Huelva is the most occidental province of Andalucía and the capital is also called Huelva. Two rivers join near the city: The Tinto and the Odiel. The most important industries of Huelva are chemistry and fishing. Altough the first one provides employment it also has serious consequences for the environment. The fleet of Huelva is reasonably big and catches the best shrimp of the region. In winter the temperature isn’t very low and thanks to the seabreeze the summers are soft. The city has more than 145,000 inhabitants, of which Alonso Sanchez de Huelva, José Luis Gómez and Eugenio Hermoso are the most famous. People from Huelva are also referred to as Onubenses. The Fiestas Colombinas are the best known celebrations, they celebrate the departure of Columbus on the 3rd of August of 1492.
Founded in 1000 b.C, the city prospered under reign of the Visigoths, but they were forced to seek refuge in nearby Niebla after the arrival of the Arabs, and were eventually defeated. The city was a centre for science and engineering, both for the Arabs as for the Christians. The Arabs called the city Welba, that was later changed into the Spanish word Huelva. With the discovery of America Huelva’s importance increased, mainly because the famous expedition left from Palos de la Frontera, a village nearby. Also the patrons of Columbus’expedition came from Huelva. From this period you can visit various monuments. In 1823 the old kingdoms of Spain were divided into regions and the province of Huelva came into existence. In 1873 the city sold the right to mine the nearby mines to the English and they modernized the city and its surroundings. A railway was constructed and the port was improved to facilitate the loading and unloading of minerals. A large demographic increase took place when people who wanted to work in the chemical industry zone that was built under Franco’s regime, started to arrive in the city. The current port of Huelva was constructed during the 1960s and 1970s and replaced the installations that were there before. This, and more investments into the industry caused a duplication of the population within 40 years.
The monuments of Huelva
The Cathedral of la Merced
Originally used as a chapel for the convent of la Merced, it was founded in 1605. Who designed the cathedral has never been verified, but under direction of Pedro Gómez Utebami the most important construction work was completed. The temple was a mixture of the renaissance and baroque building styles. After the earthquake of Lisbon in 1755 the building was almost completely destroyed and it became necesarry to rebuild the cathedral. Pedro de Silva directed the construction that took from the end of the 18th century until well into the 19th century. Plastered brick was used in the construction. The front of the church has served as example for other churches in the region and even for churches that were built in Latin-America. Inside we find statues of Christ of Jerusalem and of the virgin of la Cinta, the patron of the city.
The Casa Colón
This building consists of four modernist style pavilions that were built in 1881. It was inaugurated as the Gran Hotel Colón in 1883. In one of the pavilions can we find the Palacio de Congresos that is used for reunions, meetings and more. The pavilion of Levante houses a library and the municipal archive. The other two pavilions are also used for reunions and conventions. The garden is also very beautiful and inside we find the fountain of Triton.
The Monastery of Rábida
This franciscan monastery was built during the 14th and 15th century. Inside we find various artefacts that commemorate the discovery of America. The building was also affected by the earthquake of Lisbon in 1755. The first people who built something on the hill where the monastery now is, were the fenicians, they built an altar to their god Baal. The romans put their altar to Proserpina on the same spot. Even the arabs built a small monastery on the same hill, but this one was conquered by the Knights Templar in the 13th century. From the 15th centuryit became a franciscan monastery and according to legend, Francis of Asisi founded the monastery himself. After the war of independence the monastery was almost completely destroyed and in 1855 restauration began. The most famous fact is that Cristopher Columbus lived in the monastery before his voyage and that his patrons were the monks that lived there. They supported his proposal to make the voyage to the Indias.