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Guillena (Municipality, Andalusia, Spain)

Last modified: 2015-11-20 by ivan sache
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Flag of Guillena - Image after the Símbolos de Sevilla website, 31 October 2015

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Presentation of Guillena

The municipality of Guillena (10,654 inhabitants in 2008; 22,663 ha; municipal website), is located 20 km from Seville.

Guillena was named after a Roman colony, Villa Agilius / Gaelius; several Roman ruins have indeed been excavated in the town, for instance a milestone from Roman road No. XXII, marking the distance between Villa Agilius and a place called Mons Marioru, not located yet, eight tombs, a Corinthian capital, remains of houses and an aqueduct. Under the Muslim rule, Guillena became a strategic place, protecting Seville from potential invaders coming down from the Sierra Morena. Sacked by the Castilians in 1213, Guillena (mentioned as Guliena in the Annals of Toledo) was eventually reconquered by King Ferdinand III only in 1247. Seized without fighting, the town proved to be very useful in the subsequent reconquest of Seville. Alfonso X appointed a lord and knights to defend Guillena; in 1286, Sancho IV granted the title of villa to the town, while Alfonso XI granted arms to the town in 1319 as a reward for its resistance to a Moorish attack. In 1631, the domain of Guillena was incorporated into the County of Torre, owned by Perafán de Rivera.

Ivan Sache, 2 July 2009

Symbols of Guillena

The flag and arms of Guillena, adopted on 14 July 2008 by the Municipal Council and submitted on 16 July 2008 to the Directorate General of the Local Administration, are prescribed by a Decree adopted on 23 July 2008 by the Directorate General of the Local Administration and published on 7 August 2008 in the official gazette of Andalusia, No. 157, p. 70 (text).
The symbols are described as follows:

Flag: Flag in proportions 2:3, made of three vertical stripes with respective proportions 2-3-2, the outer stripes blue and the central stripe white. In the center the municipal coat of arms with a height of 60% of the hoist.
Coat of arms: Shield in Spanish shape. Gules a castle or port and windows azure masoned sable charged with a pomegranate proper surrounded by a tree dexter and a palm tree sinister all argent, in base waves argent and azure 3 + 2. The shield surmounted by a Royal crown closed [detailed description skipped].

The castle recalls the fortress, today totally ruined, which was depicted on the early seal of the municipality. The pomegranate symbolizes the town's patron saint, Our Lady of the Pomegranate. The waves represent river Huelva. Trees and palms are abundant in the region.
[Símbolos de las Entidades Locales de Andalucía. Sevilla (PDF file)]

A circular seal inserted in a document dated 1501 shows, over waves,a tower in Arab or Mudéjar style, with four crenels and an arched gate, surrounded dexter by a tree and sinister by a palm tree; the seal is inscribed "Sello de Guliena". The modern coat of arms started to be used at the end of the 19th century in an oval shape and placed on a parchment cartouche with diverse adornments, "Azure a castle or charged with a pomegranate a bordure or inscribed 'Armas de la villa de Guillenaa. Partido judicial de Sevilla", etc. in letters sable". Other versions of the arms show the field as gules.
Juan José Antequera Luengo, commissioned to adapt the arms to the standards of modern municipal heraldry, submitted a proposal on 5 April 1994. The proposal was adopted and used by the municipality, which did not register it [until 2008]. The proposed companion flag is rectangular, in proportions 11:18, made of five parallel stripes perpendicular to the hoist, the first and the fifth, red, the second, yellow, the third, white, and the fourth, blue, in respective proportions 2:1:1:1: 2, with the municipal coat of arms in the center. The proposed flag was not accepted.

The arms are therefore based on a seal that might have been used since King Sancho IV granted the status of villa to the town, in 1286. De Mena claims that the arms were granted in 1319 by Alfonso X the Wise after the defenders of the castle had repelled a Moorish attack, which is not documented by any other source. The castle was indeed seized in 1213 by a Castilian army after a fierce resistance; the castle, today ruined, was a rectangular Islamic fortress defended by towers. The seal must symboiize this castle, and not the more recent castle erected at the end of the 13th century and owned by Queen María de Molina, still standing in the hamlet of Torre de la Reina (lit. the Queen's Tower).
[Juan José Antequera Luengo. Heráldica oficial de la provincia de Sevilla]

Ivan Sache, 31 OCtober 2015