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Torrelodones (Municipality, Community of Madrid, Spain)

Last modified: 2016-05-22 by ivan sache
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Flag of Torrelodones - Image by Ivan Sache, 29 July 2015

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Presentation of Torrelodones

The municipality of Torrelodones (22,838 inhabitants in 2014; 2,195 ha; municipal website) is located in the north-west of the Community of Madrid, 30 km of Madrid. The municipality is made of seven nuclei: Torrelodones (8,272 inh.), La Estación (5,336 inh.), Los Peñascales (4,218 inh.), Los Robles (1,292 inh.), Los Bomberos (1,262 inh.), La Berzosilla (528 inh.) and El Gasco (323 inh.). The municipality experienced a demographic boom at the end of the 20th century, its population increasing from 1,856 inhabitants in 1970 to 14,717 in 2000. Torrelodones is currently the municipality in the Community of Madrid with the highest per capita rate of income.

Torrelodones was already settled in the prehistoric times, as evidenced by the rock paintings found in the El Canto de la Cueva site. Torrelodones was most probably settled by Berber tribes, who erected a watching tower (torre) on a promontory surrounded by a brook and planted with poplars, elms and sorbs (lodones). Remains of Andalusian ceramics found in the ruins provide evidence that the tower is indeed of Moorish origin, as an atalaya watching the border with the Christian kingdoms.
After the Christian reconquest, Torrelodones, then a small village with no more than 20 households, was incorporated into the Real de Manzanares. In 1530, Torrelodones was still one of the poorest villages of the area, with hardly 25 households and a single street.
Torrelodones became a stopping place for the Court when heading to the palace of San Lorenzo de El Escorial. King Philip II signed several Royal Letters in the inn managed by Francisco de Baños; the king, however, found the inn most uncomfortable and commissioned his architect, Juan de Herrera, to build a Royal apartment.
Torrelodones was granted the status of villa in 1728.

The municipality of Torrelodones has been ruled since 2001 by the local party "Vecinos por Torrelodones" (VT). Established in 2007 to struggle against the urbanization plan set up by the the Municipal Council, which would have destroyed a protected natural area, VT failed to win the municipal election by 60 votes but eventually ousted the PP in 2011. The new Mayor, Elena Biurrun, soon decreased the budget of the municipality, her salary included. Considered as a successful precursor of the grassroots movements that challenge the domination of the PP and PSOE on political life and self-styled "pragmatic indignados", VT was re-elected, with absolute majority, in the 2015 elections.
[Vanity Fair, 15 June 2012]

Ivan Sache, 29 July 2015

Symbols of Torrelodones

The flag of Torrelodones (photos, photo, photo, photo, photo, photo, photo, photo, photo) is prescribed by a Decree adopted on 12 February 1992 by the Government of the Community of Madrid and published on 17 March 1992 in the official gazette of the Community of Madrid, No. 65, p. 13 (text), and on 5 May 1992 in the Spanish official gazette, No. 108, p. 15,236 (text).
The flag is described as follows:

Flag: Rectangular, in proportions 2:3, diagonally divided in two equal parts from the upper hoist to the lower fly, the upper part blue and the lower part yellow, in the center the crowned coat of arms as officially approved.

The flag was designed by Julián Nieto Martín. Blue is the dominant colour in the municipal coat of arms, while yellow represents the old Kingdom of Castile.
[Municipal website]

The Royal Academy of History validated the "fully justified" modifications introduced to the originally proposed flag by the Subdirectorate General of Arts of the Community of Madrid.
[Boletín de la Real Academia de la Historia, 1992, 189:2, 346-347]

The coat of arms of Torrelodones is prescribed by Royal Decree No. 3,086, adopted on 17 December 1979 and published on 7 February 1980 in the Spanish official gazette, No. 33, p. 3,003 (text).
The coat of arms is described as follows:

Coat of arms: Per pale, 1. Argent a tower azure, 2. Azure a bend or engulfed by dragons of the same in base a sorb argent fructed sable. The shield surmounted by a Royal crown closed.

The coat of arms was first approved on 31 October 1979 by the Municipal Council. The arms feature the tower (torre) and the sorb (lodón) on which the name of the town was formed. The bend or engulfed by dragons comes from the arms of the Dukes of the Infantado.
[Municipal website]

The coat of arms was designed by José de Vicente Muñoz (1915-1980), appointed school teacher in Torrelodones in 1940, Chronicler of the town in 1978, and Adoptive Son of the town on 31 July 1980. The chronicler published the book Escudo, Geografía e Historia de Torrelodones in 1980.
[La Voz de Torrelodones y Hoyo de Manzanares, 11 April 2015]

The coat of arms in actual use features a quite realistic representation of the tower (atalaya) of Torrelodones (photos).

On 15 December 2003, the Supreme Court of Justice stated that the flag of the Spanish Republic was constitutional. In July 2002, the municipality of Torrelodones had ordered the removal of a Republican flag from the booth set up by the leftist party Izquierda Unida (IU) during the town's festival, as "causing trouble to public order". IU sued the municipality at the Court and won the case.
[Postdigital, 29 August 2013]

Ivan Sache, 29 July 2015