Pueblos Blancos

 

Villamartín is a municipality nestled in the Sierra of Cadiz, which forms part of the Route known as Pueblos Blancos. Located in the lower part of the Baetic Mountains, close to the Guadalete river, this small municipality stands out in the region for the multitude of archaeological sites it preserves.
After the thaw that occurred after the last glaciation, the valley where the municipality is currently located was left completely fertile and in optimal conditions for the development of livestock and horticulture. The good conditions of the land led to the first settlements, which date back to around 4000 BC.
It was not until many centuries later, specifically until 1284, that Villamartín is recorded as a population center. Later, in 1503, the municipality as it is known today was founded. A document issued by the Town Council of Seville granted the land to 118 inhabitants of neighboring villages with the aim of settling the lands corresponding to the Matrera Countryside, where Villamartín is located. The scourge of the plague, together with the economic crisis, provoked strong pressure from the Town Council, which once again took possession of the land only 5 years after it was granted. Almost halfway through the century, a litigation to recover the town would begin and last almost three centuries, until 1818, when a final decision was made in favor of the town.

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HISTORIC HERITAGE

Historic Heritage

Municipal Historical Museum

At the end of the 1990s, the Villamartín town council encouraged the creation of the Municipal Historical Museum, for which a building constructed in the 1960s was adapted for this purpose. With a total of four floors, the museum has permanent exhibitions, distributed chronologically, and a multi-purpose room. Sites from the necropolis, the town center and the fortified enclosure make up some of the remains that are preserved and exhibited in the gallery. A unique opportunity to contemplate the remains of great value that make up the history of Villamartín.

Saint María de las Virtudes Parish Church

The Saint María de las Virtudes Parish Church was the first religious temple built in the town. Its construction began shortly after the foundation of the municipality. Its architectural characteristics follow the Mudejar church model, consisting of a rectangular floor plan formed by three naves. Inside is the main altarpiece, which contains sculptures of Saint Pedro and Saint Pablo.

V Centenary Monument

As a tribute to all those personalities who contributed to the founding of the town, the construction of the V Centenary Monument was commissioned, a sculpture of great sentimental value for all locals.

Church of Saint Francisco

The Church of Saint Francisco, located in the street of the same name, is another of Villamartín’s religious temples. Its altar has a neoclassical altarpiece, donated by the monarch Fernando VII, and the Christ of Veracruz, a 16th century carving. Other images found in this temple, of great value to the local religious community, are those of Saint Tomás, Nuestra Señora de La Soledad and an altarpiece of the Humility and Patience of Jesus. In 1812 the reading and swearing in of the Constitution took place inside, once the Napoleonic troops had withdrawn.

Alberite Dolmen

Discovered in 1992, the Alberite Dolmen is part of the General Catalog of Andalusian Historical Heritage and is one of the great tourist attractions of the town. Due to its size, Alberite is one of the largest prehistoric collective burial sites on the peninsula, as well as one of the oldest necropolises, dated to the end of the 5th century BC by means of the carbon-14 test. Of great interest are the engravings inside, which have managed to be preserved over time.

Municipal Archive

With the aim of bringing the great historical journey of the town closer to both visitors and its inhabitants, the collection and conservation of documentation was carried out in order to found the Municipal Archive. Although it was located on the upper floor of the Town Hall, since 2008 it has been housed in a building next to the municipal library.

Hermitage of Nuestra Señora de Las Montañas

Just 8 kilometers from Villamartín is the Hermitage of Nuestra Señora de Las Montañas, considered to be a place of Marian pilgrimage in the whole region. The temple also worships Saint Ginés, patron saint of winegrowers, as the original function of this sanctuary was to serve as a place of prayer for those dedicated to the cultivation of vines.

Matrera Castle

Another of the town’s monuments of great renown is the Matrera Castle. Declared an Asset of Cultural Interest in the mid-1990s, this building formed part of Seville’s line of defense against attempted Nasrid invasions. The castle was built on the foundations of an ancient Andalusian fortress owned by the Berber tribe of the Magïla, who settled on the peninsula in 711. The fortress consists of a fortified enclosure with two entrances, all under the defense of several towers scattered around the area, of which only the bases remain today.

Church of the Angustias

Located in the Town Hall Square, the Temple of the Anguish was originally part of the Convent of Franciscan Sisters Minor Observants of the Conception. It consists of a single nave, which began to be built at the beginning of the 17th century, and stands out for its sober façade and interior.

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Local Festivities

Fair of Villamartín

The Fair of Villamartín takes place from 21 September for two days, a festivity that has been on record in documents since 1589, when it had a more commercial and livestock character. The town’s location made it a privileged place to hold these gatherings, which brought together people from all over the region and the highlands.

Carnival

Villamartín celebrates its Carnival over two weekends in February, as is traditional in many towns in the region. Local groups of ‘comparsas’ and ‘chirigotas’ provide the music and carnival humor in the Official Musical Ensemble Competition.

Day of Andalusia

For some time now, every 28 February, events have been held in the municipality to celebrate the Day of Andalusia. The local musical bands are in charge of opening the day by playing the anthem in the Municipal Library. The rest of the activities take place mostly in the Municipal Sports Center, where competitions, games and tastings are held. It is worth mentioning that during this day, the “Put Andalusia on your balcony” initiative is promoted, where the collaboration of all the neighbors is sought to decorate the balconies with motifs of this festivity.

Christmas

The municipality lives with great intensity and enthusiasm the Christmas festivities, where the illumination and the decorative motifs adorn the facades and streets of the municipality. Every year the inhabitants of Villamartín get involved in the representation of their Living Nativity Scene, which takes the town back to the time of the birth of Jesus. The nativity scene set up in the premises of Cristina Gómez Vizcaíno’s chemist’s shop is also very popular and, together with the Christmas markets and the ice rink, attracts a large number of visitors every year.

Cavalcade of the Three Kings

On the other hand, Christmas sweets are made by hand in local confectioneries, who put the gastronomic touch to these festivities. After the New Year’s Eve celebration in the Town Hall Square, it is the great Cavalcade of the Three Kings that puts the finishing touch with a parade where the little ones are the undisputed protagonists of the day.

Holy Week

The town lives its Holy Week with great devotion and fervor with the processions of different brotherhoods. During the seven days, religious imagery travels through the streets of Villamartín, along with its people, who experience moments of great emotion. Particularly noteworthy is the joyful celebration of Easter Sunday, with the Resurrected Christ and María Santísima de las Virtudes, who are in the Town Hall Square, accompanied by the musical band.

Pilgrimage

On the 8th of September, Villamartín begins its Pilgrimage in Honor of Nuestra Señora de las Montañas, with the liturgy celebrated in the early hours of the morning. Once the mass is over, the people of Villamartín accompany their patron saint from the Parish Church of Saint María de las Virtudes to the hermitage. According to tradition, the image of the Virgin was found by a woodcutter in the 16th century and, in the middle of the century, a request was made to build a chapel in her honor. The temple was erected in honor of the Virgen de las Montañas and Saint Ginés, patron saint of winegrowers.

Craftwork

ARTCRAFT

The town’s historical relationship with livestock farming and agriculture has led to the creation of a powerful sector linked to the production of high-quality leather products. Villamartin’s saddlery has managed to become a worldwide attraction, with articles such as saddles and boots. Ceramics has also managed to make a place for itself among the local artistic heritage, with works of exquisite workmanship ranging from those displayed on numerous façades in the municipality to the export of porcelain murals.

Routes

Villamartin Path facing the mountains

Along the route we find the remains of old flour mills, as well as the old railway line, which was intended to link Jerez and Almargen, although it was never put into operation. The rich range of fauna and flora that can be found along the 3 kilometers of the route is due to its location, in the heart of the Cola of the Bornos Reservoir Nature Reserve.

Tail of the Bornos Reservoir Nature Reserve

The Tail of the Bornos Reservoir Nature Reserve is a site of more than 80 hectares, located between Villamartín, Bornos and Arcos de la Frontera. This area is home to numerous birds considered protected species. The title of Natural Park was granted in 1989 and that of Special Protection Area for Birds in 2002.

Gastronomy

GASTRONOMY

The recipes that make up the gastronomy of Villamartín are based on organic agricultural production, providing the dishes with great quality and flavor. Of particular note are the traditional local “zopas”, slices of bread sautéed in oil and seasoned in a variety of ways, from tomatoes, peppers or beans to fried birds. Confectionery is one of the town’s culinary strong points, with its white bread rolls, its famous pastry cream and its ‘torpedos’. The quality of the local cheeses and wines have earned Villamartín national and international recognition.

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Villamartin

Cavalcade of the Three Kings

On the other hand, Christmas sweets are made by hand in local confectioneries, who put the gastronomic touch to these festivities. After the New Year’s Eve celebration in the Town Hall Square, it is the great Cavalcade of the Three Kings that puts the finishing touch with a parade where the little ones are the undisputed protagonists of the day.

Villamartin

Day of Andalusia

For some time now, every 28 February, events have been held in the municipality to celebrate the Day of Andalusia. The local musical bands are in charge of opening the day by playing the anthem in the Municipal Library. The rest of the activities take place mostly in the Municipal Sports Center, where competitions, games and tastings are held. It is worth mentioning that during this day, the “Put Andalusia on your balcony” initiative is promoted, where the collaboration of all the neighbors is sought to decorate the balconies with motifs of this festivity.

Villamartin

Carnival

Villamartín celebrates its Carnival over two weekends in February, as is traditional in many towns in the region. Local groups of ‘comparsas’ and ‘chirigotas’ provide the music and carnival humor in the Official Musical Ensemble Competition.

Villamartin

Holy Week

The town lives its Holy Week with great devotion and fervor with the processions of different brotherhoods. During the seven days, religious imagery travels through the streets of Villamartín, along with its people, who experience moments of great emotion. Particularly noteworthy is the joyful celebration of Easter Sunday, with the Resurrected Christ and María Santísima de las Virtudes, who are in the Town Hall Square, accompanied by the musical band.

Villamartin

Pilgrimage

On the 8th of September, Villamartín begins its Pilgrimage in Honor of Nuestra Señora de las Montañas, with the liturgy celebrated in the early hours of the morning. Once the mass is over, the people of Villamartín accompany their patron saint from the Parish Church of Saint María de las Virtudes to the hermitage. According to tradition, the image of the Virgin was found by a woodcutter in the 16th century and, in the middle of the century, a request was made to build a chapel in her honor. The temple was erected in honor of the Virgen de las Montañas and Saint Ginés, patron saint of winegrowers.

Villamartin

Fair of Villamartín

The Fair of Villamartín takes place from 21 September for two days, a festivity that has been on record in documents since 1589, when it had a more commercial and livestock character. The town’s location made it a privileged place to hold these gatherings, which brought together people from all over the region and the highlands.

How to get there

Villamartín is a municipality located between the countryside and the Sierra of Cadiz. It is placed at the same distance from Seville as it is from the city of Cadiz. It borders Utrera and El Coronil, Espera, Bornos, Arcos de la Frontera, Prado del Rey, Algodonales and Puerto Serrano.

From Seville, the A-376 and the A-375 allow for reaching the municipality in the quickest way

From Cádiz, take the AP-4 and then the A-382 to reach Villamartín.

From Jerez de la Frontera, follow the route along the A-382 and then the Carretera of Antequera or A-384.

From Malaga, the shortest route will be the A-357 and then the Carretera of Antequera or A-384.

From Ronda, take the A-374 and the A-384 to reach the town.

Comes has an intercity line from Jerez de la Frontera, Malaga and Ronda to Villamartin. On the other hand, DAMAS runs routes to Villamartín from Seville, Jerez de la Frontera, Malaga and Ronda. You will find all the information on their websites.

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