Peñaflor is village from Sevilla located on the banks of the Guadalquivir, standing at the end of the province of Sevilla, on the border with Córdoba and, specifically, near the town of Palma del Río. Its district extends from the river Guadalquivir to the foothills of Sierra Morena in Sevilla, towards the north.
Due to its location between the valley of the Guadalquivir and the foothills of the Sierra Norte, Peñaflor is a great base for hiking and cycling in the nearby sierra. At the same time, its relative proximity to Cordoba and Seville makes it easy to visit these two cities and enjoy their rich cultural heritage. It is also possible to visit Carmona and Écija, two cities rich in both art and history and each only 40 km away.
It´s a place of contrasts, where dry and irrigated land, orange groves and pasture, cattle farming and rabbit, hare, partridge and boar hunting mix. Mediterranean plants dominate its flora: holm oaks, cork oaks, wild olive trees, Kermes oak, and in its scrubland, wild asparagus.
History: The archaeological evidence shows us that Peñaflor has been inhabited since the 8th century BC, the end of the Bronze Age. At the archaeological site of La Viña and Pared Blanca (declared a Site of Cultural Interest) it has been shown that there was human presence at that time. Also, in the foothills of the sierra, some 6 or 7 kilometres from the village, can be found the ruins of two walled settlements, which can be dated to the same period. The first of these, La Cerquilla, still has a good part of its wall and two conical towers, formed from piled-up stones, which guard the entrance to the settlement.
By the Iberian-Turdetani period (5th to 2nd century BC) it was known as Celti. The settlement made extraordinary economic advances (trade in olive oil via the Guadalquivir and pottery), until in the 1st century BC it was minting its own coins, with a human image on the obverse and a speared boar and the inscription “Celtitan” on the reverse. In 74 AD, thanks to a decree issued by the Emperor Vespasian, the city acquired the rank of municipium and became known as Municipium Flavium Celtitanum. This new status helped its remarkable development in the 2nd century AD, as can be seen from the most recent excavations carried out at the archaeological site of La Viña (Celti).
In the wake of the Visigoth era (6th century AD), the former city of Celti entered a period of decline which lasted several centuries, only enjoying a revival in the years of Muslim rule, especially that of the Almohads, although with a different location and name to those it had enjoyed under the Romans. The remains of several castles from this time can still be seen within the municipal district: Almenara, Toledillo and Peñaflor, the last situated in the village itself, in the barrio of la Morería.
In the 13th century, after the Castillian reconquest, in a spot near the village, which is referred to in documents from the time as Peñaflor, the Mudéjar tower of Villadiego was erected, in which today can be found the Virgin of the same name. As a date of historical interest, in 1319 the Hermandad General de Andalucía (General Brotherhood of Andalusia), which at this time consisted of the councils of Seville and Cordoba, met in this tower.
The 18th century is the order great moment in the history of Peñaflor, aside from that it enjoyed in the Roman era. In this century, due to the growth in population and general agricultural revival in Spain, the most important buildings and monuments in the village were built, like the Church of San Pedro Apóstol (St. Peter the Apostle), the Monastery of San Luis del Monte (St. Louis of the Mountain) or the Hermitages of la Encarnación (Incarnation) and los Santos Mártires (Holy Martyrs), as well as other civil buildings, like the two palatial houses.
During the 19th century, after Javier de Burgos´ new territorial division of Spain in 1834, Peñaflor became part of the province of Seville, having, until that time, been under the jurisdiction of Cordoba. In the second half of the century, the local economy was revitalized by the arrival of the railway, which brought an important flour factory to the village and the “la Preciosa” copper mine, both of which helped add to the local economy, which had been exclusively agricultural up to that time.
In the first half of the 20th century little changed from the previous century. However, later, during the middle of the century, when the copper mine was closed because it was no longer profitable and the flour factory closed because the course of the Guadalquivir moved after the flood of 1963, Peñaflor found new sources of income as, in the seventies, it became part of the irrigable area of Bembézar, which caused the establishment of two new settlement, Vegas de Almenara and La Vereda, and revitalized the economy of the area. Today the village lives largely from agriculture, from white asparagus production and the service sector.
Celtic Archaeological site
Hermitage of the Incarnation
El Higuerón Cyclopean Ruins
Church of St. Peter the Apostle
Hermitage of the Holy Martyrs
House where Blas Infante married
Parish House (18th century entrance)
Hermitage of the Virgin of Villadiego
Monastery of St. Louis of the Mountain
La Viña (Archaeological Site)
The Roman city of Celit is mentioned various times in ancient texts: Pliny referred to is as an oppidum, or city which formed part of the conventus juridicus (seat of regional government) of Hispalis (Seville). It also appears in the Antonine itinerary, situated along the Roman road from Astigi to Emerita Augusta (Écija-Mérida). The systematic archaeological excavations that have been done at the site have revealed that there was uninterrupted human settlement there for more than a thousand years, from the 8th century BC to the 5th century BC.
Capitals, pedestals and shafts of Roman columns can be found scattered around the centre of the village, almost as if they protect the corners of its buildings and streets. The most beautiful example is a capital from the High Empire where the Calles Nueva and Blancaflor meet. Other shafts and column bases strengthen the corners of the church.
This is a pre-Roman, Cyclopean construction. It is not at all clear what the origin and purpose of El Higuerón were. When it comes to its origin, it was very probably built in the Iberian-Turdetani period, putting it somewhere between the 5th and 2nd centuries BC. As for its purpose, it seems, according to the archaeological remains we have preserved, that it might have been built as dam and defence against rises in the river level. Various different ideas have been mooted for its origin and purpose, without much historical rigour, but what does seem certain is that it wasn´t a port or quay where boats could dock in its base the remains of Roman buildings can be seen nor was it a Phoenician construction, as has been, and still sometimes is, suggested and published.
Walled area and caves
Behind the church and above the house in Calle de las Cuevas is the Almohad Castle, built in the 12th century. It would have been the centre of the medieval city and beside it was the Muslim hamlet, traces of which still remain in the barrio of la Morería, which, with its narrow winding streets, is well worth a visit. There is very little left of the castle itself, just two garden walls, which correspond to the south and west walls.
This is a defensive construction from the Muslim era, situated 7 km along the SE-140, from Peñaflor to Puebla de los Infantes. It is specifically from the Almohad period, in the 12th century. The first references to Almenara are in the Arab chronicles, which tell of raids or razzias by Christian troops in the 12th century. In 1182, Alfonso XII seized Setefilla castle and then, in 1189, took Almenara, although it was soon to fall back into Arab hands. From 1238, with the conquest of Peñaflor, it passed finally to the Castillians. Currently abandoned, it´s in a lamentable state of deterioration. Routes to the castle:
a) The first starts at the 4.7 km mark on the SE-140, on the left of the road. The route starts at the gate bearing the name “El Castillo” and then descends from there in a straight line towards the stream, from which a path leads northwards until you reach the foot of the hill where the castle is located.
b) The second starts at the 7.9 km mark on the SE-140. After passing the first gate on the left of the road, continue heading north-east until you reach a small stone building. From here follow the road south until you arrive at the castle. It´s an easy route. Before starting both routes, at the 1 km mark on the SE-140, to the left of the road, you can see a small stretch of Roman aqueduct that started at the Almenara spring and brought drinkable water the 4.5 km to the city of Celti.
Hermitage of Villadiego
The origin of this hermitage was the medieval tower of Villadiego, from the end of the 13th or start of the 14th century. In the Mudéjar style, it is octagonal and topped with battlements. Inside there are two floors covered with vaults, the lower is hemispherical and the upper also hemispherical, but vaída. Adjacent to the tower is the hermitage itself, also Mudéjar in style. Its presbytery has a cloiser vault or vault of cloth on corbels with horseshoe arches. A bright lancet arch connects the presbytery with the main nave of the church. The layout consists of three naves, separated by semi-circular arches above pillars. There is a collection of archaeological finds from the Roman era in the entrance patio. The hermitage is dedicated to the Virgin of Villadiego, whose image is venerated as the patron saint of Peñaflor. On the 14th of August a religious procession takes the image from the hermitage to the village, returning the first Sunday of October.
Hermitage of the Incarnation
Built in the 18th century, it has a single covered nave covered by a coffered ceiling in wood. The presbytery has a baroque dome decorated with plaster mouldings; this was finished in 1766, according to the inscription in the dome itself. The baroque altarpiece was home to the image that gives the hermitage its name, the Virgin of the Incarnation, which, after the hermitage was threatened with ruin, was moved to the Iglesia de San Pedro (Church of St. Peter), where it is today. The side façade, also baroque, dates to 1788. After being restored, the hermitage is now used for conferences, exhibitions and concerts, among other things.
The factory was set up in 1870, after the arrival of the railway in Peñaflor. The original stone building was destroyed by fire in 1924, and then rebuilt in 1926. In 1963, when the factory closed, the building was abandoned and progressively deteriorated until it again caught fire in 1980, causing the lamentable appearance it has today. In the near century in which it was in use, it was powered by hydraulic energy from the Guadalquivir.
Two of the civil architectural highlights of the village are the Antigua Casa-cuartel (Old Barrack House) and Casa rectoral (Rectory), both from the 18th century. They are both typical of houses of the time, having two floors and being built around a central patio. The upper floor is a covered balcony with rooms off it. Despite their austerity, the facades are typical of the late baroque style of Seville, as it was starting to move towards neoclassicism. The former has a façade cut from stone, while that of the Casa rectoral is built from brick.
Alcauciles a la andaluza (oil, pepper, garlic, artichokes). Pudding and roast-beef.
Peñaflor – How to get there
Exit from Sevilla by the N-IV to Carmona, A-457 to Lora del Río and incorporation into the C-431 to get Peñaflor.
Exit of Córdoba by the C-431 through Villarrubia, Almodóvar and Posadas to get Peñaflor.
Exit from Madrid by the M-30 and join the N-IV through Pinto, Valdemoro, Seseña Nuevo, La Guardia, Tembleque, Villarta de San Juan, Manzanares, Valdepeñas, Santa Cruz de Mudela, Almuradiel, Santa Elena, Carboneros, Guarromán, Andujar, Villa del Río, Montoro, Pedro Abad, Las Quemadas, leaving the N-IV and incorporation into the N-432, and then into the A-431, Córdoba, Villarrubia, Almodóvar and Posadas to arrival at Peñaflor .
Exit from Málaga by the N-331 through Verdiales and Casabermeja, exit and joining the A-92 by Fuente de Piedra, La Roda de Andalucía y Lora de Estepa, joining the A-340, SE-757 and incorporation into A-388 through Herrera, Matarredonda and Marinaleda, joining the N-IV to arrive in Écija, the A-453 through Palma del Río, joining the A-431 to arrival the town.
Distances from Peñaflor
Sevilla 87 km
Priorato 10 km
Carmona 45 km
Lora del Río 19 km
La Campana 31 km