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Civil Architecture, patrimonial legacy

Civil Architecture

Patrimonial legacy

One of the outstanding elements of civil architecture in the Sierra de Aracena y Picos de Aroche are the bullrings. There is no real explanation for the large number of bullrings, 25 in total, in such a limited area of scattered villages with a small population. This peculiarity means that nowadays you can enjoy bull fights in the strangest places, like in the inside of medieval castles, public squares or in buildings which are perfectly integrated in the urban layout.

One of the outstanding elements of civil architecture in the Sierra de Aracena y Picos de Aroche are the bullrings. There is no real explanation for the large number of bullrings, 25 in total, in such a limited area of scattered villages with a small population. This peculiarity means that nowadays you can enjoy bull fights in the strangest places, like in the inside of medieval castles, public squares or in buildings which are perfectly integrated in the urban layout.

Still in use is the 17th century bullring ‘el Parque’, situated in the Mea-dow of Aguijuela, in the municipal district of Almonaster la Real, where bull fights are celebrated during the Saint Eulalia Pilgrimage.

From 1606, the festivity of Saint Eulalia has been celebrated without interruption in Almonaster and every Saturday, coinciding with the pilgrimage, the young lads have ‘run’ with the bulls inside the bullring.

Converting fortresses into bullrings is quite common in the mountain region. The Bullring in Aroche has occupied the inside of the castle since the 19th century and the spectators’ seats are on the old walls. In Cumbres Mayores, the bullring, which is built in masonry, is joined to the old walls and has a curious rectangular floor base.

Another curious bull fighting place is in Linares de la Sierra. One of its public squares is turned into a bullring. The barriers remain in the square all year round and there is even a permanent seating area.

Apart from these peculiar cases, there are other villages in the region with magnificent bullrings like Higuera de la Sierra (19th century), Cortegana (1854), Santa Olalla del Cala (1911) or the bullring in Aracena (1864) which is of great Sevillian influence.

ANCESTRAL AND STATELY HOMES.
POPULAR ARCHITECTURE

Aroche is one of the towns in the Natural Park with the largest number of well-kept stately homes. They can all be found within a short distance of one another, around the Priory Church of Nuestra Señora de la Asunción (16th century) and the Town Hall.

The Home of the Chaves family – Figueroa, The Tinoco Home – Castilla (1692), the Palatial Home of the Earl of Palancar, today ‘Las Peñas’ Cultural Centre, the Home of the Marquis of los Arcos (18th century), the Home of the Earl of Alamo (16th -18th century) and the home of the Marquis of Valdeloro (17th century) are all worth a visit.

In Cortegana we can see the distinctive Estrada home, although in this case it is contemporary architecture. This building was built at the beginning of the 20th century and is one of the best examples of eclectic architecture.

There is another type of popular architecture in the area which is more widespread but still interesting. Gene-rations of mountain dwellers have lived in isolation, making it necessary for them to use endogenous elements in their houses which have given the mountain village architecture a very attractive and differentiating appearance. They have used chestnut tree wood for beams, stone for the walls, clay bricks fired in Arab kilns, whitewash to keep the houses immaculately white… all typical elements of popular architecture in the mountain region. The low onestorey houses have used the unevenness of the land to their advantage and the roofs are covered with the traditional Arab tiles.

The economic boom in the farm land in the 18th century gave rise to the proliferation of cellars and attics where typical regional products like ham, cured meats, oil, fruit and vegetables were kept. Architectural elements called corridors or suntraps, attics with a roof facing south and used for drying vegetable products, were then added and are still conserved in some houses in Funeteheridos, Los Marines or Valdelarco.

ANÍBAL GONZÁLEZ.
ANDALUSIAN REGIONALISM

The Sevillian architect Aníbal González was one of the exponents of Andalusian regionalist architecture. He created the project of the popular Plaza de España in Seville, built for the Latin American Exhibition in 1929. Fortunately for the mountain region, he spent long holiday periods in this area, mainly in Aracena, where he left his personal hallmark on a large number of buildings.

Javier Sánchez–Dalp y Calonge was a patron of Aníbal González in Seville and, satisfied with the creations of the architect, he entrusted him with various projects, such as the present Town Hall of Aracena (1911), the Washing area in the Concejo Fountain (1927), the Arias Montano Casino (1910), the entrance to the Mara-villas Cave (1923) or the houses in the neighbourhood of Aracenilla and the home of the Sánchez Dalp family in San Miguel Meadow (1910).

In Jabugo there is also a building designed by Aníbal González, the emblematic Tiro Pichón.