Santiponce Itálica

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‘Las Pilas’ Public Washing Place

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Las Pilas is located at the intersection of Avenida de Andalucía and Calle del Matadero. The washing place is the only one of its kind in the province of Seville. The architect took ingenous advantage of a not very large corner. As described by P.A. Cantero in his book "Arquitectura del Agua, Fuentes públicas de la provincia de Sevilla", in the fountain we can observe two different buildings, one devoted exclusively to women with 30 basins arranged in a half arc and the second, a mixed one, with a fountain with four pipes and a large basin forming an angle with an old inn, which was later a bar, a public school and today a private home. It is a harmonious building with a large wrought iron canopy that provided shade to many users, who, in addition to consuming the water undoubtedly admired the spectacle of the water carriers. Few places can have had such a rich social life as this one, a true melting pot of genders and ages, of expectations and situations, of effort and enjoyment. 

 More specifically, the complex is made up of 30 basins, arranged in an area of 103 square meters (14.70x7), surrounded by a 60 cm thick wall which, together with the basins, are made of adobe, ashlar and 30x15 brickwork. The floor was cobbled, and you can still see some pebbles, although it is now very deteriorated. The 70 x 100 cm basins are arranged in two parallel sets, forming an inverted 'J', with a central supply channel and drainage on the opposite side of the supply channel. The basins forming the curve of the 'J' are isosceles trapeziums, with more space than the standard basins (Revista de feria y fiestas de La Puebla de los Infantes, 2008, p.19-20). The current appearance of the fountain is from the late 1990's, with a length of 5.50 m, a width of 85 cm and a depth of 30 cm. It consists of a front crowned with a single lantern flanked by two walls of different height holding flowerpots. Today, in addition to an original spout that is in disuse, the front of the fountain has a modern drinking water tap installed.

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