Last modified: 2020-02-12 by ivan sache
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Flag of Beteta - Image by Ivan Sache, 14 June 2019
The municipality of Beteta (279 inhabitants in 2018; 11,535 ha; municipal website) is located on the border with the Province of Guadalajara, 80 km north of Cuenca. The municipality is made of the villages of Beteta, El Tobar (a former municipality incorporated to Beteta by Decree No. 1,240 issued on 7 June 1973 by the Spanish government and published on 16 June 1973 in the Spanish official gazette, No. 144, p. 12,288 [text]) and Valtablado de Beteta (a former municipality incorporated to Beteta by Decree No. 1,975 issued on 28 March 1974 by the Spanish government and published on 10 April 1974 in the Spanish official gazette, No. 86, p. 7,405 [text]; now ruined).
Beteta was known, as Vetera, by the Romans who exploited salterns. At
the end of the 15th century, the Carrillo de Albornoz were lords of
Beteta, a town that included the six hamlets of Santa María del Val,
Lagunaseca, Masegosa, Cueva del Hierro, Valsalobre, Valtablado de
Beteta, and El Tobar.
The Cuenca Charter lists Beteta as a main sheep-breeding estate. The town was crossed by a Royal Transhumance Road that headed to Molina de Aragón; 300,000 sheep used the road at the time.
During the first Carlist War, General Cabrera (1806-1877) increased the fortifications of the old Rochafría / Rochafrida castle, of Arab origin, which was used to store ammunition.
The main source of income in Beteta is the Solán de Cabras source. Sold
in iconic opaque blue bottles (330 ml since 1997; 1.5 l since 2003), the
Solán de Cabras natural mineral water (website) is Real Madrid's official water.
Water gushes forth from a single source located in the woods, at a constant temperature of 20 C.
A Julius Gracchus was allegedly healed by the water from the source in 182 BC. In the 16th-17th centuries, shepherds noticed that goats (cabras) drinking water or bathing in the source quickly recovered health. In 1787, Juan Pablo Forner provided the first chemical analysis of the water, whose composition had hardly varied since then. After recognition of its mineral properties, the source was proclaimed a Royal site by Charles IV on 27 March 1790. Ferdinand VII and Maria Josepha Amalia of Saxony (1803–1829) visited the source in 1826 to cure the queen's infertility, to no avail; this was indeed a national issue after the previous two childless marriages of the king.
The Solán de Cabras water was first sold in Madrid in 1903. Crystal bottles filled by hand were shipped to the capital by carts or mules. One-liter bottles were first sold in 1960. The set-up of Tetra Brik and supermarkets boosted the production in the 1980s.
Beteta is the birth place of the painter Juan Bautista Martínez del Mazo
(c. 1611-1677), Velázquez' son-in-law (1633), first disciple and
successor. Mazo was in charge of teaching drawing to Infante Baltasar
Carlos; he traveled with him in Saragosse, where the Infante died in 1646 aged 18, and painted there the famous view of the town exhibited in
the Prado Museum, Madrid. Mazo produced a series of copies of masters
(Tiziano, Rubens, Snyders, de Vos) for the Royal court, and landscapes
inspired by his stay in Rome and Naples (1657).
Ivan Sache, 14 June 2019
The flag of Beteta (photo) is prescribed by an Order issued on 25 February 2003
by the Government of Castilla-La Mancha and published on 7 March 2003 in
the official gazette of Castilla-La Mancha, No. 32, p. 3,527 (text).
The flag is described as follows:
Flag: Rectangular, in proportions 2:3, with a blue bend of 1/5 the flag's hoist running from the hoist's lower angle to the fly's upper angle, the triangle at hoist, red with a white castle, and the triangle at fly, white.
The coat of arms of Beteta is prescribed by an Order issued on 25
February 2003 by the Government of Castilla-La Mancha and published on 7
March 2003 in the official gazette of Castilla-La Mancha, No. 32, pp.
The coat of arms is described as follows:
Coat of arms: Gules a castle argent masoned and port and windows sable surrounded by two keys argent. The shield surmounted by a Royal crown closed.
Ivan Sache, 14 June 2019