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Valle del Zalabí (Municipality, Andalusia, Spain)

Last modified: 2016-12-21 by ivan sache
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Flag of Valle del Zalabí - Image from the Símbolos de Granada website, 14 May 2014

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Presentation of Valle del Zalabí

The municipality of Valle del Zalabí (2,274 inhabitants in 2014; 10,848 ha; municipal website) is located 80 km east of Granada. The municipality was established by Decree No. 1,864, adopted on 12 July 1973 by the Spanish Government and published on 30 July 1973 in the Spanish official gazette, No. 181, p. 15,458 (text), as the merger of the former municipalities of Alcudia de Guadix (1,295 inh., administrative seat), Charches (427 inh.) and Exfiliana (aka Esfiliana; 557 inh.).

Alcudia was established in the 8th century by Caliph Walid and re-settled in the 10th-11th century. The village was known to the Muslims as Alcudia Alhambra (Red Alcudia), as a reference to the red colour of the slope on which the vilage was built. Conquerred in 1489 by the Catholic Monarchs, the town was incorporated to the Royal domain. In the 16th century, Alcudia was a wealthy town with water supply in all houses; its baths, where nightly ceremonies were celebrated, for instance during weddings, were famous.
Alcudia was sold on 19 May 1628 by Philip IV to Alonso de la Cueva de Benavides (1574-1655), 1st Marquis of Bedmar. His heirs transferred on 22 February 1663 the town to Admiral Pedro Fernández de Contreras, made Count of Alcudia on 15 May 1663 by Philip IV.
Alcudia is the birth place of Hernando el Havaqui, aka the Great Alguacil, who led the Morisco uprising in the areas of Guadix, Baza and Zenete during the Alpujarra War.

Exfiliana, known to the Romans as Ex-Julia (Out of Guadix), was settled in 306 by Christians coming from Acci. The Muslims renamed the town Tustar / Xustar. In the 16th century, the town was known as Yxfilyana; after the Morsico uprising, its 25 households were expelled. The village was resettled by 10 Christian families.
Exfiliana is the birth place of the Sufi poet Al Xustari (1212-1269), who emigrated to Morocco and Egypt, and of the baroque sculptor Torcuato Ruiz del Peral (1708-1773), whose works can be seen all over Spain (Cádiz, Granada, Guadix, Valladolid).

Charches was most probably established in the 16th century by shepherds coming from La Calahorra. The 12 founding families shared the land in 12 plots and set up on a 24-hour basis the irrigation system still in used in the village. The village of Rambla del Agua, originally part of Aldeire, was subsequently transferred to Dólar, and eventually, in 1853, to Charches. Once a big village counting 500 inhabitants in the beginning of the 20th century, Rambla del Agua, now totally depopulated, is the site of an ethnological museum.

Ivan Sache, 14 May 2014

Symbols of Valle del Zalabí

The flag and arms of Valle del Zalabí, adopted on 1 September 2009 by the Municipal Council and submitted on 8 February 2010 to the Directorate General of the Local Administration, are prescribed by a Decree adopted on 22 February 2010 by the Directorate General of the Local Administration and published on 5 March 2010 in the official gazette of Andalusia, No. 44, pp. 14-15 (text).
The symbols are described as follows:

Flag: Rectangular, in proportions three units in length on two units in width (2:3). Divided by an ascending diagonal from the lower hoist to the center of the upper border, blue; from the diagonal, seven horizontal stripes in proportions 1/4, 1/10, 1/10, 1/10, 1/10, 1/10, and 1/4; red, yellow, green, white, green, yellow, and red. The municipal coat of arms placed close to the hoist, its center matching the midpoint of the diagonal. On the blue field are placed four five-pointed stars or, equidistant and forming an imaginary quarter of circle, whose radius excatly matches the center of the upper border (chief) of the shield.
Coat of arms: Per pale, 1. Argent three pallets azure, 2. Vert a bend gules fimbriated or charged with three wheat spikes proper. Grafted in base gules three four-pointed stars or 1 and 2. The shield surmounted by a Royal crown closed.

The memoir supporting the symbols was redacted in December 2008 by Alberto Bernabé Salgueiro (text).
The flag, without any connection with the municipal arms, synthetizes the formation of the municipal territory, using the colours of the different politico-administrative entities that encompass it (Andalusia, Spain, European Union). The municipality is of recent creation; its population nuclei, once independent, have jointly evolved in a period of the history of Spain characterized by the advent of democracy and of the constitutional values, the creation of Constitutional Spain and Autonomous Andalusia, and incorporation into the European Union.
The division of the shield per pale symbolizes the union of different territories - as it once symbolized the union of different lineages. The graft in base symbolizes the incorporation of Valle del Zalabí into the Province of Granada - as it symbolizes the incorporation of Granada into the Kingdom of Spain on the Royal arms.
The first quarter features the arms of the Contreras family, Counts of Alcudia and once lords of Alcudia and Exfiliana. The second quarter features the arms of the Mendoza family, Marquis of Cenete, once lords of Carches. The bend is charged with wheat spikes recalling the significance of grain cultivation in the area. The stars in base symbolize the three former municipalities merged to form Valle del Zalabí.

Ivan Sache & Klaus-Michael Schneider, 14 May 2014