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Sorvilán (Municipality, Andalusia, Spain)

Last modified: 2017-02-18 by ivan sache
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Flag of Sorvilán - Image from the Símbolos de Granada website, 16 May 2014


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Presentation of Sorvilán

The municipality of Sorvilán (569 inhabitants in 2014; 3,433 ha; municipal website) is located 90 km south of Granada. The municipality is made of the villages of Sorvilán, Alfornón (101 inh.), Melicena (169 inh.) and Los Yesos (78 inh.).

Sorvilán was most probably established in the 10th-11th century as an alquería (estate). The irrigation system characteristic of the region - water was collected from sources into tanks and then transported to the plots by aqueducts - dates back to the same period. Grapevine was, possibly, already grown for table grapes. The Melicena tower was erected in the 14th century by the Nasrid, on the foundation of an older one; at the same time, the Berbers established Alfornón, in the north of the municipal territory. After the end of the first Morisco uprising on 8 March 1500, the domain of Torvizcón, directly depending of the Crown, was founded; Sorvilán would be part of it until the end of the feudal system. The area was resettled in 1571 by 2,423 families coming from León, Galicia, Asturias and Castile. Most available land was cultivated, while holly oak woods were cleared. Grapevine was cultivated in the whole district, the wine being exported to Jerez and Málaga.
At the end of the 17th century, the domain was transferred to the Count of Cifuentes, Fernando Silva y Zapata-Portocarrero. This started the Gilded Age of Sorvilán: grapevine was grown everywhere possible. The grapes produced uphill, whose maturation could hardly occur, were used to make brandy - there were up to five distilleries in Alfornón, those produced midhill, around the village of Sorvilán, were used to make wine and the famous "wine spirit" used to process the Jerez wines, while those produved downhill, in Malicena, El Saltadero and Los Yesos, were used to produce raisins mostly sold in Málaga. Mulberry cultivation was also significant, the leaves being shipped to the silk waorkshops of Upper Alpujarrra, especially to Ugíjar.
In the 19th century, the establishment of Polopos as a separate municipality divided the population of the municipality of Sorvilán by two. After the phylloxera crisis, the villagers replaced grapvine with almond trees.

Ivan Sache, 16 May 2014


Symbols of Sorvilán

The flag (photo, photo) and arms of Sorvilán, adopted on 22 March 2000 by the Municipal Council and validated on 21 December 2000 by the Royal Academy of Córdoba, are prescribed by Decree No. 58, adopted on 26 February 2001 by the Government of Andalusia and published on 22 March 2001 in the official gazette of Andalusia, No. 34. (text). This was confirmed by a Decree adopted on 30 November 2004 by the Directorate General of the Local Administration and published on 20 December 2004 in the official gazette of Andalusia, No. 246, pp. 28,986-29,002 (text).
The symbols are described as follows:

Flag: Rectangular, in proportions 2:3, made of three horizontal stripes in proportions 2/3, 1/6 and 1/6, the upper stripe, green with a white tower surrounded by two yellow leaves of service tree; the middle stripe, white, and the lower stripe, blue.
Coat of arms: Vert a tower argent masoned sable on waves argent and azure surrounded by two leaves of service tree or. The shield surmounted by a Royal crown closed.

The tower represents the Madroño and Melicena towers. The leaves of service tree make the arms canring, recalling the etymology of the vilage name (from serbo, "a service tree").
[Símbolos de las Entidades Locales de Andalucía. Granada (PDF file)]

Ivan Sache & Klaus-Michael Schneider, 16 May 2014