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Horcajo de las Torres (Municipality, Castilla y León, Spain)

Last modified: 2014-12-27 by ivan sache
Keywords: horcajo de las torres | ávila |
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Presentation of Horcajo de las Torres

The municipality of Horcajo de las Torres (916 inhabitants in 2010; 4,733 ha; unofficial website) is located in the north of Ávila Province, on the border with Salamanca Province, 80 km of Ávila.

Horcajo de las Torres was mentioned for the first time in 1250 in a document relating the erection of the parish church to a basilica by the Bishop of Ávila; this confirms that the settlement was already well-organized at the time. Most probably, the site of Horcajo ("confluence"), watered by three rivers, was already settled in the Celtiberian times.
Once located on the border with the Muslim states and then on the border between the Kingdoms of Castilla y León, Horcajo developed after the 13th century and the unification of Castile as a small, wealthy town; the former fortresses were transformed in hostels to cater merchants and pilgrims. Horcajo remained part of the Royal domain, highly prized by the Court for resting and hunting (the local tradition claims that Queen Isabel the Catholic was born in the village), until the middle of the 16th century, when King Charles I granted it to Fernando Valdés, Grand Inquisitor of Castile. The village was completely destroyed in 1700 during the fighting that opposed the future Philip V to Archduke Charles of Austria; Philip V contributed to the rebuilding of the village by suppressing tax.

Ivan Sache, 29 April 2011

Symbols of Horcajo de las Torres

The flag and arms of Horcajo de las Torres are prescribed by a Decree adopted on 20 March 1996 by the Provincial Executive, signed on 29 March 1996 by the President of the Government, and published on 22 April 1996 in the official gazette of Castilla y León, No. 77 (text).
The symbols are described as follows:

Flag: Rectangular flag, with proportions 2:3, made of a white panel with an orle serrated with red and white triangles in turn. In the middle is placed the municipal coat of arms.
Coat of arms: [Per fess,] 1. Vert a pairle argent wavy, 2. Gules a castle or masoned sable port and windows azure. The shield surmounted with a Royal Spanish crown.

The Royal Academy of History proposed modifications to the coat of arms. The proposed arms are canting: the pairle represents the river confluence (horcada) while the towers ("torres") represent the Torres lineage; however, the Academy did not accept the unsubstantiated relation between this lineage and the name of the village. Moreover, the Academy questioned the balance of the design, suggesting to replace the wavy pairle, unusual in Spanish heraldry, by a "regular" pairle, and to surround it with three towers or. The suggested arms are "Vert a pairle argent cantonned with three towers or. The shield surmounted with a Royal Spanish crown." The proposed flag is as described in the Decree, the height of the teeth being specified as 1/12 of the flag's length. ( Boletín de la Real Academia de la Historia, 1997, 194, 2: 396).

On 11 December 2007, Diario de León reported that the national and municipal flags had been robbed from the balcony of the town hall (article).

Ivan Sache, 29 April 2011