Huelva is known for its unique natural landscapes and red landform, a blend of history and multiculturalism where the interplay of magnificent natural surroundings and mining traditions has created a series of untapped hidden gems. Huelva City is also where Christopher Columbus organised and set sail on his trip to the New World, and the old town has much to offer, the pedestrianised historical buildings and splendid architecture and the wonderful local cuisine. Also the amazing stalactite caves, the excellent hydrological environment and the endless stretches of the highest quality beaches of the Costa de la Luz.
The rich mineral mining history goes back to the first millennium BC, Tartessians and Phoenicians exploited the inland mines, transformed the coastal towns into prosperous trading centres, and created a maritime trade route to transport the minerals from Tharsis and Riotinto to the cities of the eastern Mediterranean. At the end of the Middle Ages, the Atlantic ports in Huelva experienced a period of great splendour. Christopher Columbus’ first expedition set sail for the New World from the dock of Palos de la Frontera in 1492. Columbus’ heroic deed marked a watershed in Huelva’s history.
The province’s rich mining resources attracted a large amount of capital investment, which brought economic prosperity in the 19th century. This circumstance has made the city an open-minded, tolerant place, recently defined as ‘The Door to the Atlantic’. Today Huelva is a large, sprawling and industrialised city, heavy industrial plants line much of the waterfront at Oil and stretch far to the south. The decline of the mining industry, and the impact of Andalusia’s booming tourism industry, the province’s rich and varied natural landscape has been rediscovered.
Huelva is a mecca for those interested in Christopher Columbus, with a number of significant tourist attractions about the famous explorer. The commemorative monument to Christopher Columbus sits watching over the Rio Tinto. The atmospheric neighbourhood of Reina Victoria Alonso is a wonderful place to explore, or visit the Alonso Sanchez Park, which affords fabuous views of the city. Other points of interest in Huelva include the Muelle del Tinto docks, built at the beginning of the century to load Huelva’s mineral exports. The Conquero Lookout and the provincial museum.
Discover the constructions built by a flourishing, local bourgeoisie which made very good use of the foreign capital which was entering Huelva by that time. Discover the part of Huelva which was waking up to Industrial Revolution. The new houses and buildings have many different styles – the Neo-Mudejar Estación de Sevilla, the Neo-gothic architecture of the Church of La Milagrosa, the Ancient Clinic Sanz de Frutos in Art Deco style, the neoclassical Great Theatre, the traditional features of the La Rábida Institute, and so on. The building today known as ‘Casa Colón’, which used to be the Hotel Colón in the past.
However, the main treasure of the city is buried under the present city. As a clear example of a superimposed city whose subsoil shows ruins from the Late Bronze Age to the Middle Ages, the rests from the mythical culture of Tartessos are precisely those which are the most attractive to the tourists who visit the Museum of Huelva. There are also Muslim rests at the Isle of Saltés at the Natural Site of the Marshes of the Odiel River, which are close to the city. These Marshes offer both nature and culture beauties to visitors.
Much of Huelva’s cuisine incorporates fresh fish and seafood, which can be found in the local city markets. The popular Mercado del Carmen is a good place to head, where you can buy cuttlefish, shrimps, tiger prawns, shellfish and much more. Typical dishes include monkfish in white wine, or skate cooked with paprika, chachinas (cured pork sausages) and fresh meats from Andevalo and the Sierra Onubense. Huelva also produces some excellent wines from the Condado de Huelva.
Huelva, the capital, is a coastal and maritime city overlooking the ocean, which lies between the Tinto and Odiel rivers. The numerous places worth visiting in this city include the churches of La Concepción, San Pedro, the Nuestra Señora de la Merced cathedral and the sites connected to Christopher Columbus and the Discovery of America: the Columbus House and Monument.
The urban development of the city of Huelva started in the thirteenth century with some defined borders, from the present Italia Avenue and Alemania Avenue to the Graveyard of San Sebastián and the Bullring. The generating core of this city was the castle over the hill known as ‘Cabezo de San Pedro’. The second urban development of Huelva which can be pointed out was carried out in 1870. Thus, it was a pre-industrial development, the city suffer a both lineal and fan-shaped expansion, looking for the lowest terrain such as the marshes. The British investment presence and the acquisition of the mines for a new transformation in the city.
The most recognizable monument in the city, even though it is located on the outskirts, is the Columbus Monument, in Punta del Sebo, which commemorates Christopher Columbus and the characters and sailors who made possible the feat of the Discovery of America who left the nearby port of Palos de la Frontera. Other places of interest in the city are the Muelle de las Canoas, which connects by boat with the town of Punta Umbría and where the colossal monument to the sailor’s knot is located, ten meters high located the entrance to the pier. Right at the entrance to the pier are two buildings from the port of Huelva from the 1930s that have been declared an Asset of Cultural Interest.
Already in the center, and remodeled in 2006, the Plaza de las Monjas appears. It is one of the most distinctive and probably oldest in the city presided over by a sculpture of Christopher Columbus108 and surrounded by notable buildings such as the old Bank of Spain, the Hotel París (today an office building) or the Convent of the Augustinian Mothers. Close to the downtown area is the Santa Fe promenade, where you can find modern buildings such as the Treasury, the old Santa Fe Market, from the late 19th century, currently in disuse, or a stately home.
In the upper area, the La Rábida Institute appears majestic. Built at the beginning of the 20th century by José María Pérez Carasa, this educational center is in a regionalist style in which its monumentality and its location stand out, on the ascent to Conquero, which makes it look even more colossal. Illustrious people such as the writer and Nobel Prize winner Juan Ramón Jiménez, the researcher Juan Pérez Mercader, Manuel Siurot, the Hispanist Odón Betanzos or the writer Juan Cobos Wilkins studied there.
Other interesting buildings due to their history and architecture are the Casa del Millón, the College of Surveyors, the Palacio de las Conchas which is currently used as the Tourist Office of the Junta de Andalucía, the Palacio de Mora Claros, the Town Hall and the old Delegation of the Treasury, the Union and the Phoenix Building, famous for its huge statue on the dome, the Navy Command, the Youth Institute, the old Mercantile Circle, the Commercial Instruction Center, the UGT headquarters building, the Old Provincial Jail or the Customs Office in Plaza 12 de Octubre, from the 1940s and with a singular façade next to which is the UNED. On the outskirts is also the Soledad Cemetery, where the tomb of William Martin, “The man who never existed” is located.
The City Hall of Huelva is located in La Constitución Square and was built by architect Alejandro Herrero from Madrid. The Neo-Herrerian façade imitating Renaissance architect Juan de Herrera’s style, stands out because of the severity of its horizontal lines. They are achieved with the balanced, symmetrical arrangement of polygonal shapes – mainly cubic ones – in the structure of the façade. The building has wooden roofs coated with slate on the outside and lateral turrets ending in sharp, pyramidal spires. The building is made of stone and brick, but granite and marble are also used for the most sumptuous zones of the façade. The upper part of the façade shows a clock which is very trusted by the citizens of Huelva. This clock was built in Miranda de Ebro, Burgos. The courtyard of the building has the appearance of the typical Andalusian patio, a ground floor with marble columns supporting arches and a top floor with Baroque balconies.
Mora Claros’s Palace
Several architectural styles in Mora Claros’s Palace. The outer façade shows many windows and a turret with a mansard in the style of the Second French Empire at the right end. the first blueprints of the building also included another similar turret at the left end. All the windows of the lower floor are framed by mouldings and have corbels with classical decoration on the top, which support the balconies of the upper floor. It is here where we can see three grilled balconies with classical-like, glass windows, a decoration which would become very common in the architecture of Huelva. The entrance of the building is framed by a wide moulding with grotesque decoration. The façade is ended by a very prominent cornice.
Inside the building there is several modernistic elements, especially the iron banisters, decorated with copper flowers, together with some classical-like, stucco decoration, such as cherubim and corbels. The glass windows occupying a great part of the main area of the house are decorated with plant motifs and landscapes, especially remark those alluding to the Discovery of America. Besides, the lower and the central floors have glazed tiles with plant and animal motifs at their lowest part. The predominant colour of those tiles is indigo blue, as in the Muslim tradition in Andalusia. A perron allows to access the upper floor, finely illuminated thanks to a glass dome.
Rábida High School
The history of La Rábida Institute has always been linked to the history of education in Huelva. This institute was founded in 1856 as a School of Secondary Education in the reign of Isabella II of Spain and its educational role in the society of Huelva was and is still essential. The style of the building is difficult to classify, as it has features from all the styles which were fashionable at that period, Historicism, Modernism, Neo-Mudejar, Neo-Gothic, and so on, what makes its architecture something unique.
Great Theatre of Huelva
The Great Theatre of Huelva, a work by Pedro Sánchez y Núñez. Located on Vázquez López street, in the quiet Plaza del Alcalde Coto Mora, it was inaugurated in 1923 as the “Royal Theater” and is owned by the Provincial Council and the City Council. It is a stately building in classicist style typical of the end of the 19th century, called Second Empire decoration. Its construction is due to the economic and urban development registered in the city due to the thriving presence of foreign capital and the prosperity of the mining operations of Río Tinto. It is one of the most beautiful buildings in the city. It is currently the only theater in the city and offers a wide cultural variety of film clubs, musical concerts, theatrical performances, the Easter proclamation and the Colombian Carnival group contest.
This theatre, born from the dreams and wishes of the local bourgeoisie, was planned by architect Pedro Sánchez Núñez. The outer façade is fully rusticated and has three entrances with round arches for the audience, whereas the laterals of the building have straight-lined entrances for the staff. The middle area of the façade has enormous glass windows supported by podia with theatre masks and consoles with plant motifs. The windows are separated by gigantic, Corinthian columns. The building ends with a third floor having oculi with festoons corresponding to each bay of the lower part of the floor. The theatre is crowned by two pinnacles over each end of the building and a pediment with a corbel. Between 1984 and 1990, architect Antonio de la Lama carried out a great remodelling of the building.
Cathedral of Our Lady of Mercy
The Cathedral of Nuestra Señora de la Merced is a Catholic temple, seat of the diocese of Huelva. The construction of the present Cathedral of Huelva started in 1605 with several architectonic periods. The cathedral started as a Renaissance building, but ended as a Baroque one with certain elements from colonial and conventual architecture. The cover is in the Baroque style. The sides are decorated with pilasters that frame the whole, stylizing its aesthetics. A balustrade on the dividing cornice crowns the central section. The upper part topped with belfries for the campaigns protrudes from the building. Other churches in the province of Huelva based their design on the façade of La Merced. The style of churches such as La Merced served to configure the colonial baroque in Latin America.
The baroque façade of the Cathedral is made of brick and is divided into three bodies separated by cornices. The lower body acts as a pedestal and includes the main door of the temple. This door consists of a round arch by two pairs of pilasters at each side and four-leaved oculi. The laterals of the lower body have also semi-circular oculi. The middle body was conceived as a great reredos with niches. These were decorated with terra cotta sculptures of Our Lady of Mercy, St. Leander, and St. Walabonsus in 1978 by local master sculptor Antonio León Ortega and Mario Ignacio Moya Carrasco, who was his apprentice at that time. The middle niche is substituted by a rectangular window, and there are terra cotta sculptures of Virgin Mary and Beatified Vincent of Saint-Joseph in the lateral niches. The centre of the façade is finished off with a balustrade over the centre of cornice, which has a bell-gable with lateral corbels but no bells, whereas the lateral bell-gables do have bells. The lateral zones of the middle and upper bodies have rectangular empty spaces and circular and oval oculi.
The interior of the Cathedral is a hall church with a basilican plan consisting of three naves separated by round arches and a central crossing. The main nave is roofed by a barrel vault divided into five bays by transverse round arches. The arches supporting the vault are also round arches and have over them a tribune with metal balconies over the main nave. The vault and the dome are supported by cruciform pillars. In fact, the pillars supporting the dome have pilasters with Corinthian capitals. On the other hand, the lateral naves are roofed with groined vaults and their walls are covered with reredos made by renowned master craftsmen of this field, such as Juan Martínez Montañés or Francisco Herrera the Elder.
Church of San Pedro Apóstol
The Santa Iglesia Parroquial Mayor y Más Antigua del Apóstol San Pedro is a Catholic temple. The Church of San Pedro is the most ancient church in Huelva and is located on one of the cabezos (‘hills’) which give form to the city. The temple, placed over the rests of a Muslim mosque at the foot of the today missing Castle of Huelva, is a Gothic-and-Mudejar building. The plan and elevation of the temple correspond to the Sevillian Mudejar style of the 14th and 15th centuries. It has three naves separated by two arcades and a faceted apse. Each arcade is made up of five pointed arches that are supported on quadrangular pillars with projections. The central nave, higher than the lateral ones, is covered with a Mudejar paneling in the shape of a trough with braces. The side naves have a canopy roof.
The ground plan and the elevation of the church correspond to the Gothic-and-Mudejar model typical from Seville – the temple has a basilican plan and chevets roofed with sexpartite ribbed vaults. On the other hand, the central nave has a coffered armature, whereas the lateral ones have lean-to coffered ceilings – a legacy from the Muslim architecture in Spain. One can distinguish two areas in the ground plan of the church – the chevet and the naves. The chevet is divided into two stretches – an octagonal one in the presbytery and a rectangular one in the ante-presbytery. The vaults in both stretches are rib-groined vaults in limestone whose ribs are supported by capitals built onto the walls and linked to one another by an impost. Both stretches are linked by a rib which makes the vault a sexpartite vault. The pillars which separate the first and second stretches have edge rolls and are the ones forming the inner transverse arch and the vault arch – all of them are pointed arches.
The church consists of three naves – a higher, central nave and two lateral naves separated by pillars supporting high, pointed arches which form five stretches. The fourth and the fifth stretches were added at the beginning of the sixteenth century (1508) and they protect the choir and the retrochoir. The four pillars which are the closest to the presbytery are cruciform. Meanwhile, the lateral naves are filled with chapels consecrated to different religious figures and painted by different artists. Some of these artists were influenced by the altarpiece-painters of Seville, such as Juan Martínez Montañés.
Hermitage of Solitude
From the 15th-16th centuries, with important reforms in the 18th century. Simple white building closely linked to the history of Huelva, due to the multiple uses it has had. This characteristic white hermitage is currently the headquarters of the Brotherhood of the Holy Burial, whose images are entirely the work of the sculptor León Ortega as well as a large Crucified that presided over the altar of the church of La Concepción until its recent reform.
Sanctuary of La Cinta and Humilladero de la Cinta
In the heads of the Conqueror. It is a 15th century building in the Gothic-Mudejar style, although it probably rests on much older remains. He was visiting Columbus before and after his trip in gratitude to the Virgen de la Cinta for not having had greater evils. Interesting frescoes by Ignacio Zuloaga inside that recount the scenes of Christopher Columbus’s visit to the Sanctuary as well as the representative fresco of the patron saint of the city in the central nave. From here you can get some beautiful snapshots of the marshes, the lower part of the city and the port as well as experience some romantic sunsets.
Church of the Conception
Built in 1515 and with important reforms after the 1755 earthquake. It is the second parish church built in the city and it is believed to be the first temple in Spain dedicated to the Immaculate Conception. Gothic-style building (interior) and baroque-looking on the outside. It preserves important works of neocontemporary neobaroque religious imagery or the altarpiece of Hernán Ruiz, the Younger.
Church of the Miraculous or Church of Our Lady Star of the Sea
Located on Rábida street and built between 1923 and 1929 by the architect Pérez Carasa. It shows a wide range of ribbed vaults and flamboyant arches, pinnacles and capitals and stained glass windows. After a small earthquake in 1969, it was restored and in 2004 the Chapel of Mercy was annexed, in which its doorway and dome stand out (as well as the religious carvings inside), which despite being recently built, forms a beautiful corner next to the church of La Milagrosa.
It is one of the oldest buildings in the city. Dated around the 14th-15th centuries. It is a small chapel which has a painting of the patron saint of the city, the Virgen de la Cinta. With simple white traces in which its small dome stands out. Located at the beginning of the Cuesta de Cinta, very close to the Sanctuary that gives it its name.
Other parishes with a great tradition in the city are the church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (also known as “El Polvorín”), which dates from the 1920s with a façade made of exposed brick, highlighting its slender tower, as well as its interior that follows the traces of a Jesuit temple (a single nave). Close to it is the small parish church of San José Obrero with a very simple and humble style, like the entire area in which it was located when it was built at the beginning of the 20th century, which was dedicated to farmland and promoted by Manuel González and blessed on April 1, 1911. Next to it were the schools of El Polvorín, today it is attached to the Teresianas school. It has been a parish since July 16, 1968. The church of San Sebastián dates from the mid-20th century. In a rationalist style, it has some interesting stained glass windows as well as a large mural painting on the altar where the Patron Saint of the city, San Sebastián, is found.
There are two convents in the city: the Convent of the Sisters of the Cross, with typical Huelva architecture. It is located in Plaza Isabel la Católica (commonly called Plaza Niña). In the same square and in front of the convent is the monument to the sisters of the cross, the work of the sculptor León Ortega and on one side is the church of La Esperanza, a beautiful baroque-style temple, inspired by La Esperanza in Seville.. The other is the oldest convent of the Agustinas in the Plaza de las Monjas. It dates from the 16th century and is in the Mudejar style. From its exterior, its beautiful dome and the whole complex in general stand out. Inside are the non-visitable remains of a Roman temple.
The church of El Rocío is also interesting, located next to the old prison and which was built in the middle of the 20th century with a Latin cross design, its two towers stand out as well as its carved stone doorway and the Parroquia de los Dolores (1952) located in the neighborhood of Las Colonias. Small white temple, headquarters of the brotherhood of La Lanzada, in which its belfry stands out as well as the shield that presides over the entrance door to the temple. There are other chapels scattered throughout the city, all of them built by different brotherhoods, among which we highlight the Calvario Chapel, neoclassical in style, located in the historic center and the Emigrants Chapel, markedly Andalusian in style, for its artistic value. in the Zafra neighborhood, very close to the city center.
Door to the New World
Monument to Christopher Columbus
The Monument to Columbus is a statue over a pedestal which is dedicated to Christopher Columbus and was forged by sculptor Elías Rodríguez Picón. The statue was unveiled at 20 January 2011 at the Plaza de las Monjas Square, Huelva, during St. Sebastian’s Fest. The ensemble consists of a 3-metre-high, bronze statue and a 4.5-metre-high, stone pedestal. The sculpture depicts the Admiral according to traditional depictions of the Discovery of America. The Admiral stands in front of Martín Alonso Pinzón Avenue, wears a medallion of the Virgen de La Cinta – the Patron Virgin of Huelva – and high boots and has a sword hanging from his waist. He carries a flag of the Crown of Castile with his left hand and points to the sea with his right hand through Vázquez López Street. The flag has a cross on the top as a symbol of the role played by the Catholic Church in Columbus’s journey.
The monument to la fe descubridora
Monument to the Discovering Faith is a commemorative sculpture dedicated to the Franciscans of the Friary of La Rábida. With their faith and perseverance, they helped Christopher Columbus, the Discoverer of America, to end his odyssey successfully. The Monument is located in Huelva, at the area known as Punta del Sebo, a confluence between Tinto and Odiel rivers at some kilometres’ distance from the city. The Monument depicts a Franciscan from the Friary of La Rábida. With its faith, this order played a crucial role in helping Christopher Columbus in the so-called ‘Discovering Exploit’. The 37-metre-high, cubist monument depicts a monk in his habit. The shape of the monument resembles a Tau – the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet, which was used as a signature by St. Francis of Assisi. The pedestal is decorated with Aztec, Incan, Mayan, and Christian bas-relief. The monument was built with stone from the quarries of the town of Niebla, Huelva.
The chapel of Nª Sra. de la Cinta
The Chapel of Nuestra Señora de la Cinta is located in one of the hills known as ‘cabezos’, which shape Huelva’s landscape. The Chapel is a fifteenth-century, Gothic-and-Mudéjar building which has been rebuild and used for many different purposes throughout history. Its rectangular-shaped ground plan is divided into two different areas, what reminds of Muslim mosques. The first area consists of a fenced patio surrounded by galleries with round arches on three out of its four sides. A second floor with a two-bodied bell gable was built in the eighteenth century on the east gallery. The access to the Chapel strictly speaking is made through three sixteenth-century doors with pointed horseshoe arches made of bricks.
The chapel consists of three naves. The central nave is wider than the lateral ones and has a roof consisting of a coffered armature with carved struts and a flat chevet. The two lateral naves have also rectangular chevets and wooden shed roofs. The eighteenth-century, main reredos made of painted wood covered with gold leaf. There, we can see an oil painting – the portrait of the Virgin de la Cinta. We can also find in the chapel a carving from around 1760 which faithfully reproduces the painting. This carving was made of painted wood covered with gold leaf and has been attributed to some apprentice of carver Benito Hita del Castillo’s, who was from Seville.
It was here where Christopher Columbus prayed in gratitude to the success of his expedition. The admiral and his crew had reached America and sailed back to Europe through a stormy Atlantic Ocean which made them fear for their lives. Columbus promised that he would faithfully pray to the Virgin de la Cinta in this Chapel which carries her name if the journey came to a good end. The Virgin de la Cinta is, thus, closely related to Columbus. The devotion to her graven image, the creation of her religious brotherhood, and the construction of this Chapel took place in the fifteenth century and their origin is closely related to the Discovery of America. Local seamen who sailed from Huelva to America became fervent devotees of this Virgin who is taken out in procession every 8 September as Patron of Huelva.
Legacy of Industrial Revolution
The Anglo-Saxon and German permanence in Huelva for almost a century has left important marks on its physiognomy. Disappeared buildings such as the old English Hospital (currently on the grounds of a shopping center) there is still an interesting heritage. Due to its monumentality, the wharf of the Tharsis Company (1868) and the mineral wharf of the Riotinto company (1876) stand out. Both were built to connect the city’s port with the train tracks that brought minerals from the Mining Basin. The mineral dock of the Riotinto company is an Asset of Cultural Interest, and is considered one of the emblems of the city.
An example of the construction boom of that time is the Casa Colón. Located in the central Plaza del Punto, it is one of the most emblematic buildings in the entire city. It was inaugurated in 1883 as the Gran Hotel Colón to commemorate the IV Centenary of the discovery of America. In 1889 the act of creation of the Huelva Recreation Club was signed in the chimney room. It is made up of four pavilions that, in addition to serving as the venue for the Ibero-American Festival of Huelva and other types of events, houses various municipal offices.
Further from the center is the Barrio Reina Victoria (also known as Barrio Obrero). It is an Anglo-Saxon design complex that welcomed the families of English mine workers in the 19th century. It has been declared an Asset of Cultural Interest. Other buildings of the time in the city are the locomotive depot of the Port of Huelva, La Casona or the Huelva-RENFE Terminus Station, in Neo-Mudejar style.
By the middle of the 19th century, Huelva was living the greatest heyday of its history – the population had remarkably increased and both industry and economics had a special boost. At that time, it was decided to build a luxurious hotel to accommodate managers from the different companies working in the mines. Spanish architect José Pérez Santamaría built the Grand Hotel Colón with his helper Andrés Mora’s collaboration between 1881 and 1883 at Sundheim’s request. The opening act took place on the 26 June 1883. In 1892, the commemorative acts for the Fourth Centenary of the Discovery of America were held in the hotel. From that moment on, the building started being known by the name of “Casa Colón” (“Columbus House”). The building, acquired at the end of the 20th century by the city hall of Huelva, today is used as auditorium, exhibition room, and especially for the renowned Festival of Latin-American Films.
The nineteenth-century ground plan of the building consists of a strong protruding pedestal, corresponding to the basement, with windows with four-leaved, louvered blinds, and a higher floor where windows become balconies of forged steel with the anagram of the Rio Tinto Company Ltd. on it. The ensemble has a mixture of different styles, with some elements of British inspiration, others from Latin American architecture, and some others which remind visitors of the beginning of Art Nouveau. The hotel was made up by 4 big buildings with a quadrangular space in the middle for a garden. In 1881, Santamaría started the construction of the hotel from four pavilions (only three remain today) of different styles separated by gardens.
The Great House is the H-shaped, main building of the hotel. It has a semi-basement, a first floor, a main floor, and a small tower provided with an attic and an oriel window over the east wing. The whole building has marble floors, rendered walls, and wooden doors and windows of British design. We should specially remark the fireplaces of the building – especially those of the first floor, such as the room known as the Fireplace Hall, whose decoration with green and manganese pottery and pilasters with human silhouettes in relief is outstanding. The West and East Pavilions are two buildings with rectangular floor plan separated by the central garden of the hotel. You may access to both of them by climbing up some marble stairways. Both buildings have double rooms, suites, and toilets for general use out of the rooms. The North Pavilion, today missing, had a quadrangular floor plan with a glassy body in front of a main hall. The building had reading rooms, a billiard room, a kitchen, and some areas for the staff.
The neatly tended gardens had been specially adapted so that guests could play games and sports there and provided with a belvedere provided with electric light. The gardens had been designed by a German gardener from the Königlich Preußische Lehranstalt für Obst- und Weinbau in Geisenheim. Many species unknown in Andalusia were planted in this garden of French influences – palm trees, dragon trees, tangerine trees, casuarina trees, crape myrtles, yuccas, and ivies. All of them came from territories of British influence. However, there were also samples from the local flora. The gardens were also decorated with the Fountain of the Newts.
The Reina Victoria quarter
The Reina Victoria Quarter is not only the recognition of a group of whitewashed houses with British-like decorative features intertwined with those inspired in Muslim architecture. Walking these streets is rather a rediscovery of a 19th-century area from a time when the history of Huelva was based on industry and British mining companies. The original design of the quarter was that of an idealized garden-city, nine parallel streets and two right-angled ones opposing to them, with gardens on their intersections and a great public square. People could enter the quarter on foot through some gates opening to stairs with lateral ramps on their intermediate flights. The quarter had a road for vehicles on its outer part so that people could walk the inner part.
The rio Tinto company loading bay
The loading bay of the Rio Tinto Company Ltd located at a few metres from the “Huelva, Puerta del Atlántico” Visitors Centre Built in 1874 and closed in 1975. The bay, used for loading minerals, was refurbished in 2007 for its public usage and was declared as Estate of Cultural Interest. The enviable location of the Rio Tinto Company loading bay – just by the marshes of Huelva – provides an unrivalled view of the sunset in the province. The bay allow us to go into the mouth of the Odiel River in a pleasant walk. The sunset and the sea breeze in the Estuary offer a range of colours, mauve, purple, and golden.
The Tarsis wharf
The Tarsis wharf is a good example of the most modern design and technological progress in civil engineering in Europe of the end of the nineteenth century. The wharf would be a special, unique structure among Spanish ports. The wharf was built to sell and export the great amount of minerals which came from the different mines of El Andévalo, the mining basin of Huelva throughout the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th. The wharf of the town of Tharsis is a particularly symbolic element in Huelva due to its relationship with the recent history of the province. The wharf was closed in 1992. After a subsequent, slow process of deterioration, the wharf was declared as Estate of Cultural Interest in 1996.
Nuevo Colombino stadium
The Nuevo Colombino stadium, built by local architect Joaquín Aramburu, was opened in November 2001 and was designed to revitalize the city quarter known as “Pescadería” and to give the team a modern, functional stadium according to the club’s expectations. The stadium has 21,670 seats as well as 32 private suites and 72 other seats in press boxes. People can access to it from the outside through a high square overlooking the estuary. Here, you can find the gate money, the official football team shop, and a restaurant. This stand is covered by a roof projection on the inside.
Huelva train station
The construction of the Train Station of Huelva, known as “Estación de Sevilla”, was finished before the end of the nineteenth century. The railway line was built to solved was the transport of the minerals from the mines in the north of the province. The Neo-Mudejar is one the art styles of this period and possibly the one which best shows what is genuinely Spanish and Andalusian. The architectural characteristics of the train station responded to the interest for architectonic styles from other ages, a mix of religious renovation and revitalization, self-identification with the historical past which mythicized by Romanticism.
The most important museum in the city is the Provincial Museum of Huelva. Opened in 1973, it is located in a modern building with three floors and a semi-basement located in Alameda Sundheim. It has an important archaeological collection, with objects from the megalithic period found in La Zarcita in Santa Bárbara de Casa and El Pozuelo in Zalamea la Real. There is also the Tartessian treasure from the La Joya necropolis, as well as different Phoenician and Greek artifacts discovered in excavations in the city. There are also important elements from the Al-Andalus era. Other facilities are the Cabezo de la Almagra Museum, as an interpretation center-museum that highlights some Arab remains found in the Cabezo de la Almagra, a small promontory located next to the University of Huelva.
The building-museum also serves to explain these remains, as a viewpoint towards the city. From the building you start, through pedestrian platforms, towards the different remains and it has information panels to locate the visitor. Already looking to the closest past, the Huelva Puerta del Atlántico Interpretation Center was built in which the British heritage in the city is valued for the visitor. It is located in the modern Pescadería neighbourhood, next to the city center and following the old railway lines that connect with the mineral dock. The building, in avant-garde style, has two rooms where you can see projections and exhibitions on maps of the estuary, Huelva’s relationship with the Atlantic, festivals and traditions, Huelva and the New World, tourist routes, mining, capital and traces. British and wharf of the company Riotinto.
Next to this center, the Parque del Ferrocarril is in the process of being built, conceived as a park-museum that will try to put the Dock, the mines and the province in Huelva’s history in context. Close to this is the Reception Center for Visitors to the Port of Huelva Located in the old locomotive depots of the Port of Huelva, it serves as an interpretation center of what the Port has been and is for the city of Huelva. It also has a small auditorium inside as well as graphic material, a model of the city, original minerals, etc. Outside the town center is the Marismas del Odiel Interpretation Center. Located on the Isla de Bacuta (La Calatilla, Carretera del Dique Espigón Juan Carlos I, kilometer 3). Information about this natural reserve and beautiful views of the estuary and the city. Nearby you can see the archaeological site of Salthish, from the 11th century.
In the city’s Moret Park, the green lung of Huelva, is the Moret Park Reception Center located in Casa Garrido Perelló. Typical house from the beginning of the century in which the visitor will be able to find out about the wide natural, sports, and cultural possibilities that said park offers. In another park, Zafra Park, is the open-air museum. It is a set made up of more than thirty sculptures by national and international sculptors spread throughout the park.
A new museum has recently been inaugurated in the city. This is the Pedagogical Museum, located on the Carmen campus of the University of Huelva. A 300-square-meter space that brings together school manuals, teaching resources, and audiovisual devices from the 19th century that would be used in schools throughout the 20th century, among other objects. As a whole, the teaching resources on display offer a historical overview of the school and the means used for teaching. In addition we will find the recreation of a classroom of the time.
Apart from the museums there are small exhibition halls such as the Cajasol Hall on Plus Ultra street, the Caja Rural del Pasaje de la Botica exhibition hall or the Gota de Leche, on Paseo de la Independencia, which is a building rehabilitated for occasional exhibitions and film cycles. Very interesting is the so-called Casa Berdigón, which is the only house from the 16th century that remains in the center of the city. It currently houses a restaurant and exhibitions are housed on the top floor of the building. Another cultural center in the city is the Provincial Public Library, on Avenida Martín Alonso Pinzón, very close to the Town Hall and which has a small collection of works from the 16th and 17th centuries and some more from the 18th century. Added to this is the Hotel París Building, belonging to the Provincial Council, which has an exhibition hall.
The Museo de Huelva
The Museum was opened in 1973, giving the city a cultural site where people could see from the archaeological, prehistorical discoveries of Huelva to the latest art works of the 20th century3 The exhibits give an overview of the history of Huelva from the Neolithic to Roman times. The Roman tool collection from the mines of Río Tinto is interesting. The Fine Arts Department exhibits works by contemporary artists from the province of Huelva, such as paintings by artists Daniel Vázquez Díaz or José Caballero Muñoz-Caballero.
The building was planned by architect Lorenzo Martín Nieto from Seville, avoided every architectural excessiveness and presented a harmonious, Andalusian-like building with Mudejar hints in the grills and gardens at the entrance. The Museum has three floors and a semi-basement and consists of three main sections – Archaeology, Fine Arts, and Temporal expositions. The first floor has the exhibition halls belonging to the Fine Arts section. One of them is the permanent exhibition hall, with paintings and sculptures from the thirteenth to the twentieth century. The second floor is for private usage, whereas the semi-basement holds the maintenance areas and the store of archaeological rests.
The most visited, best-known hall in the Museum is the permanent exhibition hall of Archaeology, where you can see Palaeolithic and Neolithic rests – including the Bronze Age and the findings in the hills known as ‘Cabezo de la Joya’ and ‘Cabezo de San Pedro’ – in different chronological sections. This exhibition hall gives a remarkable importance to the findings belonging to the Tartessos culture. With the title ‘Tartessos, from myth to reality’, the section shows a historical chronology of Tartessian Andalusia and other civilizations – the Phoenicians and the Greeks – of the same period. The ground floor also shows a Roman waterwheel known as the ‘Noria de Riotinto’ (‘Riotinto Watermill’), which starts a new archaeological period in the Museum.
The Cocheras del Puerto Interpretive Centre
The Cocheras del Puerto Interpretive Centre is consists of three naves with a great patrimonial interest – they were conceived in 1909 by Francisco Montenegro, Manager of the Harbour of Huelva. They used to be locomotive garages in the past, but today they are an interpretive centre which tries to explain the effects of the Industrial Revolution and mining exploitations in Huelva. They are also used as a cultural centre where theatre, music, and dance shows are held.
La Calatilla Reception Center
The visitor’s center Anastasio Senra allows the visitor to delve into this extensive system of tidal marshes associated with the mouths of the Tinto and Odiel Rivers. The sample reflects the importance of this wetland for the survival of many species of birds. The visitor will be able to make a retrospective on the marshes and their historical artistic heritage centered on Tartessos, Saltes and the discovery of America. The exterior of the building presents an interpretive itinerary that gives continuity to the Center, which runs through a large plot with a botanical itinerary, lagoons with bird observatory, demonstration nursery of native vegetation, etc. There is the Calatilla recreational area and the signposted Calatilla de Bacuta path, which is entered into the industrial salt pans, as well as the path of the traditional salt works of Bacuta, endowed with ornithological itinerary, observatory, viewpoints and interpretation center of the salina.
Huelva has rediscovering its own history. There are several examples of archaeological interventions in the city, like the old Onuba and the Muslim Welba. Tartessian and Phoenician retaining walls and foundations of the castle of San Pedro that are located in a private area, so authorization is necessary for your visit. Integrated into the residential building in the Plaza de San Pedro are also the remains of a wall from the 1st century. This complex is identified with the Onuba Aestuaria (name that the historian Pliny the Elder gave to Huelva)
Also interesting are the remains of the Arab settlement on the island of Saltés (in a privately owned space), the remains of a Roman domus from the 1st century (integrated into the current “Sfera” building but partly visible from the inside and on the that there are information panels for its interpretation), the remains of the underground Aqueduct of the Old Fountain, Phoenician wall and funerary monument integrated into a residential building in the Ivonne Cazenave square (in the old French school), the buried remains of a Roman building (in the Plaza de las Monjas and in the nearby convent of Las Agustinas), or the remains of the 10th century BC. C. on the seminary site (currently under excavations). The remains of the medieval and Arab city on the site of La Almagra are also interesting.
The site of the former Colegio Francés
The plot of the former Colegio Francés is located at the end of San Andrés Street and occupies a special place in the Archaeological Area of Huelva. The most ancient graves are from the first half of the 1st century BC. The planning of a double-height exhibition area solves the ground unevenness between both streets and allows the exhibition of information on the patrimonial heritage of the Archaeological Area of Huelva and a high view of the Square as well. The project for the usage of illumination aspires to exhibit the rests even at night. The lights are integrated into the square and faintly light the rests. The other street furniture is located at the borders of the square to give clearance to the centre of the exhibition area.
The roman Domus
There are some ruins of a domus on a land plot at Vázquez López Street, one of the shopping streets of Huelva close to Las Monjas Square. Roman private architecture can be divided into three different types, domus, insulæ, and villæ. The inspiration for this type of residence is the typical Greek house, organized around the peristyle – an inner courtyard surrounded by columns. It is estimated that the rests are from the first century AD.
San Pedro’s wall
The digging campaigns in 1977 and 1978 brought to light several strata from the late Bronze Age and especially a great construction believed to be a retaining wall. The latter would hint the presence of a fortress with Phoenician techniques over former constructions on the top of the hill. Thus, a series of phases was established to study the evolution of the local material culture from the Bronze Age. Several eastern elements due to the presence of Mediterranean navigators in Huelva were added for this reason, this period is commonly known as East-Like Period.
The main parks and gardens of the city are the “Avenida Andalucía”, as a boulevard of gardens and fountains more than two kilometers long, which leads from the entrance to the city on the A-49/H-30 to Plaza Quintero Báez in the very center of the city. It has several recreational areas, tents, fountains, gardens, cafeterias and a stage. Older are the Jardins del Muelle, also known as Parque de las Palomas, close to the port and the Rio Tinto company dock and where the monument to the sailor Alonso Sánchez is located, the work of the sculptor León Ortega.
More avant-garde are the Zafra park, one of the largest in the city and where there is a monumental promenade made up of more than sixty sculptures by national artists that crosses the park from east to west, and the Alonso Sánchez park, which was built in the 80s and which is situated as a ziggurat on a hill from which you can see part of the city, the chemical complex, the Nuevo Colombino stadium and the estuary. It is a staggered construction, with different levels, in which its viewpoint and the central lower square stand out. The oldest of all the gardens in Huelva is the Moret park, remodeled in 2007, which with more than seventy hectares is the largest park in the city and one of the largest in Andalusia. It has bike lanes, barbecues and an artificial lake. The second phase of the park is currently under construction, which includes, among others, an open-air amphitheater for 2,000 people.
On the outskirts are two natural areas. Las Marismas del Odiel make up a natural area located between the mouth of the Tinto and Odiel rivers and occupying 6775 hectares. It was declared a Biosphere Reserve by Unesco in 1983.90 and on its lands the remains of the Arab settlement of Saltish, the Isla de en medio or the Marisma del Burro stand out. Close to it is the Playa del Espigón Juan Carlos I, with fine golden sands on the side that faces the Atlantic, created as a result of the artificial construction of the Huelva breakwater. Already in the urban nucleus, the so-called “Cabezos” are interesting. The latter are elevations on which the marine lanis sit, around which different neighborhoods have developed.
The Parque Moret belongs in the Necropolis of the Período Orientalizante (‘East-Like Period’) of Huelva. Archaeological research have proved the presence of tumuli at the park. The renovation project of the Parque Moret had the purpose of giving the lot a network of paths and several services for users’ fun to make it one of the main green spaces of the city. Another purpose was researching and adding the archaeological patrimony to the facilities of the park as a way to show the history of Huelva to both locals and visitors.
The Cabezo del Conquero
The cabezos are a series of hills which stake out the topography of Huelva and give it a unique, singular aspect. They are ground elevations which reach heights of almost 60 metres in some cases. They appeared during the Cainozoic – 66 million years ago – due to the great quantity of sediments laid out on the area where Huelva is located today – between the estuaries of rivers Tinto and Odiel. This has caused the topography of Huelva to be very rugged, with elevations and hollows all over its territory. The Cabezo del Conquero is one of the most important touristic resources in Huelva. The city has remarkable natural resources, including stunning landscapes. El Conquero is one of the most exceptional places in Huelva. From the magnificent hill, one can see wondrous views – near towns like Punta Umbría, Aljaraque, Corrales, and Gibraleón and the northern zone of the estuary of the Marshes of the Odiel.
The Natural Site of the Marshes of the Odiel, declared as Biosphere Reserve in 1983 by the UNESCO, the site is one of the biggest marsh areas in Spain and has a great variety of animal and vegetal species. The Anastasio Senra Visitors Centre is located inside the Natural Site of the Marshes of the Odiel. The centre has exhibition rooms with information about the site for visitors. Besides, there are many itineraries all over the 7,000 ha of the Natural Site together with viewpoints and bird observatories. Another attractive way of getting to know the Marshes is through water by sailing the channel network of the Marshes.
The intertwinement between the sea and the mouths of Tinto and Odiel Rivers gives form to the environment, creating spaces such as isles, beaches, lagoons, and bogs. Tides make some of these areas flood and emerge from water alternately. The Marshes are a strategic place for migratory birds in their routes between Europe and Africa. More than 250 species – many of them are endangered species – can be seen at the site. Among the most remarkable ones, we must point out flamingos, spoonbills, herons, and ospreys. Apart from birds, the area houses one of the biggest colonies of chameleons in southern Europe and even an endemic butterfly species which can be only seen here.
The salt lakes of the Marshes of the Odiel use the natural evaporation of seawater for producing salt. Shellfish-gathering, apiculture, and fishing were other sustainable activities traditionally carried out by mankind at a territory which has witnessed numerous cultures come and go. The ancient city of Tartessos is believed to have been located around this area. We have rests from pits for fish salting from the Roman Empire and an archaeological site at the Isle of Saltés from the Muslim Period. This site was actually the capital city of a taifa – an independent Muslim-ruled principality – between the tenth and the eleventh centuries.
The canoes’ docks is a seaport located at the Levante’s docks, the canoes still work in the summertime. The river route between Huelva and Punta Umbría lasts approx 40 minutes and offers stunning views of the Natural Site of the Marshes of the Odiel, declared as a Biosphere Reserve of the UNESCO. Several green spaces like the Jardines del Muelle and the Parque de Zafra together with harbour facilities, such as the fish market and the shipyards in the surroundings of the canoes’ docks. A 16-metre-high, 26-tonne-heavy sculpture dominates the entrance of the harbour. The sculpture, which was designed by artist José Noja, is entitled El nudo del Puerto (‘The Knot of the Harbour’) and symbolizes the bound between the harbour and the society of Huelva.
Province of Huelva
The province of Huelva bordering Portugal and bathed by the Atlantic Ocean, from the westernmost foothills of Sierra Morena to the Atlantic coast, travellers exploring the province of Huelva will enjoy bountiful and delicate natural landscapes beneath bright blue skies. Huelva has a typical Mediterranean climate, with extremely mild winters and long, hot summer days. The mountain climate is warm and mild, and tempers the high summer temperatures and the rigours of winter. The centre is cooled in the evening by sea breezes. The temperate climate on the coast is perfect for enjoying the sun and the sea all year round, in a landscape dotted with inviting white villages.
The province is rich in traditions, and its scenic and cultural heritage goes back to the times of the Tartessian civilisation, of which traces can be found around Andévalo and the mining region. The shady forests in the mountain areas, the holm oak pastures and the ancient mines offer a chance to enjoy large expanses of unspoilt scenery. The fertile countryside of el Condado, with large agricultural towns and characteristic architecture, extends to the coast, with its mild climate and endless beaches against a backdrop of pines and junipers. The coast reaches the boundaries of the Doñana National Park, where the Guadalquivir river flows into the sea.
The best and most well known area of natural beauty is the Doñana National Park, which is one of Europe’s most important wetland areas, and home to sand dunes, marshes, pine woods, freshwater lagoons, salt flats and a huge variety of wildlife, including the endangered Lynx and the rare Spanish Imperial Eagle. To the north of the province you find the protected area of the Sierra de Aracena and Picos de Aroche National Park, which has excellent walking and hiking opportunities and is where the famed cured ham of Jabugo comes from.
The mountain range of Aracena with the Gruta de las Maravillas (Caves of Wonder), Alajar and Jabugo, world famous for its ham. The Cortegana mountain range is home to a castle and the small, attractive towns of Fuenteheridos, Galaroza and Almonaster la Real. It is a land of chestnut trees, hills, perennial vegetation, and mountain pastures. The mining region is home to the towns of Tharsis, Río Tinto and Nerva.
Huelva’s cultural attractions include its Baroque architecture in the Condado area, and the Columbus Route of the sites connected with Christopher Columbus (Moguer, Huelva, Palos de la Frontera; from whose dock the great explorer sailed for America). La Rabida was the point of departure for Columbus voyage to discover America and is well worth a visit to see the monuments and historical mementos of this historical moment. The Condado region is a delightful place to visit, famous for its wines and picturesque towns and villages.
The agricultural region of Huelva incorporates the towns of Bollullos del Condado, La Palma del Condado and Almonte. The rich marshes near the mouths of the Odiel and Tinto Rivers are home to the Coto de Doñana, with its spectacular coastal scenery, which starts at Matalascanas and extends to Ayamonte; after passing through Mazagon, Punta Umbría, and Isla Cristina. These are some of the more popular seaside resorts, offering good facilities, beaches and golf.
Andévalo y Parque Minero
This region has surprisingly varied scenery: the pastures dotted with holm oaks and cork oaks, deforested areas, and the open-face mines with their streaks of ochre, orange, yellow and black making a remarkable natural museum of mining archaeology. This is a land of frontiers, a crossroads between cultures and civilizations since time immemorial, as demonstrated by the funeral monuments scattered around the region. But it is also the cradle of the fandango and of various traditional dances.
Among the locations to be visited are the Minas de Riotinto, with the Riotinto Mining Park, Alosno, Nerva, Puebla de Guzmán, Valverde del Camino and Zalamea la Real. The highlight of the local gastronomy is the pata negra ham, as well as game meats such as wild boar, partridge and rabbit, and the delicious wild gurumelo mushrooms which grow throughout the region.
Costa de la Luz
Huelva’s coast has numerous marinas and offers outstanding conditions for sailing, thanks to its good climate which makes it possible to enjoy the sea all year round. The Costa de la Luz in Huelva spreads from the mouth of the Guadiana river to the mouth of the Guadalquivir river. The area has a series of long white sandy beaches where the water, the marshes, dunes and pine woods all meet and merge. Its towns with their maritime tradition are dotted along the coastline: Ayamonte, El Rompido, La Antilla, Isla Cristina, Islantilla, Punta Umbría all make the Huelva coast an ideal destination for relaxing and having fun.
Doñana y Entorno
The Doñana Nature Reserve, declared a World Heritage site and Biosphere Reserve, lies to the southeast of the province of Huelva, beside the mouth of the Guadalquivir river. Doñana is the most extensive nature reserve in Spain and one of the most unique in Europe, due to its rich fauna and flora and its distinctive ecosystems, particularly including its marshes. The park is a mandatory stopover for birds on their migratory routes, and the protected species that can be seen here include the golden eagle, Iberian lynx, griffon vultures and mammals such as deer, wild boar, roe deer and otters. The site of Spain’s most tumultuous pilgrimage, the Rocío, which takes place in the marsh village of El Rocío.
These places, known as the “Lugares Colombinos”, form a route which has been declared a historic-artistic heritage. The route passes through the area around Moguer and Palos de la Frontera, and covers the places in Andalusia which were particularly important in the preparation and execution of Christopher Columbus’ first voyage and to the discovery of America. Places not to be missed on this route include the La Rábida Monastery, the Carabelas Wharf –the site of the replicas of the Pinta, the Niña and the Santa María–, and the Pinzón Brothers House-Museum.
Niebla y el Condado
The region of El Condado lies between the limits with the province of Seville, the coastal area and the Tinto river as it flows through the Villarrasa district. These calm and quiet lands with their open horizons were traditionally dedicated to the cultivation of Mediterranean crops. The population is grouped into large, attractively laid-out agricultural towns, where visitors can refresh their palates in wine cellars and wine-producing cooperatives by tasting the excellent local wines. The local architectural sights include prehistoric and medieval monuments, and some examples of the best Huelva Baroque in the towns of Beas, Bollullos Par del Condado, Bonares, Chucena, Lucena del Puerto, La Palma del Condado, Rociana del Condado and Niebla, with its well-known theatre festival.
Sierra de Aracena y Picos de Aroche
The Sierra de Aracena y Picos de Aroche region is full of surprises: it has natural areas of unspoilt nature, cool white villages filled with art, peaceful forests where pines vie with cork oaks and chestnut trees. This land with its rich gastronomy and traditions, also conceals in its heart deep under the Aracena castle, the Maravillas grotto; this is without doubt one of the most impressive romantic monuments created by nature. Scattered around the mountains are the towns of Almonaster la Real, with its mosque set atop the hill; Aracena and its Ham Museum; Zufre, awarded the designation of Cultural Property; Cortegana, with its well-conserved castle, and other towns such as Fuenteheridos, Aroche, Jabugo, etc.
The main local religious festivals are in September and January. The Fiestas de la Cinta (September 8) are declared of national tourist interest. and dedicated to the patron saint of the city: Nuestra Señora de la Cinta. They are completed with the Patron Saint Festivities of San Sebastián, dedicated to the patron saint of the city (January 20) also declared of national tourist interest. Other religious festivities in the city are Holy Week, of national tourist interest, departures to Romería del Rocío of the Emigrantes and Huelva brotherhoods to present their devotion and take it out in procession on Monday morning or the May Crosses, in some neighborhoods (throughout the month of May). Religiously, the year culminates with the Procession of the Immaculate Immaculate Conception.
In recent years, a series of events have been launched to attract tourists and offer a complementary offer such as: the Commercial and Flamenco Fair (FECORF) held at Casa Colón and where typical carriages are exhibited, equestrian exhibitions are offered, concerts, and stands where you can buy flamenco dresses, accessories or hats. The Cofrade Art Fair is also held at the Casa Colón trying to expose the heritage of various Huelva brotherhoods. Among the musical activities, the Flamenco Festival “El Quitasueños” in the Barrio Obrero stands out, where you can listen to and admire the most relevant artists in the world of flamenco today. It is complemented by the photographic festival “Latitudes”, between the end of February and March, with ten exhibitions in various rooms of the city of international artists. In September, cultural spaces are also organized under the name of “Puerto de las Artes”.
Also of recent creation is the Business Fair of Samples of the Port of Huelva. In it you can taste local products and buy products of various kinds. The Shrimp Fair (May), dedicated to promoting this product from the coast, the Tapas Fair (October), on Avenida de Andalucía and dedicated to promoting provincial cuisine and other celebrations such as the Flower Fair of the Aqualón Shopping Center, the Book Fair or the International Comic Fair of Huelva as an event held in mid-May at the Casa Colón since 2007 and organized by the Seis Viñetas Cultural Association complement the annual cultural offer of the city.
The Colombinas are more than a festival. They are part of Huelva’s identity, one of the features of this resourceful, open city which looks at its past with pride and at its future with hope. The Colombinas aspire to commemorate the departure of the three caravels for India but ended up discovering a new world for all the Humanity in 1492. Thus, the beginning of that odyssey is celebrated every 3 August, at this city which was the starting point and is the celebration place. So, the Colombinas become something greater than a mere festival – it is the commemoration of a crucial date for both the History of Spain and the World. This festival is held at practical, comfortable, and modern fairgrounds having three main areas. The Booth Area • The Concert Area, where important Spanish singers and musicians perform • The Amusement Park The Booth Area is the main area of the fairgrounds and is divided into streets named after important places of Huelva.
The greatest day of the Colombinas is 3 August. Nevertheless, the activities commemorating the departure of the caravels for the New World start at the end of July. Several nautical competitions, such as the Campeonato de Andalucía or the different modalities of the Trofeos Colombinos, take place one week before the festival strictly speaking. Lately, the gate of the fairgrounds and the whole place have been lit at the end of July. From that day on, the festival is inaugurated and we have six days of fun with music and dance shows, cultural activities, sports games, bullfights, and amusements all over the city in the daytime.
The most multitudinous events take place in the night-time. Apart from the free-entrance booths where you can enjoy typical dishes and drinks and the amusements for adults and children, we should also remark the concerts which are performed by the estuary on an outdoor stage. These free-entrance concerts attract a good number of people as the artists performing in them are nationally well-known at national level and have different styles to fit everybody’s taste. Bullfights at the Bullring of La Merced, where the greatest bullfighting figures participate, must be also remarked. The Trofeo Colombino is one of the most important football tournaments in Spain during the preseason and is another attraction of this festival. All of this is just a small part of what you can enjoy in Huelva, which lives the Colombinas more and more intensely every year, between the end of July and the beginning of August.
The Procession of the Three Kings
The Procession of the Three Kings in Huelva was an idea of the Álvarez Quintero Artistic Association on Christmas 1921. The Three Kings appeared on horses at La Merced Square and went along the Paseo de la Independencia, San José Street, and Concepción Street until the Hotel Colón. They continued their procession along Italia Avenue, Plaza Niña Square, Paz Street, Alfonso XII Street, Vázquez López Street, and so on. The procession started with a fanfare of trumpets followed by the Star of Bethlehem, together with heralds carrying flags and Moorish riders carrying torches. Then came King Melchior with his retinue followed by women carrying toys and Kings Caspar and Balthasar with their retinues. After the Kings, some shepherds were leading their flocks of sheep and street people playing tambourines, zambombas, and small drums. The Official Music Band of Huelva also attended the procession. After the procession, the Three Kings visited the schools and hospitals of the city to give toys to the children.
St. Sebastian’s Festival
Saint Sebastian has been worshipped since the people of Huelva prayed to him for his help against the epidemics which attacked the city in the past. Saint Sebastian became the Patron Saint of Huelva since1738, and he would be commemorated every year on 20 January. The procession goes along the streets of the ancient district of San Sebastián, famous for its vegetable-strewn balcony competition and its ambulant stalls selling palm hearts in the city centre. Music is played at Alonso Sánchez Park; an ambulant amusement park is settled at La Soledad Square, and there are popular food tastings of typical dishes of Huelva such as squid with beans.
The Carnaval Colombino
The Carnaval Colombino is a popular festival from year 1863. In that time, a fancy-dress ball was celebrated on the occasion of the inauguration of the Círculo Mercantil y Agrícola (‘Trade and Agriculture Circle’). Fancy-dress balls were celebrated from 1880 to 1936 – during that period, dances, processions, parades, and carnival singing competitions were widely attended. This first phase ended in 1936 with the Spanish Civil War, and it was not until 1983 when several carnival lovers went to the City Hall of Huelva asking for the floats of the Procession of the Three Kings. One month later, this carnival was named ‘Carnaval Colombino’. In 1984, the FOPAC (Federation of Carnival Clubs & Associations in Huelva) was created to be the organism in charge of organizing the Carnaval Colombino, which is today one of the most important carnivals in Andalusia.
Iber-American Film Festival
The Festival de Cine Iberoamericano de Huelva is today the limelight for Latin-American films par excellence. For more than 30 years, the Festival de Cine Iberoamericano has presented the most remarkable audio-visual creations from Latin America by both masters of the genre and young amateurs who present their works here. Since its creation in 1975, the Festival de Cine Iberoamericano de Huelva has occupied a privileged place among international cinema festivals, as it has offered and still offers Latin-American films the chance of gaining access to the European market. Famous Latin-American directors, producers, and actors and actresses have participated at the festival throughout all these years, what has given the festival its present reputation.
Huelva in 2017 was the Spanish Capital of Gastronomy, and this was due to a great wave of gastronomic culture since 2011, which with the opening of new establishments that have promulgated the native products of the province have put this region on the map. Highly mediated by the immense possibilities of the province, the gastronomy of Huelva is based on both products from the mountains and those from the sea, meat and Iberian ham and shellfish and fish from the Huelva coast. city so rich in raw material. Among all of them, Xanty Elias stands out, who has won innumerable awards at his restaurant Acánthum, as well as the city’s first Michelin star and 2 Repsol suns The Virgen de Belén catering school located on Cuesta de la Cinta contributes to this gastronomy by training professionals.
The local gastronomy is based on both mountain and sea products, cured meat and cured ham together with fish and seafood. There are some remarkable seafood species, such as crayfish, crabs, white shrimp, caridean shrimp, lobsters, langoustines, and molluscs like clams and wedge clams. Sea products also include fish from the Gulf of Cadiz, such as tuna, red porgy, meagre, sole, and wedge sole, swordfish, mojama and especially fried or roast sepia. The gastronomy of Huelva also encompasses some types of meat. The gastronomy is complemented by other products such as hearts of palm, strawberries and strawberries and, above all, the wines of the Condado de Huelva Denomination of Origin, with fruity, young, fortified wines, some reds, sparkling wines from Almonte, brandy and vinegars.
This great amount of raw material can be seen at the typical dishes of Huelva, such as clams with garlic, paprika, and wine, tuna with onion, broad beans with sepia, beans with pennyroyal or coriander, mint, and fresh garlic, roast gilthead bream, white shrimp with garlic, bread with potatoes, red pepper, and onion, wedge clams with parsley, garlic, and white wine, ray with paprika, tomato soup, dried dogfish with tomato, and potatoes with sepia. A nice drink to be tried is the ponche colombino, yellow peaches, cinnamon sticks, clove, and soda.