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Yebes (Municipality, Castilla-La Mancha, Spain)

Last modified: 2020-02-22 by ivan sache
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Presentation of Yebes

The municipality of Yebes (2,741 inhabitants in 2015; 1,740 ha; municipal website) is located in the north-west of the Province of Guadalajara. The municipality is made of two distinct settlements, the old village of Yebes and the new urban area of Ciudad Valdeluz.

Yebes was already settled by the Iberians, as evidenced by archeological remains of a fortified camp found on the El Castillo hill. The site was probably reused by the Romans. After the Christian reconquest, Yebes was incorporated to the Royal domain and placed under the jurisdiction of Guadalajara. In 1648, Philip IV sold Yebes and Valdarachas to Juan Esteban Imbrea, Knight of the Order of Calatrava.

Ciudad Valdeluz was built in a place originally known as Aldahete. In 1920, the Count of Romanones offered plots in Aldahete to build a sanatorium, which was inaugurated in 1925 and peaked during the Second Republic. State-owned and free of charges, the sanatorium was made of 60 rooms and independent houses, aimed at accommodating women suffering from tuberculosis. During the Civil War, the sanatorium was converted into an underground bunker (- 10 m), where the general staff of the 4th Republican Army, led by Colonel Segismundo Casado (1893-1968), the last President of the Republic, Juan Negrín (1892-1956), and the anarcho-syndicalist leader Cipriano Mera (1897-1975) withdrew after the defeat of the Republican troops in Guadalajara. After the war, the sanatorium was reestablished as a psychiatric hospital.

Valdeluz was planned in the first years of the 21st century, as the first modern Spanish town designed from scratch. A real-world application of the principles of ecological design, the new town was expected to attract 30,000 inhabitants. The inauguration in 2005 of the Guadalajara-Yebes railway station, located on the high speed line Madrid-Zaragoza-Barcelona, should have made of Valdeluz the dormitory suburb of Madrid of the future.
The collapse of the property bubble and the Great Spanish Depression transformed Valdeluz into a ghost town, which counted 37 inhabitants in 2007, 354 in 2009, 1,276 in 2011, and 2,874 in 2016. A number of apartment buildings left uncompleted or abandoned by their ruined owners were transformed into squats. The shuttle service connecting Valdeluz to the railway station was never implemented by the railway company, neither were the seven planned high schools. The huge cultural complex, including a concert hall, a swimming pool and aulas, was closed soon after having being inaugurated because of a debt of two million euros. The dramatic fall of the prices of real estate has stirred a "resettlement" of Valdeluz, mostly by young couples with children, mileuristas (twixters), and divorced people. working in Guadalajara and in the Henares Basin.
[El Confidencial, 26 September 2015; Le Monde, 22 October 2008]

The Yebes Observatory (OY; website) is the main scientific and technical facility and the headquarters of the National Center for Radioastronomical Technologies and Geospace Applications (CNTRAG), which is run by the Spanish National Geographic Institute (IGN), a General Directorate in the Ministry of Development. Yebes Observatory is classified as one of the scientific national facilities (Infraestructura Científico Técnica Singular, or ICTS) in Spain. The 40-m radio telescope runs since 2008 as a member of the networks of Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) studies for astronomy (EVN, GMVA, etc) and geodesy (IVS), and more recently, as a single-dish facility for astronomical observations of cosmic sources.

Ivan Sache, 7 September 2019

Symbols of Yebes

The flag of Yebes is prescribed by an Order issued on 16 May 2006 by the Government of Castilla-La Mancha and published on 2 June 2006 in the official gazette of Castilla-La Mancha, No. 114, p. 12,444 (text).
The flag is described as follows:

Flag: Rectangular in proportions 2:3, horizontally divided in three stripes, the upper, blue, the central, white, and the lower, red, with respective proportions 3:2:3, charged in the center with the crowned coat of arms.

The coat of arms of Yebes is prescribed by an Order adopted on 16 May 2006 by the Government of Castilla-La Mancha and published on 2 June 2006 in the official gazette of Castilla-La Mancha, No. 114, pp. 12,444-12,445 (text).
The coat of arms is described as follows:

Coat of arms: Azure a two-towered castle argent a holly oak proper whose trunk and roots go through the gate. The shield surmounted by a Royal Spanish crown.

The flag was designed by the Spanish Society of Vexillology. The coat of arms was designed in 1988 by García Muñoz and Grupeli Gardel. Eduardo Figueroa y Alonso-Martínez, 8th Count of Yebles, recommended to base the design of the arms on those used since the 17th century by the Counts of Yebes.
The castle recalls that Yebes is part of Castile. The big, strong tree represents the Hermit's elm that once stood on the Upper Square and was killed by Dutch elm disease.

Originating from the village of the same name, the Imbrea moved in the 16th century to Genoa, where they started a successful banking business. The kings of Spain, starting with Charles I, were among the mains customers of the Genoese bankers, who eventually asked Philip IV to pay them the debts accumulated by his forerunners; lacking money, the king paid the bankers with Spanish domains, titles and orders. In the middle of the 17th century, Lelio Imbrea Franquis was one of the most influential Genoese bankers in Spain; appointed Knight of St. James in 1633 and Commander of Alcolea, he died in 1642. His brother Juan Esteban Imbrea y Franquis was made Knight of Calatrava in 1647 and General Factor of the king, a kind of unofficial Ministry of Finances; erected in 1648 Count of Yebes and Viscount of Valdarachas, he lived in Madrid but never visited Yebes. The title of Count of Yebes was reestablished by Alfonso XIII for Alvaro de Figueroa y Torres. The 11th Count of Yebes is Francisco de Asís Tur de Montís y Figueroa, Knight of the Royal Corps of the Nobility of Catalonia.
The Imbrea have been using arms featuring a two-towered castle pierced by a tree since the Middle Ages. The shield is seen, engraved in marble, on the facade of the family palace in Genoa, surmounted by a Count's coronet. A genealogical tree of the lineage, kept in the Salazar y Castro collection at the Royal Academy of History, shows the arms. The arms used by the municipality of Yebes were subject to several variations in shape, colors, etc.

The Spanish Society of Vexillology proposed a coat of arms that was rejected by the municipality, "Per fess, 1. Gules two tombs argent, 2. Azure a telescope". The first quarter alludes to the Celtiberian past of Yebes, while the second quarter represents the Yebes Observatory.
[Los Escritos de Herrera Casado, 14 December 2012]

Ivan Sache, 7 September 2019