THE “SANCTUARY OF THE VIRGIN OF REGLA”
Originally the Sanctuary was a castle fortress and property of the “Ponce de Leon” family, Masters of Chipiona, who donated to it to the hermits of San Agustin in 1399, transforming it into church and a place to give worship to the Virgin.
This old castle was situated very close where the “Virgin de Regla” appeared. The hermits remained in it until 1835, when they had to disperse to different towns and cities because of the decree ordered by Mendizábal, which said that the Monasteries and Churches should be eliminated. This decree meant the loss and disappearance of documents, ornaments, bells, marble and different valuables. Nevertheless, the statue of the Virgin was carried out to the Parish of the town, where it would remain for seventeen years.
The Sanctuary, withdrawn from the population, remained forgotten, turning into ruin due to the ravages caused by the war.
The Franciscan Order
By chance in 1851, the “Infantes de Orleáns”, who spent the summer in nearby “Sanlúcar de Barrameda”, visited Chipiona, where they were informed of the origin and calamities that the Monastery and image of the Virgin suffered, so they arranged to return the image to its main place and once restored in 1852, Father Castro was named chaplain.
In 1882, the State yielded the Sanctuary to Father Lerchundi, of the Franciscan community, allowing him to establish a school of missionaries for Morocco and the Holy Land in the same building.
The New Temple
Thanks to the contributions of the cities and towns of the region, in May 17th 1904 the demolition of the old temple and the construction of the new one was initiated. The first stone was placed on October 30th 1904 with the help of the “Infantes de Orleáns y Borbón”, after two years it was inaugurated on January 14th 1906 without the tower of the main body. The bells were mounted on easels of wood, until 1909 when the work of the tower is finalized.
Nowadays it is the same Franciscan community that inhabits the Monastery and attends to the Sanctuary.
The Sanctuary also known as Monastery, is neo-Gothic in style, and has three Naves, the main and two lateral, plus the presbytery, with 16x14 metres wide, the structure of the Altar piece is the same as the main entrance. It is noticeable the Mudéjar cloister (XV), the library and the Camarín of the Virgin (dressing room).
The first procession of the “Virgin of Regla” took place in 1588 and was organized by the Duchess of Medina Sidonia, to beg for the success of the “Armada Invencible” that her husband was directing.
The Coronation of the “Virgin of Regla” took place on September 5th 1954, its Godparents being Alfonso and Beatriz the “Infantes de Orleáns y Borbón”, and was crowned by Cardinal Segura.
This attached building to the Sanctuary dates from 1663. The cross that was placed where the height of the Virgin appeared was replaced with an outdoor chapel by desire of the priest Father Nuño and with the economic help of the Duke of Medina Sidonia. It is formed of half a sphere of arches on 4 pillars, grills of iron, finished off with metallic cross on the dome. In the interior there is an altar on the well, in which it is believed appeared the shape of the Virgin. A silver lamp and a picture explain the history of the appearance.
After the great abandonment between 1835 and 1852, by the "Decree of Mendizábal" and the weathering storms, it was restored in 1852 (an inscription existing at the back of the building confirms the date). In 1895 it was destroyed yet again by another storm and restored again in 1896. The latest reparations were in made in 1947.
It is the highest in Spain, the third highest of Europe and the fifth highest in the world, rising 72 metres above the sea level and 69 metres from the land to the structure of the flashlight, it has a total of 322 steps. It was built on the “Punta Del Perro” to indicate the entrance of the Guadalquivir River.
The first stone was set on April 30th 1863, and built by Catalonian engineer Jaime Font, finishing four years later in 1867 and lighting for the first time on November 28th 1867, with optic equipment and sparkling every sixty seconds.
In the beginning it was lit with oil, later with paraffin and petroleum, materials were raised in the interior of the hollow tower by means of a pulley. The turning of the flashlight operated thanks a clockwork mechanism with a counterweight falling down through the hollow tower. Nowadays this mechanism continues functioning in daytime hours.
In 1916 it began to use petroleum vapour pressure with burner, and this produced sparkles every fifteen seconds.
In 1942 it was substituted by electric lighting, with a lamp of 3000 watts and a reach of twenty miles of fixed light, three flashes of light that shone every fifteen seconds.
In August of 1936, due to social and political circumstances that led to the Civil War, the lighthouse keepers are expelled and ordered to extinguish the light. It remained unlit for 3 years. Meanwhile in 1937, soldiers started works of the defence wall.
In 1956, the North American “Marshall Plan” changed the plates at the top of the lighthouse to glass, a job financed by the Americans. These works were finished in 1963.
Of the 187 existing lighthouses in Spain only 20 they are “Aerial-Maritime”, similar to Chipiona since 1956.
These lighthouses are characterized for emitting its light the same distance horizontal and vertical, therefore also serving airplanes.
In December 1999 the existing lamp was changed to a new Halogenous one, reaching eighty miles and shining every ten seconds. The materials used for the construction of this lighthouse were, above all, oyster stone extracted from the close by fishing ponds “Las Canteras” (incidentally this is the name of one of our beaches the “Playa de las Canteras”, translated means “the Quarry Beach”) and from nearby town of Rota, also used were materials from Sierra Carboneras, situated 6km within the Bay of Algeciras and San Roque, and slabs from Tarifa.
The Lighthouse of Chipiona is the lightning conductor of our town.
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The Castle of Chipiona is situated over a rock of the old ravine where the waves of the sea beat. It is square shaped and has two floors covered with vaults at the edges and a square tower sits next to the wall that goes from the “Cruz del Mar” and reaches “Playa de las Canteras”; the windows are pointed, the building is completely castled. Its origins, according to the Provincial Delegation of Cadiz, is said to be from the Moorish period, but little data exist of Chipiona during that time.
According to history and existing documents, Chipiona was conquered in 1251 by King Fernando III "El Santo", and regained definitively again in 1261 by his son King Alfonso X "El Sabio". Subsequently this land was given to the “Pérez de Guzmán” family by King Sancho IV, as a reward to Alonso Pérez de Guzmán "El Bueno " for the defence of the city of Tarifa, the reward comprised of all the land situated between the Guadalete and Guadalquivir Rivers on the condition of that 4 castles be built. He later became Lord of Trebujena, Rota, Sanlúcar of Barrameda and Chipiona.
Afterwards Chipiona passed to the “Ponce de Leon” family when in 1303 Alonso Pérez de Guzmán "El Bueno” married Isabel, daughter of Hernán Pérez Ponce de Leon.
Others attribute the construction of the Castle to the “Conde de Arcos”. It is not known if it was newly constructed or built on the remains of an ancient castle. What is known is that Alonso X fortified it during the reconquest of Cadiz. The Castle was restored in 1527, along with the ones in Rota and Sanlúcar de Barrameda and equipped with beacons because of the continuous attacks by the Turkish, Berber, and Moorish pirates, the famous pirate Barbarroja was even here. It continued to exist until the year 1651 owing great endowment to the soldiers for its defence.
In the 17th century, they are mentioned in text that it "served as dwelling of the parish priest", and in the first years of the 18th century became a local prison(or public jail of the village), in the 19th century (1893) it served as the headquarters of the Civil Guard since their position in Trebujena had been transferred to Chipiona. .
Hotel Real (Royal hotel)
The first record that we have that was used like hotel was in a surrender act of 1887. In 1922 the Castle was restored for the stay of His Majesty Carlos de Borbón and Luisa de Orleans. Maria de las Mercedes, mother of the present King, also lived in our Castle.
In general, we say that for many years it was a fortress and watchtower for the defence of the townsfolk who had created a population around it until it turned into hotel from 1890 to 1989, whereafter it closed due to problems between its owners. It lay in a state of ruin until December 26th 2000 when the Town Hall of Chipiona acquires it and begins its restoration.
PARROQUIA DE NUESTRA SEÑORA DE LA O (PARISH OF OUR LADY OF THE O)
The Parish was erected in the year 1579 in Gothic style with an Apse and three Naves separated by pillars.
Previously it was presumed that was an Arabian mosque built on top of the remains of a previous Church.
In the 18th century the Gothic style disappeared and the church was transformed, taking a Baroque style. 1724 saw the beginning of the inventory of the jewellery and existing ornaments: A large and engraved silver cup with interior cup that form an independent piece is one of the pieces that is conserved in good condition. Also mentionable is the little a golden little box that served the “Santo Viático” and two processional silver crosses and three silver vessels.
In 1753 the ancient parish was consisted three Naves. There is evidence that two of them had works carried out on them and according to documents, the third one was used as a cemetery which served the burials of the faithful.
In the year 1761 the woodcarver and sculptor Matías José Navarro was ordered to build an altarpiece for the Altar, elevating the expense to 10.400 “reales” (the old currency)
In the lower part, on the altar table we find a tabernacle, which was placed and installed here, giving service in July, 1764.
The 1775 inventory counted various vessels, silver bells, a processional cross, silver key and chain and a box clock.
In 1779 it bought a “viaticum”, a kind of cruets in a pelican shape with a silver chain, and in 1782 they were gilded images of San Cristóbal & San José in the high altar.
In 1785 the artists and woodcarver Manuel Garcia de Santiago, and painter José de Guevara, were hired to work on the sculpture that was to be venerated in the high Altar, the image of the “Virgin of the O”, sculpted from wood with gold brought from Seville and assigned by Cardinal Solís.
The Parish today
The works of the present Parish begin during the 18th Century. The present structure is from the reforms carried out towards ends of that century and is an heiress of the old Gothic church, with apse and three naves separated by pillars.
The biggest chapel is the same one that existed in the old Parish. This analogy is explained in the chapel and the lateral front, which are from the same Gothic style, from the 16th Century.
The new Parish was blessed January 14th 1797 by Don Pedro Sánchez Guerrero, priest of Chipiona and the organ was installed in 1.836.
The last restorations took place in 1914, a year in which the black and white tiles of the sacristy and offices are set, and in 1917 with the varnishing of the furniture.
Temporary home of the “Virgen de Regla”
On October 17th, 1835, with the Decree of Mendizábal, the Augustines who were living in the Monastery were expelled to different towns and cities. The abandonment of the Sanctuary meant that image of the “Virgen of Regla” was moved to the this Parish, where remained until September 7th 1852, when it was returned to the Sanctuary.
ERMITA DEL CRISTO DE LAS MISERICORDIAS (CHRIST OF COMPASSION)
This Hermitage, an old store and property of the Miranda Nieto brothers, was given to the town of Chipiona in 1550, although there are documents that situate the hermitage in the year 1500. Legend says that around the year 1500 there appeared in Chipiona a man that asked to be enclosed in the store with water and food for a week and with a piece of wood.
The townsfolk throughout this week became worried because many noises were heard from inside, once they gained access to the store they found the carved image of the “Cristo de las Misericordias” along with the food but without any sign of the man.
On November 1st 1755 a terrible earthquake took place in Lisbon. The consequences were the flood of Chipiona and the destruction of the Sanctuary and the Parish. The population decided to go in procession with the statue of Cristo de las Misericordias, when suddenly the waters retreated to the sea.
On November 1st 1755 the terrible earthquake of Lisbon had after effects on our coast, flooding the town and leaving Sanctuary completely ruined, partially destrying the Parish. For this motive, the image of the Cristo de las Misericordias was extracted in a procession and the advancing waters withdrew.
Attributing this miracle to the to the image of the Cristo de las Misericordias, every year the procession is re-enacted on All Saints day, making the same journey that took place before.
THE MONUMENT OF ROCIO JURADO
This monument to the late Rosio Jurado is located at the entrance of the Marina, beside the Guadalquivir River and the National Park of Doñana and looking over at the district where she was born and the Avenue named after her. It was carved in bronze and stone by the artist Juan de Ávalos and given to the singer, who gave it to the town. It was inaugurated on August 199th 1994.
Originally the sculptor thought of doing a bust of the artist, but later decided on a statue of entire body. The result stands 2.40 metres high and surrounded with 8 pillars and is accompanied by a fountain on the roundabout.
The Tourist Merit golden medal was awarded to the artist by Chipiona for his free work and promotion all over the world of our town and of the woman and legend named the “the force”, “the power”, “the artist”, “the singer”…. Rocio Jurado.