Villa Serrana located on the northern slope of the Sierra de Ayllón, 1.190 m altitude.
The highest peaks that elevate it are: the Pico del Lobo (2.273 m) and La Buitrera (2.046 m). In the port of La Quesera, in the heart of the beech forest of La Pedrosa, rises the Riaza River, which runs approximately one hundred kilometers until it empties into the Duero, near Roa (Burgos).
The origins of Riaza go back to the Castilian occupation of the lands located between the Douro River and the Central System to avoid the Muslim advance, which takes place at the end of the s. XI after the conquest of Toledo (1085). In the following decades, the mountain area of Riaza will be reorganized ecclesiastically and politically. Romanesque churches were built in all the villages and new Villa and Land Communities were formed to organize the territory, favoring the populations that lived here and attracting new settlers, which increased the livestock and forest use of the mountains.
In the 1139 year, King Alfonso VII separated Riaza from the community of Villa and Tierra de Fresno in Cantespino, of which he was a part. Known at that time as "Aldeaherreros", it was donated along with its territory to the lordship of the Bishop of Segovia, being Villa Episcopal until 1430 where it became part of the domains of the Constable of Castile, Don Álvaro de Luna. The first document that attests to the existence of Riaza (from Rio aça) dates from 1235. It refers to the investigation made by Gonzalo Abad, mayor of King Ferdinand III, on the grounds of disputes between the councils of Sepúlveda and Fresno de Cantespino over issues of mountains and pastures. The Señorío de Riaza belonged to the Dukes of Maqueda from the s. XVI until the 6 of August of 1811, date in which the Cadiz Courts abolished the manors, incorporating them into the Nation.
It is divided into two parts by the City Hall building. Its current appearance dates from 1873, when a ring is built in the shape of an ellipse, in whose center it was placed, until the beginning of the 20th century. XIX, the "roll" or "pillory" where they exposed to shame the heads of prisoners or executed. Towards 1850, a cast iron lamppost with a stone base was installed, which illuminated the Riazana nights until it disappeared in the 60 years of the 19th century. XX. The arena is surrounded in its southern and western parts by stone steps that save the existing slope.
These steps are crowned by a balustrade of the same material, joined by wrought iron rails in Riaza. The arcade area houses a series of manor houses, mostly built in the s. XIX In the surroundings of the Plaza Mayor we can see different houses with emblazoned facades - highlights a house emblazoned s. XVI, which keeps in perfect condition its coat of arms and a Baroque chapel-, as well as typical houses, rectangular, two floors and perched or over. Its walls are of lime and ridge and its roofs descend to two waters with the particular way of putting the tiles with the concave part upwards.
Monumental building of civil work, its construction dates from the s. XVIII and its location responds to the needs of reducing the size of the existing large plaza at that time. Of three floors, plus an under cover, it is necessary to mention the construction that crowns the building: the bell tower (where the clock is, acquired in Madrid) made in wrought iron and installed in the year 1895.
On the façade, the town's coat of arms stands to the left of the building and, on the right, the space where the nobleman's shield of the Riaza was in the 15th century. XVIII, made disappear after the abolition of the noble nobility. The building housed the Cárcel de la Villa on the ground floor, but was rebuilt inside 1995. Behind the Town Hall is the smaller portion of Plaza Mayor, where the parish church of the Villa is located.
Church of Our Lady of the Mantle
The church we see today was built in the s. XIX on the ruins of a previous medieval church, of which the apse, the sacristy, the Chapel of the Sweet Name and the Chapel of the Hidalgos are conserved. The solid and strong bell-tower, originally, was exempt from the building of the medieval church and was built in the s. XV, as a noble tower and symbol of the power that the Lord and his family had over the Villa. The bell tower was finished in its current appearance in 1590, being crowned with a stone balustrade and flameros that confer greater slenderness. In 1793, the medieval church was ruinous and the decision is made to build the current church in neoclassical style, this is the reason for its austere decoration. The construction of the new church, will be extended between 1803 and 1826 and the project will integrate in a single building, all the architectural structures of the medieval church that were not demolished. The current building has a rectangular floor and a transept; divided into three naves, the plant is taller and wider than the lateral ones. The set is topped by a polygonal apse.
Inside, we will highlight:
- Altarpiece of the main altar (17th century), brought to the church in 1823 from the Monastery of Armedilla in Cogeces del Monte (Valladolid), with canvases attributed to the master Diego Valentín Díaz, representing scenes from the life of Saint Jerome.
- Crucified Christ (possibly from the 15th century), in the Chapel of the Sweet Name.
- Pieta (16th or 17th century), in polychrome wood, presides over the Chapel of the Lineages or of the Hidalgos.
- Sacred Art Collection
- Inside the church stands an art exhibit that includes part of the parish heritage of Alquité, Madriguera, Riaza, Riofrío de Riaza, Sequera de Fresno, Serracín and Villacorta among other locations.
Located in the sotocoro and in part of the torrecampanario, it consists of three rooms articulated around three themes:
Romanesque and Gothic sculpture. In her we emphasize the presence of the original image of Ntra. Mrs. of the Mantle, of s. XIII.
Renaissance and baroque art. It houses several sculptures among which stand out the Virgin of the Good Milk s. XVI. San José with the Child and the Immaculate Conception, of the s. XVIII and XVII respectively.
It should also be noted the sizes of San Andrés and San Gregorio Ostiense, both closely related to the history of Riaza. San Gregorio is the patron of the City Council.
Spanish silverware and liturgical objects. In this room you can observe from a pelican s. XVII until a portaviáticos (from the church of San Pedro, in Alquité, XVII century) passing through a tenebrario of s. XVII.
Ermita de San Juan
Located to the north of the town and with a rectangular floor plan, it is adorned by a praderita with some trees that used to be an old churchyard. The whole is surrounded by a stone fence joined with cement and an iron fence. The stone cross located in the center of the meadow dates from 1553. On the lintel of a window appears the date of 1783, when, as we believe, a restoration would be submitted to the temple. The tombstones seen under the porch - added in the 80 years of s. XX, moment of a later restoration- refer to the old cemetery. It hosts various processional steps of Holy Week, as well as a beautiful carving of Saint James the Apostle and Saint John the Baptist.
Hermitage of San Roque
It was built after the plague epidemic that devastated the country in the 1599 year as a one vote fulfillment. It has a rectangular floor plan. In its exterior, a shield of the Villa recalls the important economic contribution granted by the City Council for its construction. It was restored in the 80 years of the s. XX, adding a porch to the entrance subject by stone columns. It houses the sizes of San Roque, San Isidro, San Cristóbal, San Sebastián and of Santos Cornelio and Cipriano.
It is located at 4,5 km from Riaza following the road that goes to Santibáñez de Ayllón. It rises to 1.400 m of altitude, in Mata Serrana, in the middle of a forest of Pyrenean oaks and a pine forest of repopulation.
The present hermitage rises where once the church of the village of Hontanares rose, but this place was depopulated and all its term was acquired by the Riaza Council at the beginning of the s. XV The current construction dates from 1606 and was funded thanks to the funds from the parishioners' alms. In its interior it is possible to emphasize the greater altarpiece of baroque style, presided over by Ntra. Mrs. of Hontanares, and the beautiful images of Santa Lucia and San Blas. Next to the chapel there is a hostel.
Viewpoint of Peñas Llanas
The Balcony of Castilla
It is reached following the road that runs behind the chapel. It is located at a height of 1.440 m, presiding over the Segovian plain.
Owner of privileged views, from this place you can see the limits with four provinces:
- Montejo de la Vega de la Serrezuela, border with Burgos.
- El Pico de Grado, border with Guadalajara.
- Somosierra, border with Madrid.
- On clear days, the Picos de Urbión and El Moncallo, in the province of Soria.
From the Mirador car park you can take the road that leads to the Tres Gotas fountains.
Following the road SG-V-1111 that goes from Riaza to Santibánez de Ayllón, we will find the eight nuclei that make up this route nestled in the heart of the Sierra de Ayllón.
In these districts appears the yellow (and white) color of the quartzites that are used in the construction of its walls and that, in some cases, are combined with other materials present in the area.
His name is of Arabic origin, being cited for the first time in 1123 as Alchité. Already in the s. XVIII changes its name to Alquité. It is a population settled at 1.280 m on a hillside on which rises the church of San Pedro, whose most remarkable point is the Romanesque portico and its three magnificent archivolts.
Martín Muñoz de Ayllón
It had slate quarries that were used for the roof of the La Granja Palace and for the floor of the Cathedral of Segovia. Stresses the church of San Martin de Tours, patron of the place.
In certain locations of the Sierra de Ayllón appears a red substrate rich in ferric compounds. The constructions, then, are made from red earth, the color of the clays and the surrounding sands.
Population raised to 1.092 m of altitude, in its center is the church of Santa Catalina. In the surroundings of the town there are two pigeon houses, a bridge of s. XVI that crosses the river Vadillo, a restored mill and the hermitage of San Roque.
With an altitude of 1.138 m, it was an active commercial and service center of the area. It disposed of City Hall, casino, pharmacy. Its church dedicated to San Pedro, with its bulrush, is in keeping with its period of splendor, in which it came to have 750 inhabitants. It conserves precious wooden balconies. In its surroundings there is an old mine of kaolin and a source of ferruginous waters.
These villages of the Sierra de Ayllón have a unique and rich black architecture that they owe to the slate used in their constructions.
We have references of its existence since the year 1587. Stresses the church of the Holy Martyrs (San Cornelio and San Cipriano) that retains a Gothic processional cross of the so-called "de gajos" by the shape of the arms that imitate tree trunks.
It is located at 1.241 m altitude. Of the urban set it emphasizes the church of Ntra. Mrs. of the Asunción, of Romanesque style with later additions. It has a semicircular apse very well preserved, with beautiful corbels on the cornice and a major altarpiece in Renaissance style with beautifully painted boards. In its surroundings there were mines of iron and ampelita (a type of very soft slate) and an important tejera in which there are yew, rowan and ash.
It is built on the slope of Mount Pizarral, at an altitude of 1.230 m. Only the bulrush remains from his Church of the Nativity. In the Mingohierro mountain there were two silver mines and one coal mine, as well as a slate mine in its surroundings.
The curious thing about this town is that the church of Vallehermoso (of Gothic origin, which highlights its beautiful Renaissance portico), is far from the nucleus and the hermitage of San Benito is inside the town.
The other neighborhoods of the town
Out of this route and which is accessed from the N-110 by the detour of Fresno de Cantespino, are:
Aldeanueva del Monte
It belonged to the Constable of Castile, Don Alvaro de Luna, later passing into the hands of the Count of Miranda. Its church, of baroque style, is dedicated to San Antonio. The hermitage of San Juan, is in the outskirts of the town.
Barahona of Fresno
It conserves some houses of adobe typical of this zone. The church of San Cristóbal stands out, in Romanesque style with later additions, with a semicircular apse in which stand the corbels of the cornice and the flared window.
Hayedo de la Pedrosa
Natural Space included in the Network of Natural Spaces of Castilla y León, located between the towns of Riofrío de Riaza (Segovia) and Majaelrayo (Guadalajara) on the northern slope of the Sierra de Ayllón, at a height of 1.430 m, with an extension of 87,175 has. Along with two other beech forests, Tejera Negra in the province of Guadalajara and Montejo de la Sierra in the province of Madrid, the beech forest of La Pedrosa, also called La Quesera or Riofrío de Riaza, is an example of what which was the humid and forested orchard of the Central System. One of the main attractions of this place is its beech, corpulent and voluminous forms. It is observed how the branches of these trees start from the same ground, which is explained because, for years, the trees were cut to feed raw material to a factory of beech chairs that until the middle of s. XX existed in the municipality of Riofrío de Riaza, sprouting from those stumps the branches that are seen today.
At the foot of the branches of this botanical relic, between ferns, mosses and lichens, the waters of the Riaza River sprout, which after traveling approximately 100 km flows into the Douro River, in the Burgos town of Roa de Duero. The chromatic variety of the landscape is surprising, since the habitat of the own beech forest is joined by the bare slopes of vegetation and quartzite upholstery that separates the beech from the oaks, which grow in lower levels of the mountain.
It should be noted that beech is normally a tree from more northern and humid regions, and the case of La Pedrosa beech is exceptional, since it is one of the most southern beech forests in the world and the one that grows the most to the south of all Europe. In spite of the great climatic contrasts that it has to endure (dry summers, few days of fog and low winter temperatures), this forest maintains its splendor and little by little it is regenerating and growing.
The majority of the beech trees that populate the forest are young, finding the oldest ones in the highest, steep and inaccessible area of the forest. Accompanying the beech, we find examples of oak, hazel, hunter's servants, holly trees, along with bushes of white heather, blueberries or wild strawberries, among others.
Ski and mountain resort
La Pinilla - Riaza Valley 365 days of sports and adventure
La Pinilla is recognized by lovers of winter sports as the best Central System ski resort for the variety, quality and length of its slopes.
Its artificial snow system with more than 184 production cannons enables the station to add the 70% of its tracks. Its modern facilities are capable of transporting more than 12.000 skiers per hour, being the only Central System station that has a gondola that gives access to the central core of the station. La Pinilla, thanks to its privileged geographical location, offers its facilities and skiable domain to several million people less than an hour's drive away and is located one hour from the main airport of Madrid-Barajas.
In its process of modernization and improvement of customer service has the following developments: enabling a specific area of Customer Service, creation of a Snow Garden designed for children from 3 to 7 years, start-up of the Ski School and Montaña La Pinilla and construction of La Pinilla Hostel and Hostel, located at the foot of the slopes and with capacity for 50 people.
In the summer and multi-adventure section the facilities of the station have a wide range of sports and activities very attractive to all public: zip wire, Tibetan bridge, archery, climbing wall, mountain bike routes and as main attraction a Bike-Park permanent (pioneer in Spain) that has nine circuits of descents of different difficulty. If you do not have a bicycle, the station has a rental service so you can enjoy the most offered by Specialized. In its desire for improvement and growth, the station bets every year on the organization and implementation of various sporting events.
With all this, it makes the station one of the main destinations to take into account when it comes to wanting to enjoy nature and outdoor sports at any time of the year.
All those who want to take advantage of their stay in Riaza to practice their favorite sports, have to keep in mind the complete offer of the Ski Resort throughout the year as well as the privileged environment surrounding the Villa, ideal for hiking, biking of mountain, riding ... Also, you can make use of:
- A sports hall, with basketball courts, indoor soccer, tennis, etc.
- A spectacular municipal pediment to which a smaller one is attached, both located in the municipal park "El Rasero", in which there is also a large diaphanous surface.
Soccer field "Las Delicias"
Different slopes for rent (check availability and rates at Camping Riaza) paddle, tennis, football, as well as a gym circuit and the outdoor municipal pool, which offers the integrated sports area within Camping Bungalow Park Riaza
Other places of interest
Old laundry room, located opposite the hermitage of San Juan. It has two thick pipes of abundant water. In 1897 he underwent the last great reform.
It is located at the exit of the town, next to the SG-V-1111 road. It consists of a strong stone wall, with a small pipe and a pylon for the cattle. The last great work done in this source dates from 1879.
El Rasero Park
Located at the entrance of the Villa from the West, it is a large green area that is used as a recreational park. Formerly, this space was destined to be used as an eras where to carry out the tasks of threshing, besides having always been an area of recreation. We emphasize the 18 crosses of stone that, distributed by him, serve to make the Via Crucis on Good Friday mornings. The oldest one dates from the 1550 year and the most modern of today, when replacing another that was destroyed.
Riaza has masters of wood and restoration. There are also antique shops, crafts and two private exhibition rooms.
- San Blas: 3 for February.
- Santa Águeda: 5 for February.
- Cruz de Mayo: May 1. It is celebrated with popular dances in the Plaza Mayor.
- San Gregorio: 9 for May. That day there is popular cod stew.
- Month of June: Festival of the Shear that recalls the importance that the Mesta had and the transhumance in Riaza.
- Month of July: Rapid Painting International Contest "Villa de Riaza".
- Virgin of the Mantle: 8 of September. She is the patron saint of the Villa. It is celebrated with a Castilian mass sung and danced, popular dances and procession to the Virgin.
- Pilgrimage of Hontanares: first Sunday (Declared of Regional Tourist Interest) and second Sunday following the Virgin of the Mantle. All that week are the Patron Saint Festivities.
Roast lamb is the quintessential dish of the Villa. Lately the dishes made with mushrooms from the area are becoming more important. We also highlight its diverse traditional pastries (sponge cakes, shortbread, soplillos, cakes, amarguillos, etc.) as well as its rich honey.