Romanesque and wine nex to the River Duero in Soria

A new route is awaiting us. This time, through the western edge o ftheprovince of Soria, with the Duero river with us at the beginning and at the end o fthe journey and closeby all the time.

A 50 kilometers ride, full of art, history and tradition, and surrounded by very special landscapes

We are going to see the art represented in the Romanesque churches distributed along our route and very characteristic of this region.

In respect of history, there are traces present since Celtiberian times. But it is the era of the Reconquest, the one with more evidences, due to the continuous border fights between Muslims around this área and the relationship with the figure of El Cid Campeador.

The tradition will be marked, in a very important way, by the wine culture, so deep-rooted in this area of ​​the Ribera del Duero in Soria, and so well known for the excellent wines that are produced here. Cellars are located close to the different towns, giving them a very unique character.

The landscapes are very diverse. Flat areas and typical riverside vegetation give way to areas of hills with spectacular views. The so characteristic vineyards of this land, will alternate with cereal crops, fodder, sunflower, corn or even fruit trees, more common in this zone with the warmest temperatures in the province.

San Esteban de Gormaz

We start this route in San Esteban de Gormaz.

Next to the Duero river, and with about 2,400 inhabitants, it is the most important population and the head of the region. Declared as Historic-Artistic Site, San Esteban de Gormaz took on a very important place in the Reconquest, due to its border location between Muslims and Christians. After years of fights passing from one hand to another, El Cid Campeador definitely won it for Christians.

San Esteban de Gormaz, appears on numerous occasions in the Song of El Cid, in which it is mentioned as “a good city”, and highlights the measured and prudent character of its inhabitants.

The churches of El Rivero and San Miguel are two of the most important Romanesque temples in the province.

Riding the Calle Mayor and Plaza Mayor with their Aristocratic houses, arcades with their balconies and rounded columns and the Arco de la Villa, approaching the Duero and the medieval bridge; the climb to the castle and the hundred of cellars, or the area of ​​La Rambla next to the Duero up to the Molino de los Ojos, guarantee a really interesting visit.

Aldea de San Esteban

We find Aldea de San Esteban after 6 km mainly flat , moving slightly away from the Duero River. Here we will visit the area of cellars, drilling a hill in the east of the town.

A kilometer and a half to the west of the town, we can see a height with some antennas known as La Torre. According to the Song of El Cid, Doña Urraca Tower could have been located here. The Cid’s daughters  accompanied by their cousin Félez Muñoz used it as a refuge after the Corpes outrage.

Soto de San Esteban

We leave Aldea de San Esteban to the north, following the course of the Pedro River towards its mouth in the Douro River. We will turn left after 1.5 kilometres, and riding between irrigated areas and vineyards, parallel to the Ines Channel,  we reach the cellars of Soto de San Esteban.

We continue the route now to Miño de San Esteban. Our legs should be ready now to face the seven kilometres till there.  This section is mainly uphill, except the last part arriving to this town.

Miño de San Esteban

We will visit the Church of San Martín, a very good example of the Romanesque in this area, built in the 12th century. It´s most remarkeable elements are the arcaded gallery, the portico and the bell tower, which might have belonged to an earlier medieval fortress.

The capitals of the gallery are decorated with a  varied and carefully carved scenes. Also the cornice. I challenge you to find one specific, representing a couple in an erotic attitude. Curious to see this kind of sceenes being part of the decoration of a church.

Completing our tour to the rest of the town, we cannot miss the set of traditional cellars and winepress.

We are already heading to Fuentecambrón, towards the Camino del Llano. It´s just 5 km far. We can take the road, if we prefer, but the views are not the same.

We start going uphill, first between fields and bare hills, and later on, through a oak forest.                   

The views around here are spectacular in any direction.

Fuentecambrón

In Fuentecambrón we will stop to observe the área of dovecotes. Although the majority of them are in poor condition, they form a very interesting ethnographic set that hopefully someone would be decided to recover, as it has happened with the public laundry, on the other side of the road, just  under the cellar area.

We return shortly on our way, and then we head towards Peñalba de San Esteban, about 8 km far, through the hills of Fuentecambrón.

The first half of this track, alternates climbs with descents, and we reach the maximum elevation  of the route, about 1,050 m height.

The second half is all down next to the La Vega stream. Even by the same stream bed sometimes, so we must ride with caution in this area.

Peñalba de San Esteban

In Peñalba de San Esteban, the set of traditional cellars is also characteristic. At the exit of the town, direction to Madrid, we will find a great example of the circular dovecotes, typical of these lands. The church of Santa María La Mayor, built between the 15th and 16th centuries, on the left bank of the Pedro River, also has a beautiful arcaded gallery.

We continue now towards Atauta.

Atauta

After 4 km very affordable, between cereal fields and vineyards, we arrive at the site known as Bodegas del Plantío. It is a very unique architectural set, in which cellars, winepresses and dovecotes are placed and aligned as an independent town. Since March 2017, It has been formally recognised as property of cultural interest, with the category of Ethnological Complex.

We´re going now uphill to the town to enjoy incredible views of the cellars and vineyards with the mountains in the background.

The way back to San Esteban de Gormaz, is a comfortable descent where we can rest our legs and relax, which is highly appreciated.

The arrival in San Esteban de Gormaz, by the long bridge over the Duero river and with the old town just in front of us, is a beautiful gift.

We still have one last surprise to finish this route.

It is a nice and quiet ride along the Duero river, through the area of ​​La Rambla and up to the Romanesque Thematic Park and the wáter mil called Molino de los Ojos. By 6km more in total until the end of the route.

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