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Las Navas del Marqués (Municipality, Castilla y León, Spain)

Last modified: 2020-02-17 by ivan sache
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Flag of Las Navas del Marqués - Image by Eduardo Panizo Gómez (Vexilla Hispanica website), 9 May 2011

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Presentation of Las Navas del Marqués

The municipality of Las Navas del Marqués (5,770 inhabitants in 2010, therefore the 4th most populous municipality in the province; 9,450 ha; municipal website) is located in the west of Ávila Province, on the border with Segovia Province and Community of Madrid, 40 km of Ávila.

Las Navas del Marqués was resettled in the 13th century as part of the plains (navas) of Ávila; in the Ávila Chart signed in 1256, King Alfonso X commissioned Gil Blázquez Dávila and other local knights to resettle those plains. The privileges granted to the resettlers, confirmed by the subsequent Kings of Castile, allowed the emergence of local landlords whose descendants formed the local aristocracy. In the 15th century, the small village of Las Navas increased up to the remains of a ruined castle, demolished in 1476 according to Henry IV's Chronicles; the village mostly lived from sheep breeding.

In 1485, Pedro Dávila y Bracamonte, lord of Villafranca and Count of Risco (1475) was made lord of Las Navas by the Catholic Monarchs, as a reward for his contribution to the seizure of Granada. His nephew Pedro Dávila y Zúñiga (1508-1567), 5th lord of Villafranca and 3rd Count of Risco, was made Marquis of Las Navas in 1533 by Charles I. In 1540, the Marquis ordered the building of a palace highlighting his humanist values; in 1547, the Marquis and his wife, María de Córdoba y Enríquez (1497-1560), founded the Sts. Dominic and Paul monastery, granted to the Dominicans, provided the noble couple would be buried there.
The Dávila, succeeded in the 1860s by the Dukes of Medinaceli, made of Las Navas del Marqués a residence place highly prized by the Court. Following their tracks, the Dukes of Medinaceli offered in 1863 a plot of land for the building of the Madrid-Ávila railway line, being rewarded with a railway station. Ángela María Pérez de Barradas, Duchess of Denia and the wife of Luís Tomás de Villanueva y Fernández de Córdoba, 15th Duke of Medinaceli, ordered the building of the private vacation resort known as "El Parque del Chalet", transformed in 1943 into the "Ciudad Ducal" borough.

At the end of the 19th century, several aristocratic and upper-class families from Madrid used to spend veranos (lit., "harvest periods", here, summer vacation) in the fresh, mountain environment of Las Navas, preferred to the hot and busy capital. The building of mountain houses and manors and of family hotels started in 1895; to please the tourists, the municipality organized bull races, festivals and balls, and managed a casino-theater. The fame of Navas del Marqués also attracted the Madrid intelligentsia. In summer 1917, the two young poets Vicente Aleixandre (1898-1984, Nobel Prize in Literature, 1977) and Dámaso Alonso (1898-1900) met in Las Navas; they became good friends so that Las Navas is considered as the early cradle of the group of Spanish writers known as Generación del 27, which would also include Rafael Alberti, Luis Cernuda, Jorge Guillén, Pedro Salinas, Federico García Lorca and Gerardo Diego.

Ivan Sache, 9 May 2011

Symbols of Las Navas del Marqués

The flag and arms of Las Navas del Marqués are prescribed by a Decree adopted on 15 December 1993 by the Provincial Executive, signed on 16 December 1993 by thePresident of the Government, and published on 25 January 1994 in the official gazette of Castilla y León, No. 16 (text).
The symbols are described as follows:

Flag: On a green field a big off-centered white cross on left at 1/3 of the flag's height. In the middle of the cross is placed the municipal coat of arms.
Coat of arms: Azure, 13 bezants or. The shield surmounted with a Royal Spanish crown.

Ivan Sache, 9 May 2011