17 - 18
A wall of mountains closes the southwest of Soria. These lands are beautiful and changing, between crop farms and pastures for sheep, lands of endless horizons, with a thousand and one shades that articulate the vast space and shape every detail.
The limestone goes with the visitors through the southern landscapes, adding a large palette of red tones. The cavities of the walls have been used to keep cattle for ages, to have beehives or build dovecotes, as in Cuevas de Ayllon.
The villages are small and are steeped in history. Located in the hollows, they extend over watercourses, protected from the cold north wind by the mountains. The value of its monuments is incalculable, which can be seen in the Romanesque church of Ligos.
The dovecotes are part of the traditional heritage of this area. Its climate and terrain forced people to take advantage of the few resources they had at hand. The pigeon, as we shall see, were fundamental. In the picture, Noviales.
Blacksmiths provided to the inhabitants all they need for working crop farms and for livestock. Their figures were as important as that of the doctor, even though they seemed to be less important. Some of the furnaces have been preserved and restored, like this one of Noviales.
We talked about red limestone and Los Callejones are one of its most beautiful expressions. Occupied by vultures, the walls follow some sections of the emblematic river Pedro, a course that has quenched the thirst of some southern villages from Celtic and Roman times.
Following the road of Los Callejones towards the south, the visitor can reach la Sierra de Pela, under which lies the small village of Pedro, which hides a delicious Romanesque chapel with Hispano-Visigoth elements, declared of Cultural Interest.
There are people that profoundly influence the conservation of the villages of Soria and Emy and Felipe have been the architects of that is possible in Pedro. Unfortunately, he is not with us today, but we are sure the South wasn't able to forget him, neither we.
Pedro river flows in El Manadero, at the foot of the Sierra. The place has been prepared for visitors to stop and enjoy it. The water, that supplies several villages like formerly, crosses Pedro and gives life to the environment, favoring biodiversity.
In the same village, close to a mill, Pedro river flings its waters down and causes beautiful corners. And not only this river beautitfies, because there are a few springs that sprout in the village and increase the attractive surroundings.
There are eleven villages in the municipality of Montejo de Tiermes, including Pedro. Montejo, the center of the zone, has red stone houses, a church of Romanesque origins, renewed in Gothic and Renaissance epochs, and a tower in the center.
The most prominent place is Tiermes, an archeological site, Celtiberian and Roman, inhabited for 30 centuries and crowned by the Romanesque chapel of the Virgin of Tiermes. Nearby, there is a charming rural hotel with an excellent restaurant.
The capitals and the corbels of the apse of Tiermes church are just part of the interesting legacy of the hermitage. The archeologists believe there was a Roman temple in ancient times and a monastery in medieval. Termes was abandoned in sixteenth century.
The town of Termes, or Termantia, is rock. It keeps streets and houses carved into the limestone, and a castellum aquae, a grandstand, an aqueduct that carried water from the river Pedro, pipes, baths, public areas and all that remains to come to light!
The vegetation is adapted to soil and climatic conditions. Ilexes, juniper, juniper sabina, hawthorn, furze, savory, marjoram, lavender and riparian vegetation dot the South and allow a great biodiversity, including mushrooms and truffles. In the picture, Hoz de Arriba.
From the village of Tarancueña, Caracena river (or Adante) makes its way through an impressive canyon, wonderful for walking. It ends at Caracena, a place rooted in the Middle Ages, that keeps a castle for the one El Cid went on with death and fire
The road from Valderromán to Caracena is recently. But, it doesn't cross near the castle, as the track before. You must see the medieval village of Caracena and the Romanesque church of San Pedro in front. Caracena keeps another temple, a justice roll... and a good inn!
We leave this first part near Retortillo, taking a look at the Sierra de Pela. In its hollows, you can find Castro, Valvenedizo, Losana and Peralejo de los Escuderos, each more red and beautiful. Be careful with the roe deer, which multiply by 10 the number of inhabitants.
Images: Esther de Aragón