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Villaviciosa de Odón (Municipality, Community of Madrid, Spain)

Last modified: 2016-05-26 by ivan sache
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Flag of Villaviciosa de Odón - Image by Ivan Sache, 6 August 2015


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Presentation of Villaviciosa de Odón

The municipality of Villaviciosa de Odón (26,911 inhabitants in 2014; 6,817 ha; toursim guide) is located in the south-west of the Community of Madrid, 15 km of Madrid. The population of the municipality experienced a steep increase in the last three decades of the 20th century, from 2,978 inhabitants in 1970 to 22,564 in 2001.

Villaviciosa is named for the old word viciosa, meaning "abundant, affluent, delicious", referring to the natural environment of the town. María Luisa Gefaell (1918-1978) relates in Las Hadas de Villaviciosa de Odón (1953), a reference child book, the legendary foundation of the town as follows:

When Lord Odo, coming from Segovia, reached these fields, he saw woods and woods filled with fairies, roe dears, bears, birds and brooks. He also saw a castle, abandoned by the Moors and Christians. [...] Lord Odo's people came, who built adobe huts between the castle and the Madre brook. This was the bristling field of poplars, holly oaks, pines, fairies, birds and sources.

Villviaciosa was first documented in 919 by the chronicler Ibn Hayyan, as a village named Calatalifa (the Caliph's Castle), whose remains were found in the valley of river Guadarrama. A document from the middle of the 15th century, exhibited in the Town Hall, refers to a land sale involving Odón (Odo), the town's namesake. The Catholic Monarchs granted the town to the Marquis of Moya, who erected the castle in 1496; the castle was rebuilt one century later by the famous architect Juan de Herrera (1530-1597), hired by Diego Fernández Cabrera, Count of Chinchón.
In spring 1739, King Philip V proclaimed the woods of Villaviciosa, then owned by Infante Philip, a Royal Wood, with the relevant privileges and liberties. The town became a leisure place for the Royal court, who enjoyed the bucolic landscapes painted by Francesco Battaglioli (1722-1796). During the reign of Charles IV, his favourite, Manuel Godoy, the husband of the Countess of Chinchón, purchased a manor in Villaviciosa, where he took several decisions of significance for the history of Spain. After his disgrace in 1808, Godoy was jailed for a while in the castle of Villaviciosa, until exiled to France.

Ivan Sache, 6 August 2015


Symbols of Villaviciosa de Odón

The flag of Villaviciosa de Odón is prescribed by a Decree adopted on 21 October 1999 by the Government of the Community of Madrid and published on 25 January 2000 in the official gazette of the Community of Madrid, No. 20, p. 15 (text), and on 3 March 2000 in the Spanish official gazette, No. 54, p. 9,118 (text).
The flag, validated by the the Heraldry Assessors, is described as follows:

Flag: In proportions 2:3. On a green panel a castle or masoned sable port and windows gules ensigned by an axe and a pickaxe crossed per saltire and tied with a scroll all or.

The Royal Academy of History validated the proposed flag, deemed "perfectly acceptable, as a transposition of the legally adopted coat of arms".
[Boletín de la Real Academia de la Historia, 2000, 197:3, 519]

The size and placement of the emblem are not stated in the Decree.
The flag displayed outside and inside the Town Hall (photo, photo, photos) appears to have the emblem centered.
The flag displayed during a sports event organized in the town (photo) has the emblem skewed to the hoist, like on the Spanish flag.

The coat of arms of Villaviciosa de Odón is prescribed by Decree No. 3,325, adopted on 21 December 1973 by the Spanish Government and published on 5 January 1974 in the Spanish official gazette, No. 5, p. 301 (text).
The coat of arms is described as follows:

Coat of arms: Vert a castle or masoned sable port and windows gules ensigned by an axe and a pickaxe crossed per saltire and tied with a scroll all or. The shield surmounted by a Royal crown closed.

The Royal Academy of History validated the proposed coat of arms. The representation of the local castle is differentiated from the castles featured on several local arms by the addition of the emblem of the Cuerpo de Ingenieros de Montes.
The Escuela Especial de Ingenieros de Montes, a school of forestry, was established in 1847 by Bernardo de la Torre y Rojas (1792-1870) in the castle of Villaviciosa. The school was transferred in 1870 to El Escorial and in 1914 to Madrid; it is today part of the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, as Escuela Técnica Superior de Ingenieros de Montes (ETSIM; website).

Ivan Sache, 6 August 2015