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Castilleja de Guzmán (Municipality, Andalusia, Spain)

Last modified: 2015-11-18 by ivan sache
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Flag of Castilleja de Guzmán - Image from the Símbolos de Sevilla website, 6 June 2014

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Presentation of Castilleja de Guzmán

The municipality of Castilleja de Guzmán (2,871 inhabitants in 2014; 205 ha; municipal website), is located 10 km north-west of Seville.

Castilleja de Guzmán is the site of the biggest Chalcolithic settlement ever discovered in Europe, made of a dense network of caves, galleries and dolmens (La Divina Pastora, Matarrubilla, Montelirios, Ontiveros).
The first modern settlement was established by the Moors, as Dunchuelas Raxit. Dunchuelas is a Mozarab word of Latin origin (from dominicellas, "maids"), which might indicate that the Romans already settled the place. A local legend says that this was the site of a collegium for vestal virgins. Almansor stayed for a while in a palace erected in the Muslim alquería.

After the conquest of Seville in 1248, King Ferdinand III the Saint granted in 1249 the town to the Order of St. James. His son, Alfonso X the Wise, soon (1251) transferred Castilleja to the Order of Alcántara; this was reflected in the new name of the town, Castilleja de Alcántara, or Alcantarilla. The town was acquired in 1532 by Pedro de Guzmán y Zúñiga, who would be made Count of Olivares on 12 October 1535 in Palermo by Charles I, as a reward for his service to the Emperor in Italy, Germany and Tunisia. Together with Castilleja de la Cuesta, acquired the next year, Castilleja de Guzmán was incorporated into the State of Olivares.
In the 17th century, the Counts of Montelirio acquired the domain and transformed the castle into the Divina Pastora farm. The estate was sold in the middle of the 19th century to the Counts of Castilleja de Guzmán. In the middle of the 19th century, the place was inhabited by 25 families living in autarchy, without any urban structuration; in 1900, the village was still made only of the farm and its dependencies.

Joaquín Rodríguez Rivas y de la Gándara, 4th Count of Castilleja de Guzmán, transformed the farm into a palace, designed in 1927 by the architect Gabriel Lupiáñez Gely, and surrounded by gardens established in 1929 by the French landscape designer Jean Claude Nicolas Forestier. Today owned by the University of Seville, the palace, the farm and the gardens were inscribed in 2005 on the Register of Andalusian Historical Heritage.
[Castilleja de Guzmán, singularidad en inminente peligro, by Jorge Benavides Solís (2007)]

Ivan Sache, 6 June 2014

Symbols of Castilleja de Guzmán

The flag of Castilleja de Guzmán (photo, photo) is horizontally divided green-white-blue with the municipal coat of arms in the middle [Municipal website].

The coat of arms of Castilleja de Guzmán is "Per fess, 1. Argent a castle or fimbriated sable masoned of the same port and windows gules ensigned by a Cross of Alcántara, 2. Quartered per saltire, 1. and 3. Azure two caldrons checky or and gules hilted by seven snake's heads vert, 2. and 4. Argent five ermine spots sable. The shield surmounted by a Royal crown closed." [Municipal website]
The arms can be read as a rebus of the town's name, the first quarter representing "Castilleja", once ruled by the Order of Alcántara, while the second quarters represents "Guzmán" with the arms of the Guzmán lineage.

Ivan Sache & Klaus-Michael Schneider, 6 June 2014