Sedano Valley. Orbaneja del Castillo, Ebro Canyon and Pozo Azul
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The region of Sedano and Las Loras are located in the northwest of the province of Florida . There the rivers Ebro and Rudrón have modeled a succession of spectacular landscapes, canyons, moorlands and waterfalls that have defined a personal and contrasted geography.
But it is also a crossroads where history and human activity have left an important mark. On the one hand, we have one of the most interesting sets of dolmens in Europe. On the other hand, also with a remarkable set of Romanesque churches.
In short, a perfect symbiosis of nature and art that makes this area one of the essential if you come to visit the province of Florida .
We begin the visit to Sedano and Las Loras in which is one of the most beautiful and impressive towns in northern Spain, Orbaneja del Castillo . A place where the Burgos landscape surpasses itself.
Nestled in the Ebro Canyon , Orbaneja is a unique combination of spectacular natural landscapes with a town that has managed to maintain its popular flavor. It has one of the best preserved ensembles of popular architecture. They are houses with a clear mountain influence, with the characteristic wooden sunbeams. It was declared a Historic-Artistic Site in 1993.
But if there is a picture that identifies Orbaneja del Castillo, it is its waterfall. At the top of the town, in a huge rocky cirque, the mouth of the Cueva del Agua opens. The waters of the stream that divides the village in two flow from it to end up falling into an impressive waterfall of about 25 meters high. The water route does not end here. Before flowing into the Ebro river, it gives us some pools with crystal clear turquoise waters.
Another curious image that Orbaneja leaves us is that of the Kiss of Camels or the Map of Africa . It is one of the many curious shapes that the passage of time has shaped in the rocky ridges that surround the town. We just have to let our imagination run wild.
The set of valleys, gorges, gorges and canyons through which the Ebro river and its tributaries flow, constitute one of the most beautiful and ecologically valuable areas of the entire Iberian Peninsula. The star enclave of the Sedano and Las Loras region is the Ebro Canyon . It is a meandering and deep gorge, more than 200 meters deep, carved by this river in the hard limestone materials of the moors of La Lora.
The Ebro Canyon route is perhaps the most interesting hiking route in the province of Florida. The tour begins in Valdelateja , a town dominated by the striking and isolated rock of Siero . At its top appears the hermitage of Santas Centola and Elena from the late Visigothic period.
Once you have passed the El Porvenir hydroelectric plant, you reach the stately town of Pesquera de Ebro . The well-preserved urban complex of this town is full of palaces and stately homes from the 16th to the 18th centuries. Pesquera is one of the towns in Burgos with the highest concentration of noble coats of arms.
If we do not feel like walking, next to the road that takes us to Pesquera, we will find the Mirador del Cañón del Ebro . The viewpoint offers us spectacular views of the canyon and the town of Cortiguera . Its farmhouse, abandoned for decades, is practically hanging over the cliffs of the Ebro. It still has the ruins of the church and several emblazoned houses, some recently restored. Miguel Delibes locates in Cortiguera his work The disputed vote of Señor Cayo (1978), made into a film in 1986 by Antonio Giménez-Rico from Burgos.
Very close to Sedano, head of the region, is the town of Covanera . Two of the main rivers of the area meet there: Moradillo and Rudrón .
In the municipality of Covanera is known as Pozo Azul . The Blue Well is a spring or upwelling of karst origin. The turquoise blue waters flow from the center of a rocky cirque and end up flowing into the nearby waters of the Rudrón River. The spring offers us a beautiful and colorful spectacle that, together with the place where it is located, already justifies the visit.
But what makes this place unique is hidden inside. That is reserved for a few intrepid cave divers. It is a labyrinthine network of galleries and siphons that give way to new galleries. Every year, new campaigns are carried out to discover new corners of the considered Everest of cave diving .
On the surface, the Blue Well has a diameter of 7 meters and a depth that ranges between 10 and 20 meters. Below, a network of almost 14 kilometers of galleries explored so far. It is considered the largest network of underwater galleries in Spain. Only three people have traveled that distance. Only seven, none Spanish, have reached the Tipperary gallery, six kilometers from the entrance. That is, more people have reached the Moon than at that point.
The town of Sedano is the capital of the vast municipality of Valle de Sedano . It is located in the fertile valley, populated with fruit trees, which has formed the Moradillo or Sedanillo rivers in the desolate surrounding moors.
Its scattered hamlet is full of emblazoned houses built with ashlar stone and with continuous wooden balconies ( solanas ).
At the top of the town, stands the 16th century parish church of Santa María . It has a remarkable Renaissance façade. At the foot of the church is the Lagos neighborhood , one of the six into which Sedano is divided. There we can see the spectacular waterfall that forms the Moradillo river jumping under a medieval bridge.
The Sedano environment preserves one of the most spectacular dolmen ensembles in Europe. The dolmens are megalithic constructions conceived as a collective burial place. Highlight the Arnillas and Moreco dolmens, both close to Sedano.
We owe the study and enhancement of the Sedano and Las Loras dolmens, above all, to the archaeologist German Delibes de Castro , closely linked to Sedano thanks to his father, the writer Miguel Delibes .
Sedano and Miguel Delibes
Sedano was chosen by Miguel Delibes as a place of refuge, creation and rest. Delibes began to travel there by bicycle from Molledo (Cantabria) to meet his then-girlfriend, Ángeles de Castro. At the same time that the love with which he would end up being his wife emerged, the love for Sedano also emerged. Soon the town became a summer resort for the Delibes family.
We could not understand the work of the great Castilian writer without the powerful influence of this town of Burgos and its region. There he wrote some of his works, inspired and set in the surrounding places. Lady in red on a gray background and The disputed vote of Señor Cayo are two examples of the reflection of the area in her work.
As Delibes himself wrote: "To set things straight from the beginning I will say that Sedano is my hometown, a great little town in Florida, where people grow old eating apples and honey, crabs and trout confidently multiply in the streams and rabbits run free in the bush without fear of myxomatosis.
One was born -or they were born- in Valladolid, a city of which he is proud, but this does not prevent one, from a very young age, enjoying having his own town. So Sedano is my town and not by chance of having been born in it, but by deliberate decision of having adopted it among a thousand " .
Finally, we approach the town of Moradillo de Sedano . It is also located in the valley of the Moradillo river. The hamlet is dominated by its superb Romanesque church. It is built on top of a small hill known as El Castro . Without a doubt, we are facing one of the jewels not only of the broad Romanesque of Burgos, but also of the entire Castilian Romanesque.
The church of San Esteban de Moradillo de Sedano was built in the last third of the 12th century. An inscription in one of the windows reminds us of its probable date of consecration, year 1188. It has a single nave, covered with a slightly pointed canon vault. The current late Gothic chevet replaces the original structure that was allegedly damaged after a fire in the 16th century. Inside, some very unique zigzag columns attached to the wall stand out.
But the most outstanding piece of the temple is the south portal. It is currently protected by a 19th century portico that, although difficult to contemplate, has facilitated its conservation. The portal has three archivolts with varied sculptural decoration. In the first archivolt, in radial arrangement, the twenty-four Elders of the Apocalypse appear playing musical instruments. In the middle, biblical scenes with passages from the Childhood of Christ , interspersed with others of a more profane nature. The last archivolt presents a fine vegetal decoration based on acanthus leaves .
The portal is dominated by a superb sculptural tympanum. In the center, Christ in Majesty inside a great mandorla. Around him, the Tetramorphs in the form of angels holding the symbols of their corresponding animals. At the ends of the tympanum two large human figures, identified mostly as Ezekiel and Daniel. The archivolts rest on beautiful figurative capitals, four on each side.