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Carabaña (Municipality, Community of Madrid, Spain)

Last modified: 2016-05-15 by ivan sache
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Flag of Carabaña - Image by Ivan Sache, 3 July 2015

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Presentation of Carabaña

The municipality of Carabaña (1,978 inhabitants in 2014; 4,900 ha; municipal website) is located in the south-east of the Community of Madrid, 50 km of Madrid.

Carabaña has been identified with the Iberian town of Caraca, whose siege was related in Plutarch's Parallel Lives. When the Roman general Sertorius reached the banks of river Tajuña, the Iberians entrenched themselves in impregnable caves. Sertorius ordered to set big loads of earth and ashes at the entrance of the caves, expecting the northern wind to blow them into the caves. This eventually happened, forcing the Iberians to surrender three days later. The Romans established a town in 53 BC, erecting a temple dedicated to goddess Diana, of which an altar stone and a column have been preserved. The Visigoths maintained the settlement as a small village, of which baptismal fonts and a small necropolis (6th-7th century) are the only remains.
After the reconquest of the Kingdom of Toledo from the Moors, the village was granted to the Archbishop of Toledo. King Alfonso VIII subsequently transferred Carabaña, then known as Caravanna, to the Council of Segovia, as a reward for the support of the town in the war against the Almohads. The village was retroceded to the Archbishop of Toledo in the 13th century.

Carabaña was granted the status of villa in 1557, separating from Alcalá de Henares. Bartolomé Bustamante, parish priest in the village and a noted architect, rebuilt the church in Renaissance style; the town counted several chapels and manors, such as the Vice-Roy's Palace, erected by the Barrientos family. Philip II's Relaciones Topográficas (1574-1578) list 220 households living in the town, highlighting the beauty of the parish church and the excellent quality of water.
Philip II sold in 1578 Carabaña to Esteban Lomelín, a burgher of Madrid of Genoan origin, who was made lord of Orusco, Valdilecha, Ambite and Carabaña, paying more than 10 million maravedies. The domain was subsequently transferred to the Nevares and Vega families. Rodrigo de la Vega y Acuña often stayed in Carabaña; in his last will, he offered the statue of the Christ of Peace and Salute to the parish church; the inhabitants of Campo Real, where the Vega family had kept the statue, attempted to convince Vega's widow, Catalina Gordo, to cancel the transfer of the statue, to no avail. The statue is said to have protected the village from diseases; in the 19th century, Carabaña was indeed one of the few villages of the the Province of Madrid where the cholera epidemics did not claim any life.

In 1880, the Basque pharmacist Ruperto Chávarri noticed during a hunting party the odd taste of the water of the Cabeza Gorda source. Suspecting that the water had healing properties, he commissioned Juan Bautista Santonja to study the case; it was found that the locals already knew the properties of the water. Chávarri sold the first bottles in his pharmacy and obtained three years later the recognition of the "medicinal mineral water" of Carabaña, which yielded him a silver medal at the Pharmacy National Exhibition and a gold medal in a scientific contest held in Paris. Chávarri subsequently built a spa that could only be used as a family leisure place. The spa was used during the Civil war as the headquarters of the General Staff of the 18th Brigade.

Ivan Sache, 3 July 2015

Symbols of Carabaña

The flag (photos, photo, photo, photo, photo) of Carabaña is prescribed by a Decree adopted on 11 November 1993 by the Government of the Community of Madrid and published on 2 December 1993 in the official gazette of the Community of Madrid, No. 286, p. 25 (text) and on 21 December 1993 in the Spanish official gazette, No. 304, p. 36,549 (text).
The flag is described as follows:

Flag: In proportions 2:3. Green panel charged in the center with the municipal coat of arms in full colours.

The coat of arms of Carabaña is prescribed by a Decree adopted on 5 March 1987 by the Government of the Community of Madrid and published on 17 March 1987 in the official gazette of the Community of Madrid, No. 64, p. 25 (text) and on 4 April 1987 in the Spanish official gazette, No. 81, p. 10,119 (text).
The coat of arms is described as follows:

Coat of arms: Per fess, 1. Quarterly per saltire, 1. and 4. Vert a bend gules fimbriated or, 2. and 3. Gules, 2. Or a stone fountain argent and azure surrounded by an olive tree vert eradicated and an almond tree of the same. The shield surmounted by a Royal crown closed.

The proposed arms were validated by the Royal Academy of History. The fountain represents the monument erected in the 18th century on the main square of the town.
[Boletín de la Real Academia de la Historia, 1987, 184, 2: 374-375]

The fountain, sculpted in the quarries of Colmenar de Oreja, was ordered by King Charles III to be placed on Km 0 in Madrid, and subsequently transferred to Plaza Mayor. Charles IV ordered to transport it to the Vega Palace in Carabaña, from where it was then relocated on the Plaza Mayor of the town. Tomás Bonilla represented it in 1984 when designing the municipal coat of arms.
[El Pilón Digital, 11 April 2011]

The coat of arms in actual use lacks the prescribed fimbriation or around the bend vert; beneath the shield is placed a yellow ribbon charged with the name of the municipality in black letters.

Ivan Sache, 3 July 2015