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Candeleda (Municipality, Castilla y León, Spain)

Last modified: 2020-11-02 by ivan sache
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Flag of Candeleda - Image by Ivan Sache, 10 September 2016

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Presentation of Candeleda

The municipality of Candeleda (5,221 inhabitants in 2010, therefore the 5th most populous municipality in the province; 21,552 ha, therefore the second largest municipality in the province; municipal website) is located in the south of Ávila Province, on the border with the Provinces of Cáceres and Toledo, 110 km of Ávila.

Candeleda was already settled 3000 years BC, as evidenced by the rock paintings of Peña Escrita (lit., the Written Rock). The same site was settled in the 2nd Age of Iron by the Vettones, who built there the citadel of El Raso (c. 300 houses spread over 20 ha, housing a population of 2,500); settled in the 4th century BC, El Raso was abandoned in the 1st century BC, maybe after negotiation with the Roman invaders. Archeological remains prove that the citadel was not seized by force but abandoned quite swiftly; the El Raso Treasure (Tesorillo de El Raso), including silver jewels, torcs, a bangle, a bracelet, a fibula and five Roman silver coins was probably hidden inside a wall by his owner expecting to retrieve it later, which does not seem to have happened.

Located on the Roman causeway linking Hispania Ulterior and Hispania Cisterior, Candeleda belonged to the villa (administrative division) of Mérida. Following the Muslim invasion of Spain, Candeleda, as part of the Sierra de Gredos range, was on the border between the Christian and Muslim states until the end of the 12th century; after the reconquest of the area, King Alfonso VIII fixed in 1193 the limit between the Councils and Dioceses of Ávila and Plasencia (today in Extremadura). At the time, resettlement of Candeleda started, aiming at preventing the penetration and colonization of the southern Ávila territory from Plasencia. At the end of the 12th century, 13 new settlements emerged in the southern Sierra de Gredos, including Candeleda (1271).

Candeleda was mentioned for the first time in Alfonso X the Wise's donation to Velasco Gómez de Ávila of the Candeleda carriles, that is the fees perceived on transhuming sheep crossing the Candeleda Pass. Later on, the Candeleda Pass, as part of the Western Leonese Royal Trial (Cañada Real Leonesa Occidental) was one of the 13 Royal passes used to cross the Sierra de Gredos by some 35,000 sheep. This made the wealth of Candeleda, which had 1,500 inhabitants in the 16th century.
On 14 October 1392, King Henry III granted the title of villa to Candeleda, with Constable Ruy López de Dávalos as its lord; disgraced by John II, the Constable was succeeded on 1 September 1423 by Pedro López de Zúñiga, Minister of Justice of the King and Lord of Miranda de Castañar and Valdeverdeja, whose descendants ruled the village until the abolition of the feudal system in 1812.

Ivan Sache, 13 May 2011

Symbols of Candeleda

The flag and arms of Candeleda are prescribed by a Decree adopted on 24 September 1994 by the Provincial Government and published on 19 October 1994 in the official gazette of Castilla y León, No. 202 (text).
The symbols are described as follows:

Flag: Quadrangular flag, with proportions 1:1, crimson. In the middle of the flag is placed the municipal coat of arms, in full colors.
Coat of arms: Shield in Spanish shape. Per fess, 1a. Azure a castle or masoned sable port and windows gules, a bordure compony argent and gules (Dávalos), 1b. Argent a bend sable a chain or in orle (Estuñiga [Zúñiga]), 2. Azure a chapel argent an oak proper terraced vert. The shield surmounted with a Royal Spanish crown.

The flag in actual use (photo, photo, photo) is in proportions 2:3.


Flag of Candeleda - Image by Ivan Sache, 10 September 2016

Local sportsmen are offered the flag of their hometown, inscribed beneath the shield with "CANDELEDA / ESPAÑA" (most probably to facilitate identification) written in yellow letters (photo, photo).

Ivan Sache, 10 September 2016