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El Barco de Ávila (Municipality, Castilla y León, Spain)

Last modified: 2015-01-17 by ivan sache
Keywords: el barco de ávila | ávila |
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Flag of El Barco de Ávila - Image by "Dumah" (Wikimedia Commons), slightly modified, 9 March 2011

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Presentation of El Barco de Ávila

The municipality of El Barco de Ávila (2,771 inhabitants in 2010; 1,268 ha; unofficial website) is located in the southwest of Ávila Province.

El Barco de Ávila is the site of the Valdecorneja castle, originally built in the 12th century over the ruins of Celtiberian and Roman fortifications, and completely rebuilt in the late 15th century. Urraca, the daughter of King Alfonso VI, was the first lord of Valdecorneja, a domain formed of the villages of El Barco de Ávila, El Mirón, La Horcajada and Piedrahíta. The Valdecorneja castle is one of the cradles of the Dukes of Alba, starting with García Álvarez de Toledo, made Duke of Alba in 1472 by Henry IV.
El Barco de Ávila is the birth place of the conquistador Juan Maldonado y Ordoñez de Villaquirá (1525-1572), founder on 31 March 1561 of the town of San Cristóbal in Venezuela, which is named for the San Cristóbal parish in Salamanca.

El Barco de Ávila is famous for the judías del Barco (aka judiones del Barco), that is the local dry beans. The judías are protected by a Protected Geographical Status (Judías de El Barco de Ávila), whose rules were approved on 3 July 2006 by the Government of Castile and León. The Status, recognized by the European Union, increased the Specific Denomination granted in 1984 by the Spanish state. The cultivation of the judías del Barco is permitted in 48 municipalities of the Ávila Province and one municipality of the Salamanca Province, using only seven bean varieties (including the very local Judión de Barco). A Regulation Council (website) is in charge of all the legal and regulatory aspects of the production.

Ivan Sache, 13 May 2011

Symbols of El Barco de Ávila

The flag and arms of El Barco de Ávila are prescribed by a Decree adopted on 16 August 1994 and published on 14 September 1994 in the official gazette of Castilla y León, No. 178 (text).
The symbols are described as follows:

Flag: Quadrangular flag, plain white. In the middle of the flag is placed the municipal coat of arms.
Coat of arms: Azure a boat [barca] or on waves azure and argent ensigned with a Latin cross or as the mast, a pennant purpure flying from the cross below the sinister arm, ensigned with the Marian monogram cross argent. The shield surmounted with a Royal Spanish crown.

A photo of the Valdecorneja castle, flying the flags of Castilla y León, Spain and El Barco de Ávila, indicates that the municipal flag is indeed rectangular.

The Royal Academy of History recalled that the proposed arms are based on the exhaustive survey of the emblems used in the past to represent the municipality; from the middle of the 19th century onwards, a boat was used as the canting emblem of the town, without a specific shape or color and with several variant and "whimsical additions". The proposed design is considered as "ultimate" with the additions deemed acceptable, which the Academy accepted, while mentioning it was also questionable. Regarding the design, the Academy found the pennant purpure not easy to distinguish from the field azure and the Marian monogram totally unknown to the tradition.
The Academy validated the proposed flag ( Boletín de la Real Academia de la Historia, 1996, 193, 1: 178).

The arms of El Barco de Ávila appear in the base of the arms of Ávila Province.

Ivan Sache, 13 May 2011