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Villafranca de la Sierra (Municipality, Castilla y León, Spain)

Last modified: 2015-01-17 by ivan sache
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Flag of Villafranca de la Sierra - Image by "C3PO" (Wikimedia Commons), modified, 30 March 2011

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Presentation of Villafranca de la Sierra

The municipality of Villafranca de la Sierra (152 inhabitants in 2010; 3,980 ha; unofficial website) is located in the southwest of Ávila Province, 50 km of Ávila. The municipality is made of the villages of Villafranca de la Sierra (capital) and La Bibera, and includes two exclaves, La Dehesa de la Serrota (1,506 ha; the biggest enclave / exclave in the Ávila Province) and Puerto Cha (283 ha).

Villafranca de la Sierra was granted on 26 April 1256 by King Alfonso X to Esteban Domingo de Ávila, better known as Esteban Domingo Dávila, Mayor of Ávila, who had helped King Ferdinand III (Alfonso X's father) in the reconquest of Jaén (1225) and Baeza (1227) from the Moors; his son Juan Esteban supported Alfonso X in the Tarifa expedition. The chart granted to Villafranca was confirmed by the subsequent kings.
Pedro Dávila y Bracamonte, lord of Villafranca, was made in 1475 Count of Risco; his descendant Pedro Dávila y Zúñiga, Principal Accountant and Ambassador of King Charles V, was made Marquis of Las Navas de Pinares.

The painter Benjamín Palencia (1894-1980), an early friends of the Surrealist and Cubist artists, settled in 1940 in Villafranca de la Sierra, where he painted several local landscapes and traditional scenes (images).

Ivan Sache, 6 April 2011

Symbols of Villafranca de la Sierra

The flag and arms of Villafranca de la Sierra are prescribed by a Decree adopted on 6 May 1998 by the Provincial Government and published on 27 May 1998 in the official gazette of Castilla y León, No. 98 (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. Argent an oak proper fructed or terraced vert, a bordure azure with 13 bezants or (Dávila). The shield surmounted with a Royal Spanish crown.

On the arms, the 13 bezants or recall Dávila's arms, "Azure 13 bezants or 3 + 3 + 3 + 3 + 1" (used today by the municipality of Las Navas del Marqués), "recalling" that Esteban Domingo Dávila seized from the Moors the town of Ronda, protected by a wall with 13 gates, and captured a Muslim standard charged with 13 crescents.

The Royal Academy of History validated the proposed symbols. The coat of arms shows a tree, most probably an oak, which was represented on coloured municipal seals used in the late 19th century. The use of the Dávila arms in the bordure is "very appropriate". The design of the arms perfectly complies with "the Spanish good style and tradition" (Boletín de la Real Academia de Historia 196, 2:343, 1999).

Ivan Sache, 5 March 2014