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Old January 2nd, 2013, 04:17 PM   #1
buho
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Soria, the most uninhabited region in Spain



The province of Soria is located at the north of Spain, in the Castilla y León community. It's in nobody's land, practically uninhabited, a big wasteland, but full of history, landscapes and art. A song dedicated to Soria.



It's the most uninhabited region of Spain, with 95.000 inhabitantes, and just 3 villages with more than 5.000 people: Soria (the capital city), Almazán and Burgo de Osma. The population density is just 9 per km2... the average of Spain is 93, and the european is 70. If Soria was an independent country, would be the 20º most uninhabited... But it's growing, just 10 years ago it was its population floor, with jus 90.000 people.

The landscape of Soria is one of the reasons some movies were filmed here, like Doctor Zhivago, as ir was the russian steppe and Siberia. The Moncayo mountain.



Pinares region (northwest of Soria).


http://personales.ya.com/asoafsoria/.../imagenes4.htm

It has always been a waypoint, a cultural interchange zone, the most moorish zone of the northern Spain in the middle ages, a mozarabic focus, the river Duero frontier...



The modern symbol of Soria, a celtiberic metal piece found in Numancia.



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Old January 2nd, 2013, 04:54 PM   #2
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I'll start the travel with an exceptional place, unique in Europe.... A giant fortress made in the 9th and 10th century by the caliphate of Córdoba, in the middle ages it defended the line of the Duero river and retarded the conquer of the christians for more than 100 years.



A pic made from a close village, called Recuerda ("Recuerda" means "Remember").

image hosted on flickr

Fortaleza Califal de Gormaz por julian-oa, en Flickr

It's big, really big. It's an "alcazaba" (an arabic origin word) with more than 1.200 metres of perimeter, 28 square towers, 446 metres in the long part. Just a little smaller than the castle of Prague... and 500 years older. Aereal pic from sorianitelaimaginas.com



The front part, with the main gate.



The main gate is composed by a double horseshoe arch built in the year 956.



At the foot of the mountain, there is a little christian hermitage.



The hermitage of St Miguel of Gormaz, built after the christian conquer, at the late 11th century.



The romanesque is the common architecture style in Europe... not in this case. It's a mozarabic architecture. The mozarabics were christians living in muslim territory of al-Andalus, and they adapted arabic shapes in christian buildings.



The main gate, 12th century romanesque, but brought from a ruined church, not the original.



And this entry with a horseshoe arch, is a direct door to the baptism pool... the gate of converse muslims, for sure.



In a recent restoration they discovered wall paintings made in 1125-1139.



North wall, with scenes of the life of Christ and a medieval battle.







In the south wall, the most interesting part is the representation of hell.



A snake eats the people condemned to hell and makes a circle with more devils inside.



St Michael is weighing the souls, and the devil tries to cheat.



A devil with chains chasing a man.



The apse with a pantocrator.





The Holy Soul with the shape of a pigeon, and over it the Agnus Dei, the lamb that symbolizes Jesuschrist.



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Old January 2nd, 2013, 10:39 PM   #3
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Let's go the alcazaba.





It dominates all the lands in a lot of kms around. In the year 975 a 60.000 christians army attacked the castle and it resisted, commanded by Galib.



In the eastern part, there is the alcázar, another arabic word, it's a castle inside the castle, the place where the governor lived.



Elbow gate.



From the alcázar, to the other side. 30.000 soldiers could camp here.



Little caliphale arch inside of the alcázar.





Ancha es Castilla... "Castilla is wide", a typical sentence here. Almanzor was a moorish army leader and made quick raids into christian territory, and he had his headquarters in here in 978-1002.





The alcázar, with his own well and two towers. The castle definitively became christian at year 1060, and his most famous owner was El Cid in 1087.



The little Gormaz village, only 22 people living here.







Another horseshoe arch inside the fortress.



And the main gate, seen from the inside. And behind the arch, me



Ruins of an aljibe, another arabic word in actual spanish, it's a water cistern.



The horseshoe arch, with the alfiz, it's a frame around the arch.













Panoramics.



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Old January 3rd, 2013, 02:09 AM   #4
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Thank you for creating this thread. I had never heard of this region, but the emptiness, the history and the nice landscapes (I saw the film doctor Zhivago ) make it very interesting. I have subscribed so I won't miss new updates.
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Old January 3rd, 2013, 12:54 PM   #5
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Thanks Wapper!
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Old January 3rd, 2013, 01:32 PM   #6
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Going by the road I suddelnly saw the name of a village that called my attention. It's called Andaluz, the name of people who live in the sunny Andalucía, 600 km away going south. It was a village founded by mozarabics, christians who lived in al-Andalus and escaped in the 10th century to the north.



Ey, the fountain really looks andalusian...







In the village live 24 people. The San Miguel church, built in 1114.





Romanesque porch, it's typical in Soria and Segovia provinces, and unique in European romanesque.



It was a meeting point for the neighbours.



The capitals of the porch, "the Lord of the Beasts" here.



The others have natural elements.





The facade.





Some capitals were recovered in 1992, they belonged to another porch at the other side of the church.



A centaur shooting an arrow, it represents Sagitarius.



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Iglesia de San Miguel. Andaluz (Soria) por Paula ---, en Flickr

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Iglesia de San Miguel. Andaluz (Soria) por Paula ---, en Flickr

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Iglesia de San Miguel. Andaluz (Soria) por Paula ---, en Flickr

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Iglesia de San Miguel. Andaluz (Soria) por Paula ---, en Flickr

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Iglesia de San Miguel. Andaluz (Soria) por Paula ---, en Flickr

Baptismal font.

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Iglesia de San Miguel. Andaluz (Soria) por Paula ---, en Flickr

Medieval bridge over Duero river.


Foto de Rowanwindwhistler, de Wikipedia -> http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Fi...ectangular.jpg
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Old January 3rd, 2013, 02:06 PM   #7
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Interesting pictures and region! I like the vastness of the landscape a lot, along with the medieval heritage you show us. Looking forward to new updates!
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Old January 3rd, 2013, 02:56 PM   #8
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Great thread. Love the emptiness dominated by the castle.
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Old January 3rd, 2013, 04:19 PM   #9
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Thanks guys!
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Old January 3rd, 2013, 04:30 PM   #10
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Berlanga de Duero is one of the biggest villages in Soria, although it's just 840 inhabitants... 60 years ago it was 2.500 people, that's the rural exodus, thousands of persons abbandoned the countryside and went to the big cities.



View of the village from the road, the walls and the castle.







15th century castle, built over an older 12th century castle.





A better pic, by Rowanwindwhistler, from Wikipedia.



Inside the village, a "rollo de justicia", a monolith that symbolizes the juridic independence of the village. It was made in the late 15th century.





Four lions pointing the four cardinal points.



Aguilera gate, main entry to the village.







Porch street.



The castle can be seen almost from every place in the village.





Sta María church, made at the early 16th century.







Inside.

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Berlanga de Duero ( Soria ) Colegiata de Nª Sra. del Mercado por J.S.C., en Flickr

The most curious element is the "lagarto", lizard, a caiman brought from América almost 5 centuries ago by fray Tomás de Berlanga.

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Berlanga de Duero por Sergio Pérez Pérez, en Flickr
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Old January 3rd, 2013, 07:48 PM   #11
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Interesting stuff!
One region in Spain I have never heard of.
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Old January 3rd, 2013, 10:28 PM   #12
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Thanks pumpikatze!

Going to the castle.



At left, an early 20th century house, then the tower of the castle and the facade of the palace of Berlanga marquis.



This is the facade, the only remaining part of the palace. It was built in the 16thh century, with a tower in each side of the facade. It was destroyed by the french army in the spanish independence war (1808-1812).



And this is fray Tomás de Berlanga (1487-1551), who was bishop of Panamá, and was the man who discovered the Galapagos islands. That's the reason there is a turtle in the sculpture.



At right, a crocodile, just like the one he brought from América and it's hung in the church.



Nobiliary armcoat.





Time to get back, by the same street of the house in red.





The little renaissance palace of the Bravo de Laguna family.



Early 16th century.



It's obvious the renaissance arrived, but it's not Michellangelo... Rural renaissance, we could say.





Traditional house.





Old "aldaba", another arabic word in spanish language to say "knocker".



And we say goodbye to Berlanga crossing the same medieval gate.



Bonus track, a romanesque tympanum, the only remaining part of an old convent.

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Convento de la Concepción. Berlanga de Duero (Soria) por Paula ---, en Flickr

Last edited by buho; January 3rd, 2013 at 10:34 PM.
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Old January 4th, 2013, 01:30 PM   #13
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Just 8km away from Berlanga de Duero and 25 far from the Gormaz alcazaba, there is a littlge big hermitage, San Baudelio de Berlanga. It's in the village of Casillas de Berlanga, just 7 inhabintants living there.



So it's part of a bigger village, Caltójar. 77 inhabitants in total. The village of Caltójar, pic by Domènec Leal, from Wikipedia.



The hermitage.



It's really small, just 80 m2 inside.





It was built around 1075, and is really important due to several things: the strange plant, the wall paintings... The horseshoe arch of the entry.



In the middle of the church, a big column, a palm tree in fact.





This is the plant, with the palm tree in the middle, at right a little space with columns known as the "mezquitilla", "the little mosque" with the access to a cave. And the apse looks to west instead of east.



San Baudelio is commonly known as "the sixtine chapel of mozarabic art". It's covered by wall paintings made in 1129. Well, it was covered, because they were stripped in 1925 and sold to an american collector.



So we can see the footprint of the paintings. At left the elephant, at right a bear.





The haunting of rabbits.



The horseshoe arch of the apse.



The apse inside.



Ibis birds.



The best place to make a pic of the hermitage, is inside the apse. At left some stairs, going up the choir. Unfortunately, it's forbidden to go up.









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Old January 4th, 2013, 05:58 PM   #14
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In the archs of the little mosque, there is one of my favourite paintings, the dromedary.



And the little mosque, with 8 columns forms an interesting space that in fact remembers a mosque.







A dog.



One of the palm tree nerves, pure geometry and color, it looks really vanguardist.



At right of the apse, it's the only one wall painting still in situ in the hermitage.



In 1925 the ignorance and hunger of the neighbours, and the money and ambition of the big american fortunes, combined and the wall paintings went to the big american museums. Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Boston, and the cloisters museum of New York now host the paintings.



Original disposition of the paintings.



The marriage at Cana, nowadays in Cincinnati.



Christ getting into Jerusalen.



Falconery in the middle ages.



The dromedary is in New York. The medieval painter had already seen dromedaries, not the same case with the elephant or the bear...



In NY too, Christ healing a blind man, and giving back the life to Lazarus.



The devil temptating Jesus, in NY.



The last supper, in Boston.



In the 50's, the spanish government changed some of the San Baudelio paintings in exchange for a romanesque church from Segovia. They are now in the Prado museum, Madrid. The bear, it seems there were no bears in Soria...



The same with the elephant. The painter was told they had a very big nose, but nobody advised him about the ears!



The haunting of rabbits, the haunting of a deer, the warrior and a geometric panel, also in the Prado museum.









Finally, a hidden dome over the palm tree, with califal style, copying Córdoba mosque models.

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Old January 4th, 2013, 09:20 PM   #15
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Nice place, amazing murals.thanks for the pics .
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Old January 5th, 2013, 11:37 AM   #16
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Thanks to you!
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Old January 5th, 2013, 12:43 PM   #17
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Great, very nice photos from this region of Spain
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Old January 5th, 2013, 07:50 PM   #18
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Thanks Christos!

San Esteban de Gormaz is one of the biggest villages in the province, with 2.500 inhabitants. Also one of the most historical places, an important spot in the Cid's route.



The village with the castle on the mountain. Pic by sobreturismo.es







Just ruins nowadays.



The village in fact isn't beautiful... most of the buildings are modern. The main square and some nobiliary houses.









Medieval bridges over river Duero.





Gothic arch.



And a very important fact in San Esteban are the wine and the wine cellars. They are trying to recover all the traditional wine cellars, most houses of the village have each one, and there are more than 280 cataloged. Pic by rutadelvinoriberadelduero. es

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Old January 5th, 2013, 07:57 PM   #19
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The most important monuments in San Esteban de Gormaz, are the two romanesque churchs. This is the Nuestra Señora del Rivero, 12th century.



The apse.



And the porch, like in every good romanesque church of Soria.





The main gate.



The capitals, at left a musician with beard, at left a fight of birds.



The other side, something similar to an ape, an a looping snake.







A mermaid with two tails. Pic by GFreihalter, from Wikipedia.





In the window of the apse, the flight into Egypt, with the virgin sat on a horse, with a baby. Pic by Rowanwindwhistler, from Wikipedia.



One of the capitals, two women dressed with moorish style.



And the other church is San Miguel, even more important because it was built in 1070, so it's the oldest romanesque building in Soria province, and the gallery is dated in 1081, so it's the first romanesque porch ever built.





Capitals.



A warrior with the sword.



A man has a turban on the head, and an animal bites his hand.



The facade.



Finally, a pic of the apse and the tower. Pic by José Luis Filpo Cabana, from Wikipedia.

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Old January 5th, 2013, 08:40 PM   #20
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Very Very interesting!
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