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Huércal-Overa (Municipality, Andalusia, Spain)

Last modified: 2016-04-21 by ivan sache
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Flag of Huércal-Overa - Image from the Simbolos de Almería website, 22 March 2014

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Presentation of Huércal-Overa

The municipality of Huércal-Overa (18,925 inhabitants in 2013; 31,800 ha; municipal website) is located 100 km north-east of Almería.

Huércal-Overa was located for long in a border zone - between the Byzantines and the Visigoths, then between the Visigoths and the Muslims, eventually between the Muslim and the Christians. Accordingly, the valley of river Almanzor was crowded with fortifications, such as the fortress of Huércal la Vieja (Old Huércal), the fortified manor of Overa and the castle of Huércal. The big tower of this Nasrid fortress, of 15 m in height and visible from the border with the Region of Murcia, is the symbol of the town; the tower was inscribed in 1985 on the General Register of Andalusian Historical Heritage. During the revamping of the fortress, an Islamic decorative element called "Tree of Life" was discovered; beforehand, there was only one such element in the Iberian peninsula, located in the Gibralfaro castle of Málaga.
After the Christian reconquest in 1488, Huércal and Overa united in a single entity, placed under the jurisdiction of Lorca. Due to their bravery during the reconquest, the inhabitants of Lorca were granted jurisdiction on several towns by the Catholic Monarchs. These privileges caused a strong rivalry with the inhabitants of Vera, who aspired at developing agriculture and cattle-breeding in the fertile Huércal plain. The long court case opposing Lorca and Vera for the control of the Huércal plain, initiated in 1511, did not stop until Huércal-Overa was granted the title of villa on 3 March 1688.

Ivan Sache, 22 March 2014

Symbols of Huércal-Overa

The flag (photo) and arms of Huércal-Overa, adopted on 11 October 2013 by the Municipal Council and submitted on 24 October 2013 to the Directorate General of the Local Administration, are prescribed by a Decree adopted on 4 November 2013 by the Directorate General of the Local Administration and published on 19 November 2013 in the official gazette of Andalusia, No. 227, p. 83 (text).
The symbols are described as follows:

Flag: Rectangular flag, one time and a half longer than high, garnet (Pantone 1955). Charged in the center with the municipal coat of arms.

Coat of arms: Shield in French modern shape. Quarterly, 1. Azure a castle or ensigned with a key of the same, 2. Gules a castle with a ladder or ensigned with a moon crescent of the same, 3. Gules a castle or, 4. Argent a pomegranate or faceted and fructed gules. Grafted in base, argent a St. George's Cross. Inescutcheon in French modern shape vert a yoke a shovel and a fork per saltire a bee-hive with bees per pale all or. A bordure or inscribed with "MUY LEAL, PATRIOTICA Y LABORIOSA VILLA DE HUERCAL-OVERA" in letters sable. The shield surmounted by an eagle proper holding in the beak a scroll wavy argent inscribed with "EXENCION DE VILLAZGO 3 DE MARZO 1668" in letters or.

The crimson red colour of the flag is the same as the colour of the Council Room of the Town Hall. This colour was adopted by the Royal towns that belonged to the Kingdom of Castile.

Huércal-Overa have been attempting to obtain a flag and a coat of arms since municipal emancipation from Lorca on 3 March 1688, to no avail in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Enrique García Asensio, an historian and judge from Huércal-Overa, presented in 1910 a proposal of coat of arms to the municipality, which approved it and applied for a grant of arms by King Alfonso XIII. The proposed arms were approved on 25 January 1912 by Royal Decree.
García Asensio, the author of Historia de la villa de Huércal-Overa y su comarca (3 volumes, 1909-1910), explained his design as follows:
- the eagle symbolizes the growth and prosperity of Huércal-Overa, which progressively raised above the other towns of the district; the eagle holds in the beak a scroll recalling municipal emancipation from Lorca;
- the first quarter depicts the castle of Huércal; the key recalls that the fortress was ruled by the Moorish mayor of Vera, who surrendered to King Ferdinand the Saint and gave him the keys of the towns. The blue field represents the calm heavens;
- the second quarter depicts the castle of Overa, with the ladder built by Tomás de Morata, a captain from Lorca, to assault the castle; the moon recalls that the assault occurred during the night. The red field symbolizes the blood of the Moorish sentinel killed by Morata during the assault:
- the third and fourth quarters show the arms of the old Kingdoms of Castile and Granada, respectively;
- the Saint George's Cross, taken from the arms of Almería, recalls that Huércal-Overa belongs to the Province of Almería;
- the inescutcheon highlights the contribution of agriculture and industry to the wealth, prosperity and increasing fame of the town.
[Municipal website]

Klaus-Michael Schneider & Ivan Sache, 10 May 2014