Rosal de la Frontera
Rosal de la Frontera is in the western part of Sierra Morena in the province of Huelva just two kilometres from the border with Portugal. Although close to the site of an earlier settlement, which eventually depopulated, the present town only came into existence in the early nineteenth century. It was then called Rosal de Cristina and was renamed in 1869
The area has evidence of occupation over a long period of time and around the town there are several sites from various periods.
Just outside Rosal de la Frontera there is the Pasada del Abad Dolmens a Copper age burial site. The Cerro de las Abejas is a settlement from the Copper Age and late Bronze Age. The site of Cerro del Castillo has ceramics dating from Iron Age and Cortelana is another Iron age Settlement.
From the middle ages there is the Monteperros II which stands on a hill on the banks of river Chanza with fragments of Arabic tiles, bricks and remains of walls. The strategic position indicates that it could be a medieval defensive tower.
Throughout the Middle Ages this area was an unstable border between Portugal and Castile. In the middle of the thirteenth century it had fallen into the hands of the Portuguese but soon after Alfonso X (The Wise) regained it for Spain.
By the end of the century (September 1297) the position was ratified when the Treaty of Alcañices was signed between Portugal and Castile. This treaty established the border between Portugal and Spain which is one of the oldest borders in Europe.
Next to what is now Rosal de la Frontera was the old village of Aldea del Gallego which was destroyed by the Portuguese in 1642 and never repopulated. This village built what is believed to be the oldest bull ring in Spain. Documents date the construction as 1599.
In 1822 it was decided to populate the area in the region of the extinct village of of Aldea del Gallego in order to work the lands on a smallholder basis. The deacon of Aroche, Gaspar García Soria, with 260 residents of Aroche colonised the new settlement.
After several setbacks the new village came into being and took the name of Rosal de Cristina in honor of Regenta María Cristina, the wife of King Fernando VII. The town was renamed in 1869.
The number of settlers and inhabitants grew rapidly in the middle of the century because of the availability of land to be distributed and awarded in 1857 and its status as a border trading town. It was also popular with smugglers and by 1950 the population had reached 3,500. Today there are a little less than 2,000 residents.
Places to see
Iglesia Parroquial de San Isidro Labrador
The Church of San Isidro Labrador was built in 1845 and there contains a seventeenth century statue of the Virgin Mary.
Casa de Cultura
The village maintains its own type of mountain architecture. Among the civil buildings the Casa de Cultura, a former prison where the poet Miguel Hernández was held
Plaza de Toros
Remains of the Bullring which once belonged to Aroche. The remains are in a field at the edge of the town and although some of its walls were destroyed when planting eucalyptus many years ago there are still remains of walls. This Plaza de Toros is now believed to be the oldest bullring in Spain with documents showing it was used in 1599 which predates Béjar (Salamanca) built in 1711 and previously considered the oldest.
This river runs from the east to west and once formed the border of north and south.
Paraje Natural de Sierra Pelada y Rivera del Aserrador
Natural Park of Sierra Pelada and the river Aserrador
Located in the foothills of the Sierra Morena the Natural Park of the Sierra Pelada and River Aserrador covers an approximate area of 12,200 hectares in the municipalities of Aroche, Cortegana, Rosal de la Frontera and Almonaster la Real.
Oficina de turismo Rosal de la Frontera
Avenida de Portugal
959 141 104
Town Hall Address
Ayuntamiento de Rosal de la Frontera
Plaza de España, 1
Rosal de la Frontera 21250
959 141 001
© 2013 John Powell DiscoverHuelva.com