Covarrubias

To get into Covarrubias is to immerse in the deepest history of Castile. Its location, on the banks of the Arlanza river and in the valley of the same name, has enabled its settlement since pre-Roman times. Even when its present look is later in time, in the Early Middle Ages Covarrubias acquired the identity that today distinguish it as one of the most charismatic villages within the province of Burgos. This is possible largely because it was an outpost in the Castilian forefront against the Caliphate, and also because of of its connection with the Castilian Count Fernán González (10th century).

Fernán González is one of the great figures, both historical and legendary, of Castilian history, closely bound to the origins of the at the time unborn kingdom of Castile. The relation of Fernán González with the village would be prolonged in its offspring. His son Garcí Fernández, founded in 972 the Infantado de Covarrubias.

According to scholars, as located in a strategic place between Burgos and Silos,  it is very likely that el Cid passed through Covarrubias and sighted the walls of the town from the Arlanzón river, as travelers use to do today.

Covarrubias is a medieval town of tourist and cultural interest. Both its historic buildings and its urban center of medieval origin are very evocative. We recommend to enter through the Arch of the Archive of the Advancement of Castile (16th century), Herrerian style.

From the Arch you get to the Plaza de dona Urraca, the center of the town. Very close is the Torreón de Fernán González, also called Doña Urraca's tower, from the 10th century. It is a surveillance and defensive tower in the banks of the Arlanza River. Its trunk-shaped silhouette and its imposing presence suggest what Covarrubias could have been an important outpost during the Early Middle Ages. In the inside you can see some Middle Ages siege engines.

Nearby is the ex Collegiate Church of San Cosme and San Damiano, a predominantly Gothic temple, dating from the 15th century, which is worth visiting, since there are many surprises deep inside: the cloister, the famous organ of Covarrubias (from the 17th century, still in operation),  the tomb of Fernán González,  or its parish museum, which has an important collection of pieces of sacred art, among which is the Tríptico de los Reyes Magos, (The Three Wise Men' Triptych)  a polychrome carving from the end of the 15th century or the beginning of the 16th century.

From the collegiate church the traveler can take the Paseo de la Solana, parallel to the riverside and the ancient walls, ordered to be demolished in the 16th century by the "divine" Vallés, the personal physician of king Felipe II, with the intention that wind cleaned the streets of the village devastated by the plague. From there you can go, crossing some streets and small squares, to the church of Santo Tomás, from the XV century, built on an earlier, Romanesque style. Some vestiges are still preserved in one of its naves and in the baptismal font, although its most striking allure is the choir staircase, plateresque style.

From Santo Tomás church, the traveler can return to the square of Doña Urraca, to recover their strength in one of the restaurants of the town, specialised in Castilian dishes: olla podrida (literally 'rotten pot', a tasty meat stew ), roast lamb and homemade desserts based on fruits and dairy products.

 

We suggest...
  • Stroll through its streets. The medieval reminiscences of Covarrubias are still visible in its urban layout, in the narrowing of its streets or in the small colonnade plazas, which served as a market and popular forum. Most of the buildings in the old town preserve their traditional construction style, based on adobe and half-timbered beams.
  • The former Colegiata is another of the great attractions of Covarrubias and without a doubt the Gothic art lovers will find many reasons for their visit, but if you are interested in the founding history of Castile, this is one of the places you can not miss, since inside lay the remains of Fernán González and some of his descendants. The sarcophagi are very simple and barely noticeable, but the interest does not depend on what the traveler sees, but on their ability to evoke.
  • The Monastery of San Pedro de Arlanza. 7 km from Covarrubias, along a winding road that plunges into the Sierra de las Mamblas, between dense forest of  junipers and oaks, lies the monastery of Arlanza, possibly founded at the end of the 9th century or the beginning of the 19th's under the protection of Fernán González's father. The ruined monastery  has obvious traces of its Romanesque plant, although Gothic and Herrerian styles prevail. This is one of the founding monasteries of Castile; its location in a very suggestive place into the wild and next to the river Arlanza, and its hundred-years-old history deserve this stop on the way.

Warning. This text has been translated with the help of automated translation software. It will be replaced by a professional human translation as soon as possible. We are sorry for the inconvenience.

Useful information

Rev. ALC: 23.07.18