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Cehegín (Municipality, Region of Murcia, Spain)

Last modified: 2016-04-25 by ivan sache
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Flag of Cehegín - Image by Ivan Sache, 3 May 2015

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Presentation of Cehegín

The municipality of Cehegín (15,955 inhabitants in 2014; 29,270 ha; tourism website) is located in the north-west of the Region of Murcia, 75 km of Murcia.

Cehegín is built on the site of the old town of Begastri, inhabited from the Iberian (4th century BC) to the Visigothic (9th century) period. Pieces of Greek ceramic decorated with black and red figures were found on the site, indicating the presence of a wealthy elite. The town was reorganized by the Romans, who built a forum and a temple dedicated to Jupiter Optimus Maximus. Most Roman civil and religious monuments were subsequently destroyed, the stones being used to build the thick walls protecting the town against raids and invasions; the remains of the wall are up to 4 m in high, with fortified gates of 5 m in width.
During the Visigothic period, Begastri was an episcopal town, whose bishops attended the Councils of Toledo.

After the Christian reconquest, Alfonso X the Wise granted Cehegín to the Order of the Temple, as a reward for its support during the suppression of the Mudéjar revolt in 1264. Deserted from the late 13th to the early 14th century, Cehegín was incorporated to Caravaca de la Cruz. After the suppression of the Order of the Temple in 1312, its local possessions were transferred in 1344 to the Order of St. James; the same year, Alfonso XI separated Cehegín from Caravaca.
The re-settlement of the place was organized in the 16th century, the old Begastri ("the Capital of the Ruins") being used for the next centuries as a stone quarry for the building of the new town. The end of the Muslim rule in Granada allowed the demographic increase of the town, whose population increased from 3,000 to 5,000 inhabitants within a century. In spite of the separation of Bullas in 1689, the population of Cehegín increased to 7,000 in the the 18th century.
The historical downtown of Cehegín was proclaimed an Historical Monument in 1982.

The Cross of Begastri / Cehegín (presentation) is a bronze cross of 38.5 cm in height and 31.8 cm in width, decorated with a chrism monogram. The Greek letters Α and Ω are appended to the horizontal arms of the cross. Letter Ρ is placed at the top of the vertical arm, which is connected by a chain to a smaller cross inscribed in a ring. The top of the cross and the ends of the horizontal arms were probably connected by two dolphins, now standing alone, which represent the Christians saved by the Lord.
Such monogrammatic crosses were used in different ceremonies, especially the consecration of churches and altars. Stylistic comparison of the iconography and of the shape of the letters allows dating the Cross of Begastri back to the 6th-7th century.

Ivan Sache, 3 May 2015

Symbols of Cehegín

The flag of Cehegín (photo, photo, photo), adopted on 29 June 1990 by the Municipal Council, is prescribed by Decree No. 6, adopted on 6 September 1990 by the Government of the Region of Murcia and published on 8 September 1990 in the official gazette of the Region of Murcia, No. 208, p. 4,987 (text).
The flag is described as follows:

Flag: Made of three horizontal stripes, green, white and crimson red, the white stripe being of double width and charged in the middle with the coat of arms of Ceheg’n in full colours.

The coat of arms of Cehegín was adopted on 3 November 1976, as the coat of arms "consecrated by history". The model of the coat of arms can be seen on the facade of the old Town Hall, today the Archeology Museum, erected in the 17th century.
The coat of arms is made of an oval shield placed on an oval parchment. The shield features on a blue background a brown tower with a central donjon, four small lateral red windows, and a black central port with a Gothic arch. The castle is surrounded by two cypresses with the trunk proper, green branches and a white top, each surmounted with a red Cross of the Order of St. James.
The castle stands on a base proper charged with two small green trees surrounding a smaller grapevine.

The arms represent the old, disappeared castle of Cehegín. The cypresses represent the forest resources. The crosses recall that the town belonged to the Order of St. James. The trees and the grapevine represent the fertility of the fields and their main products, grapes.
[Cehegín tourism website]

Ivan Sache, 3 May 2015