of the town of Alcalá del Río (8,063 inh. in 2007) and of the three colonization settlements of Esquivel (733 inh.), San Ignacio del Viar (499 inh.) and El Viar (648 inh.).

Alcalá del Río has been continuously settled since the Prehistoric times. Its strategic location allowed the control of the routes connecting the mines of the Sierra Morena to the plain of Seville. The urban nucleus was established in the 8th-7th century BC by Phoenician colonists. After the conquest of the lower valley of the Guadalquivir in the 3rd century BC, the Romans renamed the town Ilipa; Strabo and Ptolemy called it Ilipa Magna (the Great), which indicates its significance. In the 2nd century BC, the town minted its own coins, which feature symbols of the main sources of income for the town, a wheat spike and a fish. At the end of the 1st century BC, the town was granted the privileged status of municipium. Ilipa Magna was enclosed in the 1st century by a big wall of more than 1.20 m in thickness and 8 m in height, protected by towers; the wall had a perimeter of 1,500 m, enclosing a 14-ha urban area. In 206 BC, Scipio the African defeated Hasdrubal near Ilipa, which was the first step towards the Roman domination over all Iberia.
The town started to decline in the 3rd century, when mining production diminished and port activity was transferred to Hispalis (Seville), and would become significant again only after the Muslim conquest. The medieval town of Qalat Ragwal was established within the Roman walls, while an alcázar was built by the Almohad caliphs to defend the valley of Guadalquivir threatened by the advance of the Christians. Conquered in 1248 by King Ferdinand III the Saint, the town was incorporated to the Kingdom of Castile; no longer a strategic place, Alcalá del Río became a peaveful place living mostly from agriculture and fishery.

The establihsment of Esquivel was decided on 23 November 1951 by the National Institute of Colonization (INC). The architect Aníbal González Gómez, commissioned to design the new settlement, was eventually replaced by Alejandro de la Sota, who submitted in October 1952 a draft of the new settlement. As opposed to traditional settlements, the architect set up the main square of the colony at its southern border, open to the neighbouring environment. The INC did not enjoy the audacious draft but did not oppose; accordingly, Esquivel is considered as a unique urbanistic experiment from the 1980s.
San Ignacio del Viar, designed by the architect Aníbal González Gómez, was completed in 1954. Of a more claisscial design than Esquivel, San Ignacio del Viar is modelled on Andalusian villages and on the Seville artixtical tradition.
El Viar was designed by Pedro Castañeda Cagigas as a square settlement. The INC shared the irrigated plots surrounding the village among married farmers with several children, younger than 50, who could read and write. The bid was launched on 24 October 1952, the first plots being offered in March 1953.

Ivan Sache, 15 October 2015

Symbols of Alcalá del Río

The symbols of Alcalá del Río were adopted on 16 December 1997 by the Municipal Council. The procedure of registration of the symbols was declared null and void by a Decree adopted on 5 October 1999 by the Directorate General of the Local Administration and published on 7 December 1999 in the official gazette of Andalusia. Following the rejection of the proposed symbols on 16 April 1998 by the Royal Academy of Córdoba, the municipality failed to submitt a new proposal in due time.

The flag is horizontally divided blue-white.
The coat of arms is "Gules a King St. Ferdinand clad azure and argent crowned or on a throne of the same holding dexter a sword argent hilted or and sinister an orb azure surrounded by Sts. Isidor and Leander clad like a pope all on a stage argent the base azure in chief the anagram "NO-DO" argent in base a fish of the same and a wheat spike or in orle. A bordure or inscribed "CALLE, GUARDA Y COLLACIÓN DE SEVILLA" in letters sable. The shield surmounted by a Royal crown open."
The coat of arms is identical to the arms of the town of Seville, except the bordure and the fish and wheat spike, taken from the coins minted in the Roman town of Ilipa Magna. Similar arms have been used locally since the late 17th century, while municipal seals features the "NO-DO" anagram proper to Seville. As said above, the coat fo arms was rejected by the Royal Academy of Córdoba for the lack of differenciation from the arms of Seville.
[Municipal website]

Ivan Sache, 15 October 2015