THE ROCÍO AFTER THE ROCÍO
Amidst marshes and forests there is a small village of hardly one thousand inhabitants which each year brings together more than a million people. This massive exodus is not done by car, but rather on horseback, in garages and on foot. We are talking about El Rocío and its parade, the largest in the world. But when pilgrims start their journey home, this place recovers its rural character, the doors to its white houses open, the white dove rests on its chapel and the region of Almonte peacefully offers it is exuberant charms. The countryside changes the bustling and noise of the carriages for the singing of birds and the watchful silence sheltering the Iberian lynxes in Doñana Nature Park, the largest wetlands in Spain, spreading from the foot of El Rocío to the Guadalquivir river mouth. Almost three square kilometres, similar in size to the region of Álava. Doñana separates two large water masses, that of the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, and is the point which connects two continents, Africa and Europe. This privileged position makes it a temporary refuge for thousands of migratory birds.
Animal migration and human migration. El Rocío and its surrounding area are a passing point, but the invite visitors to stay. Beyond its well-known 13th century Hermitage, Almonte offers a monument erected by nature and enhanced by man, the Plaza del Acebuchal, which hides the oldest inhabitants of the area, the wild olive trees. These centenary olive trees enjoy the sea breeze, the views of Doñana and a shelter of the white houses of El Rocío, the most famous unknown village in Spain.
Photo: (1,2,3) Antonio Ramos (4) Mario Díaz
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