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Palencia (Municipality, Castilla y León, Spain)

Last modified: 2016-07-02 by ivan sache
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Flag of Palencia - Image by Antonio Gutiérrez, 20 June 2011

See also:

Presentation of Palencia

The municipality of Palencia (82,169 inhabitants in 2010, therefore the 4th most populous municipality in Castilla y León; 9,471 ha; municipal website) is the capital of Palencia Province.

Palencia originates in a Celtiberian settlement named Pallantia. The town was the capital of a Visigothic kingdom and the seat of an early bishopric. King Wamba is said to have transferred from France to Palencia the relics of St. Antonin, renamed St. Antolín, kept in the crypt (7th century) of the today' s cathedral.
In the 11th century, King Sancho of Navarre, also Count of Castile, resettled the town. Located close to the Way of St. James, Palencia became a significant religious center, housing in 1113 and 1124 two Councils attended by the King of Castile. Alfonso VIII granted a charter and a municipal council to the town; together with Bishop Tello Téllez de Meneses, he founded in 1208 Estudios Generales de España, considered as the first university ever founded in Spain; recognized in 1221 by Pope Honorius III, the university was closed 10 years later. Its most famous alumnus was St. Dominic.
In 1388, the women of Palencia prevented the Duke of Lancaster to seize the town while the men fought elsewhere. Their courage was rewarded by King John I, who allowed them to wear a stripe of golden fabric on their blouse and hair, still an emblematic element of the Palencian costume.

The emblematic monument of Palencia is El Cristo del Otero (Christ of the Hill), a 30 m-high statue erected in 1931 by the local sculptor Victorio Macho (1887-1966) on a hill dominating the town. The second biggest statue of the Christ after the Rio de Janeiro statue, the monument is located above a small chapel where the sculptor has been buried; the tradition says that St. Toribius settled there in the 6th century when expelled from the town by its heretic inhabitants.

Ivan Sache, 20 June 2011

Symbols of Palencia

The flag of Palencia (municipal website) is purple with the coat of arms in the middle.
The origin of the color of the flag is not known; it might have been used by some factions involved in the Communeros War (16th century), or by Palencian and Castilian regiments fighting in the War of Succession (early 18th century).

The coat of arms of Palencia (municipal website) is "Quarterly, 1. and 4. Azure a cross flory or, 2. and 3. Gules a castle or masoned sable port and windows azure. The shield surmounted by a Duke's coronet".
The cross was awarded by Alfonso VIII to Bishop Tello Téllez de Meneses for his support in the Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa (1212).

The arms of Palencia appear on the inescutcheon of the arms of Palencia Province.

Ivan Sache, 20 June 2011