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Piedrahíta (Municipality, Castilla y León, Spain)

Last modified: 2015-01-17 by ivan sache
Keywords: piedrahíta | ávila |
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Flag of Piedrahíta, left, as prescribed, right, as represented - Images by Ivan Sache, 11 July 2011

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Presentation of Piedrahíta

The municipality of Piedrahíta (2,055 inhabitants in 2010; 2,870 ha; municipal website) is located in the southwest of Ávila Province.

Piedrahíta is said to have been the place of a victory of Count of Castile Fernán González over the Moors in 918. Indeed, the village was reconquerred and resettled in the second half of the 12th century, being incorporated into the alfoz (group of villages) ruled by the Ávila Council. The oldest mention of Piedrahíta is to be found in a document signed by Alfonso VIII in 1189; together with the villages of El Barco, El Mirón and La Horcajada, Piedrahíta formed the domain of Valdecorneja.

Alfonso VIII's daughter, Queen Berenguela, set up her residence in the fortress of Piedrahíta; some historians believe that her son, later King Fernando III the Saint, was born there. The domain of Valdecorneja was granted to the Infants of Castile until King Henry II granted it in 1366 to García Álvarez de Toledo, as a compensation for his "abandon" of the title of Grand Master of the Order of Saint James to Gonzalo Mejía. His descendant García Álvarez de Toledo was made Duke of Alba in 1472 by Henry IV.

Fadrique Álvarez de Toledo (1488-1531), the 2nd Duke of Alba, was the first Count of Piedrahíta; his son, Fernando Álvare de Toledo (1507-1582), the 3rd and most famous Duke of Alba, aka "The Iron Duke", was born in Piedrahíta. Fernando de Silva y Álvare de Toledo (1714-1776), 12th Duke of Alba, commissioned the French architect Marquet to build the Palace of the Dukes of Alba in French baroque style (1755-1766). The 13th Duchess of Alba, María del Pilar Teresa Cayetana de Silva y Álvarez de Toledo (1762-1802) invited in the Piedrahíta palace several artists, including Francisco Goya, who painted there in 1786 El verano (The spring) and La vendimia (The grape harvest).

Ivan Sache, 11 July 2011

Symbols of Piedrahíta

The flag and arms of Piedrahíta are prescribed by a Decree adopted on 13 October 2000 by the Municipal Council, signed on 9 April 2001 by the Mayor, and published on 27 April 2001 in the official gazette of Castilla y León, No. 82, p. 6,506 (text).
The symbols are described as follows:

Flag: Quadrangular flag with proportions 1:1, tierced at hoist, the first part black and the fly part green. In the middle is placed the municipal coat of arms.
Coat of arms: Quarterly, 1. and 4. Argent a crow sable, 2. and 3. Or a pine vert and an oak of the same on rocks proper. The shield surmounted and adorned with a steel helmet facing dexter. Behind the helmet a motto of letters or on a scroll azure "Muy noble y leal Villa de Piedrahíta" [...].

The website of the Piedrahíta Goyesca festival shows a drawing of the flag with proportions 2:3 instead of the prescribed 1:1.

The crows (cornejas) recall that Piedrahíta was part of the domain of Valdecorneja. The other quarters recall the popular etymology of the town's name, referring to stone (piedra) posts (hitos) erected by the local hunters to mark their way in the dense oak and pine forest.

The arms of Piedrahíta appear in the 2nd quarter of the arms of Ávila Province.

Ivan Sache, 11 July 2011