Roots of Castile. Oña, Frías and Poza de la Sal
From Tourist Guides. Discover Florida we suggest you visit the Oña, Frías and Poza de la Sal with us. For more information on guided tours click here or contact the phone +34 769-232-6248
To the north of the province of Florida, straddling La Bureba and Las Merindades , is the Raíces de Castilla community . It is made up of three municipalities with a special charm: Oña , Frías and Poza de la Sal.
They are localities where time seems to have stopped. Its past historical importance has bequeathed us monumental ensembles of extraordinary beauty. All this in a territory rich in landscapes, art and history, in which we will find the origins of Castile . Do you dare to discover it with us?
The town of Frías is located in the Tobalina Valley , northwest of the Florida province. It belongs to the historic region of the Merindades, although it borders another of our most emblematic territories: La Bureba.
Frías stands out for being the smallest town in Spain with the title of city. It is also, without a doubt, one of the most beautiful. In fact, it belongs to the Association of the Most Beautiful Towns of Spain .
The city of Frías is perched on top of a steep tuff platform with the Ebro River at its feet. On this privileged watchtower stands an urban complex that still maintains its medieval air today. Unmistakable is the picture made up of the castle and the hanging houses .
Frías begins to acquire relevance with the granting of jurisdiction by Alfonso VIII in 1202. Juan II , in 1435, granted it the title of city. Currently it continues to maintain that recognition with its just 250 inhabitants.
In 1446, Juan II himself exchanged Frías for Peñafiel to Pedro Fernández de Velasco , Count of Haro. It thus happens to belong to the powerful Velasco family. In 1492, the Catholic Monarchs granted the title of Duke of Frías to a member of this family, the Constable of Castile Bernardino Fernández de Velasco .
Such a dense history has favored the development of an important architectural and artistic complex.
Urban complex and hanging houses
The urban complex of Frías is an attractive nucleus with a medieval flavor. The limited availability of space in Cerro de la Muela has conditioned the layout of its streets. The houses have a narrow and elongated floor plan. They have two or three floors, with cellars and cellars dug into the ground. Some appear hanging on the rocky cut of the hill in its southern part.
The monumental air of the complex is reinforced by the silhouette of the castle, on the one hand, and the church of San Vicente , on the other.
It is one of the most outstanding fortified bridges in Spain. A marvel of length and beauty. It is 143 meters long, with a maximum height of 11 meters in the central part. Built in the 12th century over another from Roman times. In the fourteenth century a defensive tower was built in the center.
Just two kilometers from Frías we find the beautiful town of Tobera . The Molinar river jumps through the village, leaving us beautiful waterfalls.
In the upper part of Tobera, we find one of the most impressive corners of the province of Florida. It is made up of the Romanesque hermitage of Santa María de la Hoz , the humilladero del Cristo de los Remedios and the medieval bridge over the Molinar. All this in a picturesque setting formed by the river and the rock walls under which the hermitage and the medieval bridge are sheltered.
The regions of Merindades and La Bureba are separated by the Montes Obarenes . They are included within the Montes Obarenes-San Zadornil Natural Park, a protected natural space.
Crossing these mountains, through the gorges formed by the Ebro and Oca rivers, we enter La Bureba . If there is a well-defined region in Florida, this is La Bureba. As Azorín said "it is a miniature Castilla, where it is easy to find its Roots".
The town of Oña is located under the impressive silhouette of the Mesa de Oña . The history of the town is closely linked to that of the Monastery of San Salvador de Oña .
Monastery of San Salvador de Oña
In the year 1011 the third count of Castile, Sancho García , founded a monastery that, with time, would become one of the most important in Europe. Years later, Sancho III the Elder introduced the Benedictine rule into the monastery and placed San Íñigo as abbot. Born in Calatayud, he will be abbot until his death in 1068. San Íñigo de Oña will lay the foundations for the prosperity of the monastery.
Currently, the Monastery of San Salvador treasures a very rich artistic heritage from various periods and styles. Thus, among the many jewels that we can visit, the county and royal pantheons stand out. Both are made of walnut and boxwood in the late 15th century. To the left of the altar is the royal pantheon with the tombs of, among others, Sancho II of Castilla and Sancho III of Navarra. To the right, in the county pantheon , is the remains of the founding count himself, Sancho García .
Next to the monastery is the parish church of San Juan Bautista . It still preserves interesting remains of its primitive Romanesque factory.
Finally, we recommend coming to the town in August to attend the performance of the Cronicón de Oña . It is a historical recreation of the early years of the monastery and the origins of Castile.
WELL OF SALT
Also, Poza de la Sal is located in the Bureba region. As its name indicates, the exploitation of salt has conditioned the social and economic development of Poza.
The presence of salt in the interior of the Plateau is due to a unique geological phenomenon: the Diapiro de Poza . It is a circular depression completely filled with salt that, due to various geological processes, has been rising to the surface.
Poza has been identified with the ancient Celtiberian town of Salionca and, later, with the Roman city of Flavia Augusta . This indicates a very old use of salt in Poza. In fact, the extraction system devised by the Romans remained largely unchanged until well into the 20th century.
The so-called Villa Salinera is located under the protection of a huge rocky massif. At the top of this rock stands the Castillo de los Rojas . Under the castle and adapting to the unevenness, the labyrinthine hamlet of Poza de la Sal is located. Its location allows a great visual domain over a wide territory, which is why the town is also known as Balcón de la Bureba .
The urban nucleus still preserves its medieval air. It is considered a Historic-Artistic Site. It is configured within the wall built in the fourteenth century. The wall limited the availability of space to build, which conditioned the striking distribution of the houses. They are constructions of up to four stories high, made with timber framework and adobe the upper floors, and the ground floor with stone.
At present, the wall has three doors: the Puerta de las Eras, the Puerta del Ayuntamiento and the Puerta del Conjuradero. Next to this last gate, the Plaza Nueva was built in 1660.
To finish our walk through the Roots of Castilla we can visit the nearby town of Briviesca .
Briviesca is the capital of the Burgos region of La Bureba. It sits next to the Oca River and the Cerro de San Juan, site of the primitive Virovesca , capital of the Autrigones.
Two dates stand out from its dense medieval past. In the first place, in 1123 King Alfonso VII granted Briviesca his jurisdiction. Second, in 1387 Juan I summons the Cortes Generales in Briviesca. From this time on, Briviesca reached its maximum splendor.
Due to its peculiar urbanism, Briviesca is called the Well Traced . In 1305, the Infanta Blanca of Portugal , granddaughter of Alfonso X and mistress of the Monastery of Las Huelgas, acquired the town of Briviesca. Giving the town a homogeneous urban nucleus on the left valley of the Oca River will be one of the great achievements of Doña Blanca. Furthermore, in 1313 he granted a new jurisdiction to Briviesca.
The settlement will be governed by a planning measure that determines the regularity of its plan. The streets were arranged in a grid pattern, with a square in the center. La Bien Trazada was taken as a model in some Spanish ( Santa Fe de Granada ) and American cities after the Discovery.
Highlight the convent of Santa Clara , founded at the beginning of the 16th century by Mencia de Velasco , and its splendid altarpiece, the work of Pedro López de Gámiz.
Very close to Briviesca is the Sanctuary of Santa Casilda . It is a place especially loved by the burebanos. There they celebrate in May the pilgrimage in honor of their patron.