The municipality of Écija, the largest area of the province of Seville, is located at the eastern end of the province, near to Córdoba and belonging to the region of La Campina. In 1996 there was a population of 37,292 inhabitants, most of who resided in the principal city, the rest of the population of the area living in towns including Cerro Perea, Villanueva del Rey, Isla Redonda and Los Arenales.
Écija limits with the municipalities of Palma del Río, Fuente Palmera, Guadalcázar, Fuentes de Andalucía, La Luisiana, Cañada Rosal, Osuna, Lentejuela, El Rubio, Marinaleda, Herrera, Santaella and La Carlota.
As for location, the geographical environment of Ecija is an appropriate place for the establishment of settlements, the development of livestock and agricultural and manufacturing trade.
This situation soon put Ecija crossroads in the north to south and from east to west so that metals could be circulated. From the Neolithic period there are traces of the population in the municipality.
However the first inhabitants of what is today’s city settled in the area in the eighth century BC, a period that produced the revival of various population centres throughout Western Andalusia, possibly encouraged by the presence of the those who already colonized the east -mainly from the Syrian-Palestinian Gaza, which formed the basis of what we know as Phoenician colonization.
In 208 BC the city was occupied by the Romans during the campaigns of Scipio and the Turdetania Silano. In 14 BC, the Emperor Augustus founded the August Colony Astigi Company in the place of the old Astigi. From its elevation to the rank of Colony and its later fixation as capital a Conventus aggrandized the city. The archaeological and epigraphic testimonies have given the idea of the vitality of Ecija in the times of the Empire and its monumental buildings.
Even during the decline Ecija continued to maintain its role as a big city until the period of the fifth century Germanic invasions, the last of which was the Visigoths. Under the Gothic kings, Bética Catholics lived in peace, this time characterized by the continuance of Roman social, economic and cultural schemes, so that Ecija should retain the prestige of imperial times, as evidenced by the Episcopal see that remained in Visigoth times. After the Muslim occupation, Arab written sources describe Ecija as a city of importance, even in the pre-Islamic period.
Ecija was incorporated into the Crown of Castile Fernando III in 1240, and benefited from numerous privileges and grants, and therefore was at its greatest splendor in the eighteenth century.
Disentailment measures and the loss of territorial rights and privileges of the nobility in the nineteenth century adversely affected the economy of Ecija. The absence of a strong bourgeoisie to promote industrialization led to economic stagnation. However, in the last quarter of the century the railways were built that resulted in major renovations and urban improvements.
The twentieth century saw a major crisis at the end of the Civil War. The heavy migration of the fifties and sixties significantly reduced and slowed population growth.
The negative situation of those decades has undergone a reversal from the seventies, resulting in a moderate economic and demographic improvement.
Cerro del Alcazar de San Gil (“The riding school).
Plaza of Spain (“The Hall”).
Almohad wall and flanking towers (XII-XIII).
Islamic fortress (Cerro San Gil, “archaeological park of the Plaza de Armas).
Arabic Caliphate inscriptions: Torre de la iglesia de Sta. Cruz (church tower)
Convento de Santa Florentina.
Convento de las Teresas. Former Palace of La Conde de Palma.
Ermita de Nuestra Señora del Valle.
Convento de las Marroquíes.
Church of the Convento de San Pablo y Santo Domingo.
Sta. María Museo Arqueológico Parroquial.
Santiago El Mayor Church.
Church of San Francisco.
Church of San Gil.
Church-Hospital de La Concepción.
Church of Santa Bárbara.
Church of San Juan.
Church of Ntra. Sra. de la Victoria
Parish Mayor de Santa Cruz
Palace of the Marquis of Peñaflor
Palacio de Valdehermoso
Casa Palacio de los Valderrama.
Palacio de Marquis de Benamejí
Arca Real del Agua (Royal coffers)
Carniceras Reales (Royal Butchers)
Silk Guild House.
Wool Guild House.
Municipal Historical Museum.
Plaza de España.
Plaza de Toros
Sopa de gato -cat soup: derived from the “soup of garlic” but adding fried garlic, peeled tomatoes and green peppers and sometimes asparagus and clams to the broth along with slices of bread and poached eggs.
Espicanacas labradas: boiled spinach mashed with raw garlic, cumin, vinegar and salt garnished with bread and garlic. It is served cold with paprika oil.
Asparagus casserole: fried garlic and paprika, sautéed asparagus, crushed cumin, fried bread, salt and vinegar. Ingredients are covered in water and poached eggs.
Salmorejo: similar to Andalusian gazpacho but thicker. It is served with a garnish of cucumber, peppers, ham and egg. This dish is considered the most popular of the countryside around Ecija.
Jams: The Carmelite Community made with natural products, delicious strawberry jam, orange, three citrus and apples with raisins.
Moroccan biscuits: made by the community of the Franciscan Convent Conception “The Moroccans” of Ecija following a recipe of Navarre brought by some nuns who came to live in this convent. They consist of beaten eggs, sugar and fine flour. Once cooked in the oven they are covered with melted sugar to polish and crisp. They are available to buy locally.
Ecijano buds: pasta base of egg yolks and sugar. The pasta, is cooked in a bain marie and cover with a layer of melted sugar.
Ecija produces excellent bread and is famous for the muffins and butter cake preferably consumed at breakfast.
With its convenient location, it is 20 minutes by autovia (highway) from the city of Córdoba and 40 from Seville, the capital of Andalusia; Ecija is an important point of communication with all of Andalusia. The E-5 allows a direct link to the state capital.
Traffic is also channeled via the C-333 to the port of Algeciras and Cadiz. Communication with Granada and Malaga is made using autovia 92, which refers to Ecija as the C-430.
High speed line that unites the axis MADRID – CORDOVA – SEVILLE, Écija enjoys a privilege that has very little common in other localities of the region.
By plane: 30 minutes of the Andalusian capital and connected by a smooth autovia the airport is Seville, which maintains daily connections with Madrid and Barcelona, and on alternate days to other cities in Spain as well as Paris, London and Rome.
Distances from Écija
Jaén 143 km
Sevilla 88 km
Lucena 65 km
Córdoba 52 km
Madrid 421 km
Granada 169 km
Palma del Río 30 km