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Cabra (Municipality, Andalusia, Spain)

Last modified: 2017-01-29 by ivan sache
Keywords: cabra |
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Flag of Cabra - Image from the Símbolos de Córdoba website, 15 September 2015


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Presentation of Cabra

The municipality of Cabra (20,835 inhabitants in 2013; 22,807 ha; municipal website) is located in the geographical center of Andalusia, 70 km south-east of Córdoba.

Cabra was established on the site of an Iberian oppidum located on the Villa Vieja (Old Town) promontory. According to Titus-Livy, Licabrum was a "wealthy and well-fortified place" ruled in 192 BC by King Corribilo. Licabrum was succeeded by the Roman town of Igabrum, of significance in the 1st-2nd centuries, which grew up to a second promontory known as El Cerro (The Hill).
During the Visigothic period, farms and estates allowed the development of agriculture. The town, then known as Egabro, was an administrative center and the seat of a bishopric, with jurisdiction on a wide territory encompassing the villages of Lucena, Benamejí, Rute, Priego de Córdoba, Carcabuey, Zambra, Monturque, Aguilar, Montilla, Montemayor, Espejo, Castro del Río, Baena, Zuheros and Antequera; the acts of the Toledo Councils name bishops John (2nd Council, 589) and Bacauda (8th Council). The consecration stone of the altar of the St. John on the Hill church, dated 30 May 650, is still shown in the today's church.

After the Muslim conquest, the town, renamed Qabra, was the capital of a province (cora), smaller in area than the old Visigothic diocese. The Muslim and Mozarab traditions co-existed in the town, forming a rich cultural melting-pot.
The blind poet Muqaddan ibn Muafa, known as Al Qabri, invented in Cabra the muwashshah (Spanish, moaxaja) poetic style. Completely new in Arabic poetry, a muwashshah is made of various strophes of five or more verses in classical Arab or Hebrew and ends with a jarcha, a small poem in popular Mozarab forming the closing strophe of the whole poem. The muwashshah was the first attempt of strophic structure in Arab poetry./P>

Cabra was reconquerred by the Christians in 1240, probably on 15 August - since the church built on the site of the mosque was dedicated to the Assumption of Mary. The local traditions claim that the reconquest of the town was bloody; in fact, most of the Muslim inhabitants had abandoned it before the arrival of the Christians. The town was rebuilt in the late 15th - early 16th century according to a lattice plan; the population increased from 3,500-4,000 in the beginning of the 16th century to more than 8,500 in 1577. Several religious orders settle in the town; on 10 November 1550, Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba, Count of Cabra, approved the building of a new Town Hall.

Ivan Sache, 15 September 2015


Symbols of Cabra

The flag of Cabra (photo, photo, photo) is vertically divided into two equal parts. The hoist part is made of four rows of three squares each, each square being quartered per saltire red-white-yellow-green. The fly part is horizontally divided red-yellow-white-green with the municipal coat of arms in the middle.
The flag, designed by Miguel Ángel Gersol, was selected in 1989 in a public contest. The colours, also used on the coat of arms, and the design of the hoist part are derived of the banner used in the pilgrimages dedicated to the Virgin de la Sierra (photo, photo, photo, photo), the town's patron saint.

The coat of arms is "Per fess, 1. Vert semé of stars argent two goats [cabras] passant or, 2. Gules five Moor's heads proper. The shield surmounted by a Royal crown open. The shield surrounded by the writing "MUY ILUSTRE Y LEAL CIUDAD DE CABRA" [Very Illustre and Loyal Town of Cabra].
The first quarter makes the arms canting. The second quarter recalls the struggle against the Moors, on the model of the coat of arms of Baena, which also features five Moor's heads.
[Símbolos de Córdoba website]

The symbols have not been officially registered yet. The Municipal Council has initiated in August 2013 the registration process. The local historian and heraldist José Manuel Valle Porras has been commissioned to write the historical memoir required to have the coat of arms formally registered. The new design "hardly differs" from the coat of arms in use today.
The historian explained that the coat of arms dates back to the late Middle Ages. At the time, the Count of Cabra raised a pennant charged with a goat when fighting war. A document kept in the town's archives, labelled "confirmation of the 1510 privileges", shows the coat of arms of the town, made of two quarters, the one with two goats and the other with five Moor's heads; the shield is not crowned. In the middle of the 18th century, the local historian García Montero presented a new representation of the arms, with a series of stars added in the upper quarter. This could have been a metaphoric representation of the town's name by the Capricorn constellation. García Montero's representation of the arms is quite similar to the one used today. The historian Rodrigo Méndez Silva reported yet another version of the arms, with seven goats and no Moor's head, of which no representation is, unfortunately, available.
[El Correo de Cabra, 26 August 2013]

Ivan Sache, 15 September 2015


 
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