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Écija (Municipality, Andalusia, Spain)

Last modified: 2015-11-14 by ivan sache
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Flag of Écija - Image from the Símbolos de Sevilla website, 1 June 2014


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Presentation of Écija

The municipality of Écija (40,143 inhabitants in 2008; 97,873 ha; municipal website), is located 90 km from Seville. The town is known as Ciudad del Sol (Sun Town), Ciudad de las Torres (The Towers' Town) and Sartén de Andalucía (Andalusia's Frying Pan). Écija indeed enjoys a sunny, hot weather; a temperature of 48 °C (in the shade!) was recorded in July 1966.

Founded in the 8th century BC, the settlement of Écija became in 14 BC a brand new Roman colony named Colonia Augusta Firma Astigi - a big town with paved streets, a forum, temples, water supply and a sewerage system. Located on the Via Augusta and watching the bridge crossing river Genil, Astigi was the administrative capital of one of the four jurisdictions of the Betic Province, ruling 49 towns and encompassing most of the modern Provinces of Córdoba, Granada and Jaén. Olive oil, exported via the Genil, the Guadalquivir and the sea port of Seville, made the wealth of the town. The town remained a significant political and cultural center during the Visigothic period, as the seat of a bishopric, and during the Muslim period, as a provincial capital called Istiÿa / Astiÿa. Berber colonists developed agriculture, introducing cotton growing, so that the town became famous as Madinat al-Qutn (Cotton Town).
Reconquered in 1240 by Ferdinand III, Écija was resettled under the feudal system, with big domains allocated to lords, military orders and religious bodies. The 18th century was the Gilded Age of Écija; there were once in the town (at least as nominal owners) 40 noble lords, including 13 Grandees of Spain. The historic center of the town is one of the most comprehensive Baroque whole in Andalusia and even in the Iberian Peninsula, with a wide array of palaces, churches with towers, convents, manors...
In 1402, Henry II granted the title of ciudad (town) to Écija; Charles I added Muy leal (Very Loyal) and Muy noble (Very Noble), completed in 1710 by Philip V to Constante, leal y fidelísima (Constant, Loyal and Most Lawful). In 1880, Alfonso XII allowed the town to be named Excelentisimo (Most Excellent). In 1966, the town was granted the title of Historical and Artistic Monument by the Ministry of Culture.

Ivan Sache, 29 June 2009


Symbols of Écija

The flag and arms (municipal website) of Écija, submitted on 27 February 2009 by the Municipal Council to the Directorate General of the Local Administration, are prescribed by a Decree adopted on 24 March 2009 by the Directorate General of the Local Administration and published on 7 April 2009 in the official gazette of Andalusia, No. 67, p. 56 (text).
The symbols are described as follows:

Flag: Blue flag. In the middle a yellow sun with a human face.
Coat of arms: Azure a sun with a human face or a bordure of the same charged with the Latin motto "ASTIGI. CIVITAS SOLIS VOCABITUR UNA" in letters sable. The shield surmounted by a mural crown or with five crenellated towers and four machicolations masoned sable port and windows azure. The shield surrounded by a scroll inscribed with the honorific titles "MUY NOBLE", "MUY LEAL" and "CONSTANTE, LEAL Y FIDELÍSIMA".

The writing "ASTIGI. CIVITAS SOLIS VOCABITUR UNA" (Écija. Only one [town] shall be named Sun Town) comes from Isaiah (XIX, 18). According to the tradition, a temple was dedicated to a solar divinity in Sun Street (Calle del Sol). The sun is actually a representation of the harsh, hot climate often mentioned in the literature.
[Símbolos de las Entidades Locales de Andalucía. Sevilla (PDF file)]

Ivan Sache, 29 June 2009


 
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