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Mollina (Municipality, Andalusia, Spain)

Last modified: 2020-04-05 by ivan sache
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Flag of Mollina - Image from the Símbolos de Málaga website, 23 February 2020

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Presentation of Mollina

The municipality of Mollina (5,149 inhabitants in 2019; 7,500 ha; municipal website) is located 70 km north-west of Málaga and 20 km north-west of Antequera.

Mollina was already settled in the Neolithic, as evidenced by rock paintings and artifacts found in caves of the Sierra Camorra, less than 10 km from the downtown. The Romain period also yielded significant remains, such as a big olive oil mill, an altar dedicated to Hercule, which was transported to the Giants' Arch in Antequera in 1585, the funerary mausoleum of La Capuchina, and the Capiruzón citadel in Santillán. This site, covering 1,400 m2, was first settled in the 1st-2nd centuries; big rectangular dwellings were surrounded by smaller buildings, reflecting a settlement living from agriculture and trade. In the 3rd century, the original settlement was completely suppressed and replaced by a citadel, reflecting the increasing threat represented by invasions. The square fortification, of 24.5 m in side, was protected by a thick wall defended by four square angle towers.

Mollina emerged as an organized settlement in the 16th century. To face a demographic boom, the Council of Antequera shared in 1575 the hitherto uninhabited territory surrounding the town. In less than a century, Mollina turned to Antequera's main area of olive cultivation; the place was known locally as Olive's Country. When the parish church was revamped in 1687, its dedication was changed from St. Cajetan to Our Lady of the Olive.

Mollina was established as a municipality in 1829, separating from Antequera. In the 19th century, several social movements were active in the town. A Garibaldist secrete society, Los Garibaldinos, organized in the Provinces of Granada, Málaga and Córdoba by Rafael Pérez del Álamo, veterinary in Loja, had 300 out of Mollina's 500 adult men among its affiliates. In 1861, the events known as the Loja Revolution indeed started in Mollina.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, Mollina has turned from an olive oil village to a main center of wine-growing, without any historical tradition. Mollina produces now some 80% of the wines protected by the Málaga designation.

The Asociación de Amigos de la Calabaza de Mollina (Association of the Friends of the Mollina Gourd) organizes every year the Contest of Giant Gourds. In 2018 (third edition), more than 60 farmers from Andalusia, especially the Province of Córdoba, but also from Murcia, Levant and the Basque Country, entered the contest. Salvador Mogas, from Sant Celoni (Barcelona) offered the biggest gourd (506 kg). The second and third prizes were awarded to Manuel Plan, from Almería, and Imanol Zubimendi, from the Basque Country, respectively, who presented gourds weighing more than 400 kg. The local first prize was awarded to José Miguel Fran (342 kg). More than &,000 visitors attended the event, as well as the mayor of the town and representatives from the Provincial Council and the Andalusian Parliament.
[El Sol de Antequera, 18 September 2018]

Mollina's business park hosts the International Museum of Nativity Art (website), established in November 2017 by the Díaz Caballero Foundation presided by Antonio Díaz and vice-presided by his wife, Ana Caballero. The museum shows more than 70 scenes featuring 2,000 figures, scattered among seven halls.
The project was prompted by a fortuitous encounter of the founders with Antonio Bernal, a world-renown nativity scene artist.

Ivan Sache, 23 February 2020

Symbols of Mollina

The flag and arms of Mollina, adopted on 5 November 2019 by the Municipal Council and submitted on 8 January 2020 to the Directorate General of the Local Administration, are prescribed by a Resolution issued on 22 January 2020 by the Directorate General of the Local Administration and published on 31 January 2020 in the official gazette of Andalusia, No. 21, p. 66 (text).
The symbols are described as follows:

Flag: In proportions 2:3. Olive green with an horizontal red scarlet stripe, in width 1/5 of the hoist, at the bottom. Charged in the center with a dove argent holding a branch of olive fructed, as the symbol of the town.
Coat of arms: Gules a dove argent holding a branch of olive fructed proper. A chief or inscribed with "1575" sable. [Crown not mentioned].

The coat of arms superseded an early design, prescribed by an Order issued on 5 May 1986 by the Government of Andalusia and published on 24 May 1986 in the official gazette of Andalusia, No. 49, p. 1,772 (text).
The coat of arms was described as follows:

Coat of arms: Per fess, 1. Argent with drops sable a castle proper on a mount vert, 2a. Per fess, 1. Azure a fleur-de-lis or, 2. Gules a castle or grafted argent a lion rampant gules, 2b. Argent a branch of olive fructed vert and a bunch of grapes slipped and leaved vert fructed or crossed in saltire. The shield surmounted by a Count's coronet [description skipped].

The upper quarter represents drizzle (Spanish, llovizna, locally mollina / mollizna falling on the Santillán fortress, making the arms canting. The count's coronets stands for the Chacón, Counts of Mollina - indeed they could not acquire the title - whose alleged arms are represented in the second quarter.
[Símbolos de Málaga]

The process of change of the coat of arms and adoption of a flag seems to have been initiated in the 1990s. The Royal Academy of History rejected the proposed symbols because the supporting memoir did not include the information required for validation.
The proposal of a completely different coat of arms is based on the assumption, lacking evidence, that "the coat of arms does not represent either the history or the tradition of Mollina". Some features of the new proposal were deemed "inadequate" by the Academy, the memoir does not list the emblems formerly used by the municipality; the origin of the coat of arms to be replaced, which is not described; the designs featured on seals, on the church's altarpiece etc. A new design cannot be proposed without consideration of the available material.
Accordingly, the Academy postponed the assessment of the proposed symbols, expecting to be submitted a memoir completed with the required elements
[Boletín de la Real Academia de la Historia. 191:1, 171. 1994]

Ivan Sache, 23 February 2020