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San Esteban de Gormaz

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San Esteban de Gormaz welcomes visitors with the humid aroma of the Douro riverbanks. It is no mystery why this town is declared a Historic-Artistic Ensemble; just walking through its streets lined by defensive walls makes you feel like you’ve travelled back to the Middle Ages.

 

The fortress played a strategical role in the tug-of-war between Muslims and Christians, making this place the cradle of the Sorian Romanesque style.

 

On the hillside where San Esteban is located, there are many cave engravings in Cueva de las Salinas, which are some examples of the Celtiberian and Roman presence in the area. Among them, about thirty are Latin inscriptions, and there are three fragments of an imperial military operation.

 

Being the battlefield where Muslims and Christians fought, it became Puerta de Castilla, that is, the border between the Caliphate and Castile, dominated by two castles and a walled fortress. This was much before El Cid was exiled and crossed Sorian lands, and at that same time, in the 11th century, after many years of blood and battles, the Christians occupied this town that was under Muslim domain. From this point on, Christian buildings began to be built, mostly of Romanesque style: the church of San Miguel, an architectonical masterpiece, and the church of Santa María del Rivero.

 

The church of San Miguel is the oldest Sorian Romanesque church that still stands today, and is one of the monuments with the most amount of Muslim architectonical features. According to an inscription in the gallery, it was built in 1081 and we can say that it is the prototype of churches with a porticoed gallery, and, possibly, the first Romanesque porticoed gallery that has been recorded.

 

The gallery has many arches that are set on columns with exotically decorated capitals. On them, there are many characters with kaftans and turbans in various scenes. The stonework details are quite rough, but still captivating: a feature that extends to the cantilevers that hold the cornice up.

 

The church of Nuestra Señora del Rivero was built in the 12th century over the ruins of a previous temple, either replacing it entirely or possibly extending it, that was located on a hillock that dominates Ribera del Duero. A sepulchral arch sheltered by a Plateresque arch was added to the gallery in the 16th century, and this porticoed gallery is formed by nine rounded archways placed on top of simple and robust columns. What stands out in the apse is the image of Virgen del Romero, the patron saint of the town and the local Concord formed by other twenty-three villages.

 

The castle of San Esteban de Gormaz is one of the key castles that changed ruler once and again during the 10th and 11th century when it finally came under Christian domain. During the reign of King García I, king of Leon, it was reinforced giving place to a repopulation of the town. From there, soldiers would control transit through the Douro River and they would guard the bridge that passed over this river. Nowadays, what is left of the castle is a large wall that is about two metres thick. The castle was built with ashlar stonework, possibly of Roman origin.

 

The Romanesque Centre (Parque Temático Romántico) first opened its doors in 2005 and there we can see ten scale models of Romanesque buildings. Thanks to these models we can learn the best-kept secrets of the Leonese Castilian Romanesque style. Some of these buildings are the church of San Juan de Rabanera in Soria, the cloister in the monastery of Santo Domingo de Silos in Burgos, the basilica of San Vicente in Ávila, the church of San Millán in Segovia, the church La Antigua in Valladolid, the church San Marcos in Salamanca, the church San Tirso de Sahagún in Leon, the collegiate of Santa Maria in Zamora and the church of San Martín de Frómista in Palencia.

 

The Ecomuseum Molino de Los Ojos is located in a unique natural space that stands out for its environmental importance. The original building was built in 1784 in a space surrounded by century-old poplar trees, as well as willow, maple and horse chestnut trees. In the area, there are also many springs that bubble constantly. If you look up, you may see goldfinches, mockingbirds and other species, and in the river, there is a great population of signal crayfish, trout and grass frogs that fill the Douro River with life. All this makes this space a must for any nature lovers, or even for people interested in lost trades such as millers.

Tourist Map

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Tourist Map
San Esteban de Gormaz
San Esteban de Gormaz
Streets of San Esteban de Gormaz
Streets of San Esteban de Gormaz
Church of San Miguel in San Esteban de Gormaz
Church of San Miguel in San Esteban de Gormaz
Church of Virgen del Rivero San Esteban
Church of Virgen del Rivero San Esteban
Castle of San Esteban de Gormaz
Castle of San Esteban de Gormaz
Molino de Los Ojos San Esteban de Gormaz
Molino de Los Ojos San Esteban de Gormaz
Douro riverbanks and medieval bridge in San Esteban de Gormaz
Douro riverbanks and medieval bridge in San Esteban de Gormaz

Diputación de Soria (Desarrollo Económico y Turismo)

C/ Caballeros, 17 - 42002 Soria

Tfno. 975 220 511 Fax 975 231 635

turismo@dipsoria.es