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Gormaz

Tourism |  Additional Information |  Heritage |  Where to stay |  Where to eat |  What to do

This small stone and adobe village is full of history. El Cid was the warden of this plaza when in 1081 it was attacked by the Muslims. Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar retaliated and attacked nearby Muslim territories. Since he initiated this attack without permission of King Alfonso VI, he was banished for the first time of many. The 10th-century Caliphal castle and the San Miguel chapel are without a doubt the village’s main touristic attractions.

 

The citadel of Gormaz is the largest in all Europe. It is erected on a steep hilltop that, aside from giving it better protection, also helped to control the vast fields that surround it. It was built in the early years of the Reconquista over the ruins of an old Roman fort or Visigoth building. It was raided once and again by Muslims and Christians, which led to its restoration and enhancement. For instance, in 940, Abd-ar-Rahman III’s troops assassinated the Count of Gormaz and marched towards the castle where they set up camp without trying to attack it: it was unassailable.

 

It is without a doubt the greatest example of military architecture, not only in Soria, but in the entire Spanish territory. It was located on the border of Al Andalus and the Christian kingdoms, and already in the poem of El Cid, the castle is referred to as “Castiello tan Fourt” (“such a strong castle”).

 

In order to build it, they used oriental techniques that were used by the Aghlabids of Bagdad and others, which were far better than the techniques used by the Christians. The walled enclosure of about 1,200 metres long from east to west makes it the largest castle in Western Europe.

 

The citadel is separated into two distinct areas: to the east is the castle which is protected by strong walls and towers, and has an elbow-shaped entrance, and towards the west is the courtyard with architectonical remains, one of which is a large domed water pool.

 

A total of twenty-eight towers strengthen the perimeter, and in order to access it, one would have to go through the two magnificent Caliphal gates and the two secondary gates (Portonas) that can still be seen today.

 

It was rebuilt by Caliph al-Haken II between 956 and 966, and in 975 it was raided by Ramiro III of Leon and went on to being under Christian control, Lordship of El Cid, the Bishop of Osma and the Marquises of Camarasa.

 

From this point, you can see spectacular views of the Castilian plains and the Douro River. This landscape helps us see the strategical importance this castle and the Douro River had during the 10th and 11th century.

 

Some documents suggest that the chapel of San Miguel was built in the 11th century, although others even go back to the 7th century during the Visigoth and Wamba reigns.

 

From the outside, you can see a simple semi-circular slate apse and a small door with three smooth pointed arches. Inside there are two smaller lateral apses that cannot be seen from the outside, a feature that also occurs in the church of Santos Mártires in Garray.

 

The most interesting aspect of this chapel is the presence of Romanesque paintings on the dome and the walls of the apse. Most of the scenes are religious although there are two images of knights battling. Experts have found various similarities with the paintings located in the chapel of San Baudelio in Berlanga, up to the point that they believe they were painted by the same artists between 1125 and 1132.

Tourist Map

View Tourist Map
View Tourist Map
Tourist Map
Citadel of Gormaz
Citadel of Gormaz
Citadel of Gormaz
Citadel of Gormaz
Chapel of San Miguel in Gormaz
Chapel of San Miguel in Gormaz
View from the Citadel of Gormaz
View from the Citadel of Gormaz
Chapel of San Miguel in Gormaz
Chapel of San Miguel in Gormaz
Church in Gormaz
Church in Gormaz

Diputación de Soria (Desarrollo Económico y Turismo)

C/ Caballeros, 17 - 42002 Soria

Tfno. 975 220 511 Fax 975 231 635

turismo@dipsoria.es