With backdrop of Sierra de Guadarrama, Pedraza breathes history of several centuries and is fortunate to be considered the best preserved not only in Segovia or Castilla y León medieval village, but also of Spain.
Pedraza promises you a journey in time with your scenario of heraldic mansions, arcaded square, Romanesque church and even his own Castle in which there was even inmates of Royal blood, Pedraza takes you back several centuries and never disappoints.
A little more than one hour and a half by car from Madrid, Pedraza offers a walk by the time where, of course there is much to see, but above all to feel and taste.
Pedraza is the best preserved Medieval town of all Spain and so much so that it was declared monuments in 1951.
Its cobblestone streets and emblazoned houses make up a medieval urban complex, in which it is essential to explore all its corners, from the door of the village to the other end of the population, crowned by the Castle, currently Zuloaga Museum.
Pedraza has a rich artistic patrimony, led by the remnants of several Romanesque churches rebuilt at different times of antiquity. Emphasizes its defensive part as the wall, the Puerta de la Villa, the Tower of the prison and the castle of the constables. The legacy of mansions and stately palaces built in the sixteenth century stands out for its magnificent State of conservation today.
In a rocky hill
The physical geography of the Pedraza municipality is characterized by its location in the foothills more southwestern of Somosierra, at the top of a hill of rock formation. Vadillo arroyo surrounds the villa bathing its surroundings. It is surrounded by small hills covered with junipers and sabinas. It is next to the territorial limits with the community of Madrid.
In Pedraza, the visitor can visit the Church of San Juan Bautista, Castle- Zuloaga Museum, the thematic Center of the Imperial Eagle and the prison de la Villa, located in the newly reconstructed Chapel of Nuestra Señora del Carrascal.
Landscape and habitats
Pedraza is located in one of the most intact landscapes of Castile, surrounded by junipers, Robles, Aleppo, Ash, sabinas and great variety of aromatic plants. There is the possibility of enjoying the Romanesque portico as the Hermitage of the Virgin of las Vegas in Requijada term or the Church of San Juan Bautista in Orejana. You can also tour key real cattle in Castilian transhumance (String of bunkers, Orejana Canada), and stroll along the banks of the river Cega where ancient flour mills are still, Today converted into modern residences, and vestiges of laundries and fulling mills of important wool industry of centuries. With calm and patience, it is possible to see Roe deer, Wildcats, wild boars, Eagles, storks, vultures, as well as countless species of small mammals, reptiles and birds.
What to visit
Pedraza has some places of interest to visitors, as the parish church of San Juan Bautista, the Hermitage of San Pedro, the Church of Santa Maria, the Church of Santo Domingo, It opens as Auditorium, the Puerta de la Villa, the Tower of the prison, the Castle-Museum Zuloaga, plaza Mayor, the House of the Imperial Eagle and the Tower of the Hontanillas. If we want to spend a day surrounded by nature we can approach to the places of the Vadillo arroyo, surrounded by junipers and sabinas, or close to the river Cega where us surprise you by the variety of colors and contrasts, especially in autumn time.
Door of the Villa and medieval prison
Pedraza, walled fully, only counted (and has) with a single entry, known as the door of the Villa, where the shield of Íñigo Fernández de Velasco highlights on his bow. Cars have access here to stay in the car park near the Castle. But good advice is to begin by this place and go walking, as citizens and visitors would for centuries, except for the night, When the door was closed until the next morning.
Much of the door of the town also served as a public prison. Once inside the people we see the door and stairs that climb to a curious visit. The room of prevention where kept shackled prisoners, as well as the dark cells have they been preserved perfectly until today. Without bars, because the doors were wooden that entered the light that the jailer wanted. Up to 15 people could share in a cell that did not have space even to lie down. Although the worst took it those convicted with crimes of blood, that you were thrown into dungeons from which only came with feet ahead. Feces and urine of prisoners above, as well as their own, They flooded stink of a black hole that is compactaba with mud and straw to clean it and sell it as fertilizer. It is said that when prepared for restoration, remains of bodies buried in the midst of already petrified human manure (Note practice: Visits to the public prison of Pedraza for weekends and public holidays from 11:30 to 14:00 hours and 15:45 to 19:30 h, individual price: 3€, workdays possibility of visits for groups on request, phone 921 50 99 55).
On the way to the Plaza Mayor by Calle Real
We leave aside the Matadero Street and penetrated by the narrowness of the Calle Real, that leads to the main square. In this way the pavement we realize the richness of facades and the value of the village of Pedraza measured altogether a harmonious urban. Few people in Spain have been preserved in the same manner its buildings. It is not surprising that many films have rolled in Pedraza, even filmed the great Orson Wells. More recently series have been recorded as Isabel, Eagle Red, Toledo or countless television commercials.
The flowers emerge from some barred windows to give some color to a robust set, even some sober. But it is the uniformity in every street, in each layout, which converts to Pedraza in a special place. Little has changed in the villa, except for the arrival of tourism, Of course, that for decades it has become all an economic bulwark to Pedraza and its inhabitants, knowing that it's one of the favorite trips of many Spaniards, mostly come from Madrid, those who are lost in its streets and barbecues any day of the week.
The Plaza Mayor of Pedraza: coats of arms and arcades
Nothing more start to see columns and arcades are aware that we are in the Plaza Mayor. Irregular plant, portico and a considerable amplitude, It hosts some of the mansions and most impressive mansions of the villa. We know it by their coats of arms and of the residences of Castilian noble houses of the time dimensions, as well as of those who benefited from the sheep in terms of exploitation and export marketing.
Many of these houses are now restaurants and steakhouses that feed (Well) visitors looking to enjoy good meat of the Earth, as well as the beans from La Granja, It prepares in Pedraza with an exceptional mastery. During good weather out the chairs to the plaza to become the best terrace outside of the region. There is no doubt that the site is wonderful.
The largest square of Pedraza is ready to host numerous festivals for centuries, above all of bullfighting character. As in not a few Castilian squares, the possibility of becoming a coso, is warned immediately.
In the corner, it governs the Romanesque Tower of San Juan Bautista, the most important temple in the town, reveals its double farmhouse. Its interior mixes other artistic concepts such as the Baroque, Although there are many elements that has its origin in the 13th century as the great baptismal. The image of the Virgin of the garrigue is the focus of devotion in Pedraza. In fact it is a Santa Patrona and is taken out in procession during the second week of September to begin a celebration that comes out best of the segovian folklore, including jacks.
The main street
We left the square and take the most emblematic street of Pedraza, the charming main street. Background the figure of a beautiful castle warns you. Flanked by facades of houses, restaurants, shops and inns make a path only 400 meters that are from the plaza to the fortress. This shell of not a few centuries-old is part of a friendly and photogenic walk where the US begins to roar the stomach with the smell that its chimneys.
The ruins of a ghostly appearance as Santa Maria Church, close to the Castle, they saw better times when it housed the religious ceremonies of the House of the Velasco, the Dukes of Frías. To one of the masses held in 1792 footballer King Carlos IV of Spain came. Today, There are hardly any remains and an imperfect Tower. Thus arises a land used for parking and, Finally, the icon of Pedraza, its great Castle.
The castle of Pedraza
We are opposite the doors of history. It is impossible not to admire an exterior Assembly whose origin is Muslim but which in the Middle Ages was rebuilt completely, especially under the hand of the Lords of the Velasco family, Dukes of Frías and constables of Castile since the end of the 15th century.
The castle of Pedraza hosted or, rather, retained several illustrious characters, as the sons of the King Francisco I of France, the great enemy of the powerful Emperor Carlos V. Being smaller they were exchanged by his father so this avoided jail. At the end, one of them died and later the little Enrique, surviving a hard bondage, reigned in France as Enrique II. Pedraza had an essential role in this child imprisonment that remained on tenterhooks to half of Europe, especially to France.
In 1926 the painter Ignacio Zuloaga purchased the Castle, who dealt with reforming it. Their descendants turned it into a museum that exhibited the works of the Basque artist. And so it was an opportunity to visit the facilities of a historic castle which is and will forever be the emblem of the town of Pedraza.
Note practice: The Castle-Zuloaga Museum is open from Wednesday to Sunday from 11:00 to 14:00 and 17:00 to 20:00 hours (in the winter of 16:00 to 18:00) to a general price of €6. Monday, Tuesday and holidays by appointment by calling 92 150 98 25 - 616 24 44 - 680 15 62 74).
The night of the candles
The first two Saturdays of the month of July are placed in the evening over 35.000 candles on the streets of Pedraza to be its unique lighting. On the night of the candles, that attracts more public every year, is not only beautifies the town but that are also given numerous cultural activities and concerts such as those held in front the Castle.
The village of Pedraza settled its culinary beginnings in stews and roasts of lamb for Showmen, and today has an almost magical fascination among hikers who officiate the ritual of ancient traders, but also among the most seasoned gourmet who like to combine new flavours in exquisite surroundings. This gastronomic offer, Pedraza sum the Pedraza climate is characterized as continental, with very cold winters and very hot summers. The daily thermal oscillation can be very pronounced
With evidence of prehistoric population and celtibéricos history, It is a fortified space that has an important artistic heritage and a beautiful legacy of era of domino Manor, currently outstanding for its magnificent State of conservation. The first name that is known of the Pedraza municipality was established by the Romans as Pretaria. At the beginning of the 10th century, it was known as Petraza and at the beginning of the 12th as Pedraça. It is the villa of a set of great artistic and monumental interest greatly outstanding Castle, currently the Zuloaga Museum, Prison, the medieval walls that surround the town, the Puerta de la Villa as the only access to the population and the churches of San Juan, Santa Maria, Santo Domingo and the Hermitage of Nuestra Señora del Carrascal, that today houses the thematic Center of the Imperial Eagle.
They say that Pedraza de la Sierra, so is your full name, are perfumes every day with the smoke of chimneys and slowly and artisanal preparation a good roast segovian suckling pig. Of course also lamb chops. This was always a land of cattle, mostly sheep. Indeed the secret of its splendour in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries is due to the quality of the wool of Merino sheep that was exported to other regions of Northern Europe.
It is said that the Caliph of Córdoba Abderramán III took refuge in the castle which the Arabs rose, Although the present forms of this site are due to the works of Max benefactors of Pedraza, the Velasco family, Constables of Castile, Dukes of Frias and Lords of the village since the end of the 15th century until the 19th century when it abolished the manors in the Kingdom of Spain.
The constables and gentlemen resided in the castle of the village for hundreds of years. It was from the 16th century when, with its prominent role in the European textile industry, noble houses and merchants who had become rich thanks to the trade of wool, they established their mansions and palaces within the walls, especially in the Plaza Mayor. Still the facades emerge many heraldic symbols of some of the most powerful families in Castilla. But, as always, everything has its end. The livestock crisis and the abolition of the seigniorial regime Pedraza led to oblivion. An oversight by not touching one iota of this municipality that is faithful reflection of what an important villa in any day of the year 1600.
Festivities and traditions
Day of our Lady of el Carrascal: the 8 September the procession with the image of the patron takes place through the streets of the town. Men dance jacks in front of the palanquin of the Virgin and before going back to the Church the "auction of sticks" takes place, bidding on neighbors for the honor to the image on his shoulders.
Traditional closure: the day is celebrated 9 September. It is one of the most picturesque spectacles which consists in bringing the bulls from the Dehesa de la Villa off-road, accompanied by halters and mayorales horse.
Novilladas: they take place the days 9 and 10 September. From 1550 Bulls are the required complement of religious celebrations in Pedraza, shutting down the Plaza Mayor and Royal Street with cars and raised. Can be seen at the corners of the streets the posts of stone with holes where the planks is fitted. By its special configuration, the plaza de Pedraza is one of the most picturesque frames for bullfighting.
Candlelight concerts: held each first Saturday of the month of July. This event attracts people from all over the country for the quality of their orchestras and the grandeur of the spectacle see illuminated the town with more of 45.000 candles.
Flutes and Castilian dances contest: the last Saturday of July dulzaineros and Castilian dancers meetings are organized.
Short story contest: held annually and participants must write a story on the basis that are published on the website of the Villa Foundation of Pedraza, www.pedraza.net. Painting contest: held in the month of June. The participants have a specific time limit for the creation of his works, It will be later exposed, and among which will be the finalists with their corresponding winner.