Last modified: 2016-04-10 by ivan sache
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The municipality of Gradefes (997 inhabitants in 2014; 20,586 ha; municipal website) is located in the east of the Province of León, 40 km of León. The municipality is made of the villages of Gradefes, Cañizal de Rueda, Carbajal de Rueda, Casasola de Rueda, Cifuentes de Rueda, Garfín de Rueda, Mellanzos, Nava de los Caballeros, Rueda del Almirante, San Bartolomé de Rueda, San Miguel de Escalada, Santa Olaja de Eslonza, Valdealcún, Valdealiso, Valduvieco, Villacidayo, Villanófar, Villarm&aacaute;n and Villarratel.
Gradefes and the neighbouring villages are famous for religious
buildings dating back to the Middle Ages.
The Santa María de Gradefes monastery was established for the Cistercian order by Teresa Pérez, the widow of García Pérez, a knight rewarded by King Alfonso VII the Emperor with domains located in Gradefes. Following the use of the time, Teresa Pérez served as the first abbess of the monastery until her death. The abbey church, whose building started in 1177 and was several postponed due to the lack of funding, has an apse nave, one of the five of that kind in Spanish monasteries.
The San Miguel de Escalada monastery was established in the 10th century by Asturian colonists commissioned by King Alfonso III to re- settle the territories conquered form the Moors. The church was consecrated in 913. The remains of the monastery - two churches and a tower - are emblematic of the Mozarab style of the time. The seven western arches of the portico are dated from the 10th century, while the five other ones are dated from the late 11th century, as well as the tower and the chapel. Why a second church was erected, separated form the original, Mozarab church, by a tower, is still a matter a speculation. The newer church might have been used as a pantheon for abbots and benefactors, such as Antonio Vélez de Guevara, the confessor of King Philip II, or as the village church. The monastery was registered as a National Monument in 1886.
Villarmún, named for its re-settler, Vermudo, has kept a church erected in the 12th century, with a single nave and a semicircular apse.
Santa Olaja de Eslonza keeps the ruins of the San Pedro de Eslonza monastery, founded in the 10th century, looted in 988 by the Saracens, and restored in 1099 by Urraca of Zamora. The monastery was once the second most important in the province after Sahagún.
Ivan Sache, 19 February 2015
The flag and arms of Gradefes are prescribed by a Decree adopted on 4
March 2011 by the Municipal Council, signed on 13 March 2011 by the
Mayor, and published on 7 April 2011 in the official gazette of
Castilla y León, No. 68, p. 25,458 (text).
The symbols, designed by Jorge Múgica Seco, are described as follows:
Flag: Flag diagonally divided by a cotice, the upper quarter argent, the cotice azure, the lower quarter purpure. In the center is placed the coat of arms of Gradefes.
Coat of arms: Per pale, 1. Gules a Mozarab cross or, 2. The arms of the Kingdom of León. Grafted in base azure a river argent superimposed with a wheel or. A bordure checky of 38 pieces argent and azure. The shield surmounted with a Royal Spanish crown.
Ivan Sache, 17 February 2015
Flag of Gradefes - Image by Ivan Sache, 19 February 2015
The flag and arms of Gradefes are
prescribed by a Decree adopted on 12 June 1998 by the Government of the Province of León and published on 29 June 1998 in the official gazette of
Castilla y León, No. 121 (text).
The symbols are described as follows:
Flag: Quadrangular, in proportions 1:1. Made of a panel divided into two equal horizontal stripes; the upper white and the lower green. In the center is placed the coat of arms of Gradefes.
Coat of arms: Per fess, 1. Vert seven Romanesque arches or masoned sable the central higher and pointed over waves argent and azure, 2. Argent a lion purpure armed and langued gules crowned or. A bordure azure in chief three fleurs-de-lis or. The shield surmounted with a Royal Spanish crown.
The Royal Academy of History found several reasons to reject the
proposed coat of arms. The Romanesque portico, crowded with specific
details, is intended to accurately represent the facade of the
chapterhouse of the Gradefes monastery. The representation of a
specific monument, however, does not comply with good style. Moreover,
it is not acceptable to feature the royal arms of León just because of the geographical location of the place. Finally, the submitted drawing
shows a bordure with an odd charge, which is omitted in the description.
There is no objection to the proposed flag, but the use of the rejected arms postpones its approval.
[Boletín de la Real Academia de la Historia, 1999, 196, 1: 163-164.]
Ivan Sache, 19 February 2015mailme.html