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El Barraco (Municipality, Castilla y León, Spain)

Last modified: 2015-01-17 by ivan sache
Keywords: el barraco | ávila |
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Flag of El Barraco - Image by Eduardo Panizo Gómez (Vexilla Hispanica website), 20 May 2011

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Presentation of El Barraco

The municipality of El Barraco (2,101 inhabitants in 2010; 15,390 ha, therefore the 4th largext municipality in the province; municipal website) is located in the southeast of Ávila Province. The municipality is made of the villages of El Barraco (capital), Arroyo de la Parra, Las Cruceras and La Rinconada del Valle.

El Barraco is named for the verracos [de piedras] ([stone] boars), granite sculptures representing pigs, boars, wild boars and bulls found in several sites. The sculptures were made in the 4th-3rd centuries BC by the Vettones, a Celtic cattle-herder people, also known as the Culture of the Verracos.
The village was mentioned for the first time, as Verraco, on a document signed on 4 September 1215 by the Abbot of Sahagün. Once ruled by the Ávila Council, the village, then known as Berraco, was granted municipal autonomy on 22 May 1304. El Barraco was granted increased autonomy from Ávila by Ferdinand IV on 4 April 1309, a privilege that was confirmed by the successive kings up to the Catholic Monarchs, on 20 June 1482. El Barraco, including the hamlet of San Juan de la Nava, was eventually granted its own Council, confirmed in 11 June 1509 by Queen Joan the Mad. On 1 April 1773, Charles III granted the title of villa to San Juan de la Nava; the secession of San Juan de la Nava did not change the joint management of pastures and common goods by the two villages.

El Barraco is the birth place of the musician Áureo Herrero (1904-1995), a guitarist who studied with Andrés Segovia and transcribed for guitar works of Bach, Beethoven, de Falla and Granados; a benefactor of his birth village, Herrera also composed the official anthem of El Barraco.

El Barraco is one of the cradles of Spanish cyclism. Ángel Arroyo (b. 1956 in El Barraco) won two stages in the Tour de France, ranking 2nd in 1983, and two stages in the Tour of Spain. Victor Sastre (b. 1943) founded in the 1980s in El Barraco the "Ángel Arroyo" school, later increased to the "Victor Sastre" Provincial Sports Foundation, aimed at discovering and training young cyclists. Among his students was El Barraco-born José María Jiménez "El Chava" (1971-2003), a climbing specialist winner of nine stages in the Tour of Spain, including the Alto del Angliru (Asturias) stage in 1999, and four times Kings of the Mountains in the Tour of Spain; his own son Carlos Sastre (b. 1975), Jiménez' brother-in-law, winner of the Tour de France in 2008, including the Alpe d'Huez stage; and Pablo Lastras (b. 1976), winner of a stage in each of the three main tours (2 in Spain, 1 in France and 1 in Italy).

Ivan Sache, 20 May 2011

Symbols of El Barraco

The flag and arms of El Barraco (municipal website) are prescribed by a Decree adopted on 10 September 1993 and published on 21 December 1993 in the official gazette of Castilla y León, No. 243 (text).
The symbols are described as follows:

Flag: Quadrangular flag (proportions 1:1), white with a sky blue border. In the middle of the flag is placed the municipal coat of arms.
Coat of arms: Azure a verraco protohistoric zoomorphic sculpture argent, a bordure argent eight saltires azure. The shield surmounted with a Royal Spanish crown.

On the flag, the blue color is taken from the municipal coat of arms, while white recalls the flag of Castilla y León.
On the arms, the verraco symbolizes the first settlers of the place. The bordure argent with the eight saltires azure comes from the arms of Juan del Águila, also recalled on the flag by the blue color. Juan del Águila (1545-1602), raised and buried in El Barraco, was a general who fought in the Low Countries and in Brittany, and eventually led the Spanish Royal troops during the failed invasion of Ireland (1600-1602).

Ivan Sache & Valentin Poposki, 20 May 2011