& Villages - Cadiz - Paterna
The Town's origins
The origins of this town are directly linked to the benefits
derived from the medicinal waters in the area. Starting in
the Neolithic age, the area has been populated by the different
races that make up the history of Cádiz. The abundance
of Roman remains such as mosaics, tombs and coins from Gades
provides evidence that families from Cádiz visited
the baths in the nearby Gigonza, which is famous for its medicinal
spa. Bysantines and Visigoths were other visitors. When the
Moslims first arrived at the peninsula, they also made use
of the Fuente Santa and Gigonza baths, and the fertility of
the land around Paterna, which they called the "Valley
of the Baths".
After the Christian conquest, the Paterna
estate was owned by the Enríquez de Ribera, the lords
of Alcalá de los Gazules and their descendents, starting
with Per Afán de Ribera in 1444, further developed
the area. The town of Paterna was finally founded in 1503
by Francisco Enríquez de Ribera, who built its Town
The 19th century witnessed several events that were highly
significant for Paterna. On the one hand, the number of visitors
to the Gigonza and Fuente Santa medicinal baths increased
considerably between June and September, thus improving the
local population's standard of living.
On the other, a livestock fair was organised in the month
of September, and this led to the area's livestock production
gaining considerable prestige.
The neighbours of Paterna had long wished for the town to
be emancipated form the Alcalá concil and this finally ocurred in 1825. Paterna de Riviera
continues to maintain its old traditions and its economy is
now based on agriculture and livestock (cattle and horses),
for which it is very well known. It is famous for its herds
of fighting bulls, and is at the very heart of the Bull's
Route.It is also well known for its palurda and retinta cattle
and its Spanish-Arabic horses. Reflecting its love for horses,
it has been the site of the Andalucian "Doma Vaquera"
(a sport similar to dressage, but with the reins held in one
hand only) championships (in the year '95 and '96), the Spanish
Campionships in '97 and the European Campionships in 2001.