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Municipality of Loja (Granada Province, Andalusia, Spain)

Last modified: 2010-03-20 by eugene ipavec
Keywords: loja | order of the golden fleece | castle (gold) | bridge (gold) | river | crown: royal (closed) |
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[Municipality of Loja (Granada Province, Andalusia, Spain)] 2:3
image by Ivan Sache, coat of arms after the municipal website, 16 Jul 2009
N.B.: reconstructed image, no original seen

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Dear friends,

The municipality of Loja (22,137 inhabitants in 2008; 45,470 ha) is the westernmost municipality in the Province of Granada, located 50 km west of the provincial capital.

The town of Loja was founded, according to the local myth, by Tubal, Noah's nephew, who called it Alfeia. There is evidence, however, that the Phenicians founded there the town of Tricolia, a significant trading center in the 8th AD. After the Roman conquest, the town was renamed Lascivis, alluding to the pleasures and waters available in the town. The Moors transformed Lascivis into a big, fortified town named Medina Lauxa ("The Guard Citadel"). Medina Lauxa is the birth town of the geographer, historian and poet Ibn Al-Jatib (1313-1374), one fo the most famous Arabo-Andalusian writers, twice appointed Vizir of the Nasrid kingdom and subsequently exiled, and eventually murdered in Morocco.

Fiercely disputed during the civil wars of the Caliphate of Córdoba, the town, considered as "the gate and the key of the Grenada Kingdom" was besieged by Fernando the Catholic in 1482, to no avail, and eventually surrendered in 1486 after a three-day siege. The famous knight Martín Vazquez de Arce, known as El Doncel de Sigüenza, was killed in July 1486, aged 24, during the events. The fall of Medina Lauxa had a great psychological impact, forcing 5,000 Muslims to fled to Granada and announcing the definitive suppression of the Nasrid Kingdom of Granada. To celebrate the victory, Ferdinand granted to the town a coat of arms showing a castle or on a bridge argent and the motto "Flor entre espinas" ("Flower between spines"). The motto alludes to the location of the town in the narrow, fertile valley of Genil, surrounded by the Sierra Gorda and Mount Hacho.

Loja is the birth town of General Ramón María de Narváez y Campo (1800-1868), first Duke of Valencia, known as the "Espadón de Loja" (The Loja Swashbuckler). During the first Carlist War, Narváez supported Queen Isobel II and contributed to the victories of Mendigorría and Arlabán; exiled in France because of his rivalry with General Espartero, Prime Minister in 1837-1839, Narváez created in Paris the Spanish Military Order, aiming to overthrow Espartero's government. Back to Spain in 1843, Narváez defeated Espartero in Torrejón de Ardoz, survived a murder attempt and was appointed Prime Minister in 1844 when Isobel II came of age. Involved in the redaction of the 1845 Constitution, Narváez resigned in 1851, was called back in 1856 and repressed the revolutionary movements. Isobel II was overthrown short after his death. Narváez is recalled in Loja by his mausoleum, made of Carrara marble by the sculptor Antonio Moltó, its palace, currently housing the municipal administration and its gardens, located near the village of Plines.

The Loja Peasant Uprising occurred in June 1861. Led by Rafael Pérez del Álamo, poor day labourers assaulted on 28 June the barracks of the Civil Guard at Iznájar, asking the proclamation of the Republic and the suppression of the Kingdom. They marched against Loja, where they hoisted on 30 June the Republican flag and proclaimed a kind of Republican rule. The uprising, which had spread to neighbouring towns but could not have reached Granada, was overthrown on 4 July after a bloody battle in Loja. Some 100 rebels were shot and another 400 deported. Queen Isobel II proclaimed in 1862 a general amnesty.

Loja got international fame in 1933 when the town was used as the background for the country of Sylvania in the Marx Brothers' movie "Duck Soup."

Source: Granada Tourism website

Ivan Sache, 16 Jul 2009


The flag, arms and motto of Loja were approved by the Municipal Council and submitted on 23 June 2005 to the General Directorate of Local Administration, which confirmed them by Decree on 5 July 2005, published in the Andalusian official gazette (Boletín Oficial de la Junta de Andalucía, BOJA) No. 140 on 20 July 2005.

The relevant parts of the Decree are the following:

Coat of arms: Elliptical shield. Divided per fess, 1. Azure a bridge or surmounted by a golden (sic) castle. In chief surmonting the castle a chain or from which hangs a golden key and the motto "Loxa Flor entre espinas." Dexter and sinister are steep mounts argent. 2. A river Genil proper. The shield surmounted with a Royal crown closed and surrounded by the collar of the Order of the Golden Fleece.

Flag: Rectangular flag like the traditional flags divided in two equal horizontal stripes, the upper purple and the lower white, in the middle on the two stripes, the coat of arms of the municipality.

Motto: "Loxa flor entre espinas."

The symbols should be registered on the Andalusian Register of Local Entities, with their official written description and graphics (as originally submitted, but unfortunately not appended to the Decree).

Source: BOJA No. 140, pp. 12-13, 20 Jul 2005

Ivan Sache, 16 Jul 2009