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Alhama de Granada (Municipality, Andalusia, Spain)

Last modified: 2017-01-30 by ivan sache
Keywords: alhama de granada |
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[Flag]

Flag of Alhama de Granada - Image from the Símbolos de Granada website, 20 April 2014


See also:


Presentation of Alhama de Granada

The municipality of Alhama de Granada (6,154 inhabitants in 2013; 43,300 ha; municipal website) is located on the border with the Province of Málaga, 60 km south-east of Granada.

Alhama has been identified to the Roman settlement mentioned as Artigi / Artigis by Pliny the Elder. Remains of Roman baths, as well as several epigraphic artefacts and coins have been indeed found in Alhama, but there is no evidence that Artigi was located there. Moreover, the remains of a bridge and roads, often presented as the evidence of the location of a significant Roman settlement, might be of later, Arab origin.

Alhama, named for the Arab word al-hamma, "a spring of hot water", was located on the borders of the Provinces of Granada and Málaga; accordingly, the town was involved in the political and armed struggle of Al-Andalus, especially during the Muladi revolt (11th century). The importance of the town increased during the Nasrid rule over Granada (13th-15th centuries), when Alhama watched the road between Granada and the ports of Málaga and Vélez-Málaga.
The medieval town of Alhama was erected on the top of the gorge of river Alhama, which protected its northern and southern entrances. The western and eastern sides of the town were protected by fortified walls. Moreover, the town was protected from Christian raids by a network of watch towers erected in the neighborhood, of which three have been preserved (Torresolana, la Luna and Buenavista).
Located 2 km from the town, the Arab baths, today incorporated in a modern spa (website), are among the best preserved in Andalusia. They were probably built in the turn of the 13th-14th centuries, when the Nasrid dynasty succeeded the Almohad dynasty in Granada. Mentioned in 1350 by the geographer Ibn Batuta and described in 1497 by the German traveller Jeronim Münzer, the baths of Alhama were highly prized by the Nasrid court of Granada. Following the Islamic use, the baths are divided into three sections supplied with cold, tepid and warm water.

The Christians troops seized Alhama by surprise on 1 March 1482; the event was a main step towards the conquest of Granada. The Moors attempted several time to re-conquer this strategic place; since military operations failed, they proposed to pay 30,000 golden doblas, to deliver the town of Zahara, and to release all Christian prisoners, again, to no avail.

Ivan Sache, 20 April 2014


Symbols of Alhama de Granada

The flag of Alhama de Granada (photo) was approved by a Resolution adopted on 29 February 2000 by the Municipal Council, signed the next day by the Mayor, and published on 22 July 2000 in the officlal gazette of Andalusia, No. 84, p. 11,998 (text).
The flag is described as follows:

Flag: Rectangular panel, of three units in length on two units in width, green with a crimson diagonal stripe crossing it from the hoist's upper angle to the fly's lower angle. The proportions of the colours shall be two of green for one of crimson. The flag shall bear in the center, on the crismon stripe, the coat of arms of Alhama de Granada, fully represented with the proper colours of its charges and fields.

The process iof the registration of the flag appears to have been stopped there. Accordingly, the flag is unofficial.
The Municipal Council decided to start (again) the process of "rehabilitation" of the municipal flag and arms by a Resolution adopted on 5 November 2010 by the Municipal Council, signed the same day by the Mayor, and published on 27 January 2011 in the officlal gazette of Andalusia, No. 18, p. 106 (text).

The flag was designed by Andrés García Maldonado (La Bandera Oficial y el Escudo Heráldico de la Ciudad de Alhama de Granada, February 1994), today Secretary General of the Chamber of Commerce of Málaga. Born in 1948 in Alhama. García Maldonado (website) moved to Málaga in 1967 and to Rincón de la Victoria in 1982. However, he never forgot his home town, "a bridge between Granada and Málaga", where he still owns a house; he was awarded on 10 June 2010 the title of "Prefered Child" of Alhama. A journalist, historian, lawyer and professor, García Maldonado contributed to the foundation of the University of Málaga (1973). He presided several associations, such as the Málaga Press Association, and local circles. He founded cultural festivals, such as the Alhama Festival, the Andaslusian Song Festival and the Andalusian Sea Festival, and presided official events, such as the Centenary of Pablo Picasso and the Centenary of the Andalusian Earthquakes (1984-1986). The latter event involved more than 100 towns and villages and peaked with the reconstruction in Alhama of the Monument to Universal Solidarity, eventually inaugurated in 2003. García Maldonado released in 1992 the "Manifesto for the Concord between Peoples and Cultures", calling for the removal of the opposition of cultures and nations from the historical, cultural and traditional commemorations.
García Maldonado published some 60 books and more than 100 monographs on the history of the Provinces of Granada and Málaga, with a special emphasis on Alhama; he was awarded the Spanish Writers' Gold Medal in 1996. Also a playwright, he wrote in 1969 La reclamación de Judas, forbidden by the government after the first performance held at the Málaga Experimental Theater.

The Royal Academy of History turned down in 1992 the flag proposed by the Municipal Council. While the Academy accepted the general design and valdiated the colours - green for the Arab past of the town and crimson for the reconquest by the kings of Castile -, it rejected the addition on the flag of the "coat of arms from the Historical Archives", as adequate in its representation and colours for a seal but inadequate for a flag.
[Boletín de la Real Academia de Historia, 1992, 189, 3:513]

The coat of arms of Alhama de Granada, of long, unofficial use, is "Azure a castle argent masoned and port and windows sable on a base vert issuant from the castle two armed arms argent holding a key sable the central tower of the castle ensigned with a pomegranate proper faceted gules and leaved vert the tower accosted by two ladders sable the base charged with a third ladder argent placed per fess. The shield surmounted by a Royal crown closed."
These arms were granted in 1689, together with a charter of privileges and confirmations. The coat of arms represents the assault of the fortifications of the Moorish town. The two keys stand for the two gates heading to Granada and Málaga, respectively.
[Símbolos de las Entidades Locales de Andalucía. Granada]

Ivan Sache & Klaus-Michael Schneider, 14 May 2014


Submunicipal entity of Ventas de Zafarraya

[Flag]

Flag of Ventas de Zafarraya - Image from the Símbolos de Granada website, 16 January 2017

The submunicipal entity of Ventas de Zafarraya (1,308 inhabitants in 2015; 1,923 ha; municipal website) is located 70 km south-west of Granada, on the border with the Province of Málaga.

The former municipalities of Ventas de Zafarraya and Alhama de Granada were merged to form the municipality of Alhama de Granada by Decree No. 3,327, adopted on 21 December 1973 by the Spanish Government and published on 5 January 1974 in the Spanish official gazette, No. 8, p. 301 (text).
The submunicipal entity of Ventas de Zafarraya, approved on 27 July 2000 by the Municipal Council of Alhama de Granada, was established by Decree No. 73, adopted on 19 February 2002 by the Government of Andalusia and published on 19 March 2002 in the official gazette of Andalusia, No. 33, pp. 4,211-4,212 (text).
The separation of Ventas de Zafarraya was requested on 15 June 2011 by the Municipal Council of Alhama de Granada; the request was unanimously withdrawn on 13 March 2014, as recognized by Decree No. 130, adopted on 9 April 2014 by the Government of Andalusia and published on 23 September 2014 in the official gazette of Andalusia, No. 186, pp. 10-13 (text).

Ventas de Zafarraya emerged as an inn (venta) established on the Royal road Granada-Málaga. In 1835, the village counted more than 100 inhabitants and separated from Calar del Rey, being renamed Ventas del Llano de Zafarraya.
The village was completely destroyed by the earthquake of 25 December 1884, which claimed 74 lives. Rebuilt with funds offered by Spanish colonists from Cuba, the village was renamed for a while Nueva Habana.
The Compañ’a de Ferrocarriles Suburbanos de Málaga inaugurated in 1922 the railway station of Ventas de Zafarraya. The cog railway line expected to link Málaga to Granada via Vélez and Alhama was never completed beyond Ventas de Zafarraya. A tourism hotel was built there, boosting the development of the village. The line was eventually decommissioned on 12 May 1960.

The flag of Ventas de Zafarraya, adopted on 3 June 2010 by the Village Council and submitted on 18 October 2013 to the Directorate General of the Local Administration, is prescribed by a Resolution adopted on 23 October 2013 by the Directorate General of the Local Administration and published on 5 November 2013 in the official gazette of Andalusia, No. 217, p. 33 (text).
The flag is described as follows:

Flag: Rectangular, made of three horizontal stripes, the upper blue, the central green, and the lower brown, the central stripe twice wider. All over, along the hoist, a white equilateral triangle, charged in the center with the coat of arms of the town.

The flag was designed by Juan Bueno Pérez.
The general design of the flag is a tribute to the humanitarian work of the people of Cuba after the village had been destroyed by the 1884 earthquake.
Brown is the colour of the soil. It represents the fertility of arable land and the effort of the resettlers of the Dehesa de Zafarraya to crop the place, once covered with holly oaks, cork oaks and other oaks. Started during the reign of Charles III, the effort allowed farmers coming from different regions of Spain to establish a stable population. Arable land was the source of income of the village.
Green represents hope, with a strong connection with the natural environment. The double width of the green stripe reflects its dual meaning:
- Green represents the product of the soil: wheat, barley and the other non-irrigated crops, emblematic of the remote past, as well as the products of irrigated cropping, known in all Spain and a part of Europe, all of them being the source of income for the inhabitants of the village.
- Green represents the Kingdom of Granada, as a colour featured on the flag of Granada and of Andalusia, therefore a tribute to the Andalusian past of the village.
Blue is the colour of the sea and the sky. It represents water, an element required for life, agriculture, and the development of the village.
White represents purity. It means security and limpidity, as the colour of snow. It also represents the Andalusian people, its houses, traditions and culture, highlighting that Ventas de Zafarraya belongs to Andalusia.

The coat of arms of Ventas de Zafarraya, adopted on 7 July 2005 by the Village Council and submitted on 8 July 2005 to the Directorate General of the Local Administration, is prescribed by a Resolution adopted on 13 July 2005 by the Directorate General of the Local Administration and published on 25 July 2005 in the official gazette of Andalusia, No. 143, pp. 26-27 (text).
The "rehabilitated" coat of arms is described as follows:

Coat of arms: Shield in ecclesiastic shape. quarterly.
First quarter. Gules a castle or port and windows azure.
Second quarter. A green holly oak on a red background.
Third quarter. A six-pointed star (or, of David) on a black background. Fourth quarter. Argent a lion crowned or.
All over an oval inescutcheon azure three fleurs-de-lis or fimbriated gules.
Grafted in base argent a pomegranate.
Surmounted by a Royal crown.

The coat of arms was "rehabilitated" by Juan Bueno Pérez.
The coat of arms dates back to the establishment of the municipality of Ventas de Zafarraya (1836). JosŽ del Castillo MontnŽr, last manager of the Dehesa de Zafarraya, initiated the separation of Ventas from Calar del Rey (today, Zafarraya) and served as the first Mayor of the new municipality. The coat of arms was used as a seal on a document related to the separation process, found by chance by the author in the municipal archives, in a bad state of conservation. No heraldic description was found, either.
[Municipal website]

Ivan Sache, 16 January 2017


 
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