It is located in an isolated spot to the southeast of the small town of Casillas de Berlanga, within the region called Tierra de Berlanga, province of Soria. Situated on a small terrace on a gentle slope that descends to the river Escopete, it is believed that since the time of the definitive consolidation of the Christian kingdoms in this area back in 1060, although nothing certain is known about its origin. There are, however, documents written in 1136 that mention the hermitage of San Baudelio and the original monastery, a monastery built by the Mozarabs in the time of the Visigoths and erected next to a cave, possibly a hermitage, under the patronage of San Baudelio. There are no traces of that monastery and the cave is located inside the chapel that was owned by several residents of Casillas de Berlanga at the beginning of the 20th century. Being even used as a place to keep flocks of sheep, the hermitage of San Baudelio was declared a National Monument in August 1917.
With a humble and very simple external image, the hermitage of San Baudelio appears before the eyes of the visitor, "outside nothing and inside...a real treasure". Walking around the perimeter of the hermitage, at the back of the apse, there is a medieval rupestrian necropolis with more than twenty anthropomorphic tombs. This necropolis, from the 11th to the 13th century, although it was used for a longer period of time, could have belonged to the possible monastery or, as others think, could have been part of a nearby village. A horseshoe arch door invites you to enter the temple and as soon as you pass through it, in the main nave, a column with bright colours from which, from its height, eight arches hold up the vault; it gives the sensation of being a real palm tree in all its splendour. Some steps lead to the apse where a small horseshoe window lets in the light that illuminates the main stone altar.
On the opposite side, at the foot of the nave, a tribune or choir sits on eighteen little columns that are joined together by horseshoe arches to form rooms, giving the image of being in a mosque. This space shelters the access to the hermit grotto, possible origin of the temple. The choir has access from the outside through a door and from the inside through a staircase with carved stone steps attached to the wall. For safety reasons, it is currently forbidden to climb up it. If its architectural framework draws attention, what is truly unique about the hermitage of San Baudelio are its mural paintings, probably from the 12th century, which would originally decorate the walls, one of the most remarkable sets in the Peninsula, and for which it is considered the "Sistine Chapel of Mozarabic art". Many of these original paintings were torn out and sold in 1922 and can be admired today in the museums of Boston and El Prado.
According to tradition, the grotto inside the hermitage of San Baudelio was the place chosen by the disciples of San Baudelio to build their hermitage, since they used to do it in remote places and located near water sources because that way they commemorated the place where their master San Baudelio had been buried.
The vault of the hermitage of San Baudelio, although larger, is identical to that of each of the two apses of San Millán de Suso. Another similarity in its architecture is in the arches that end in the corners and that rest on projections like those of the temple of Santiago de Peñalba.
Popular history tells that in the small and almost secret room that exists at the top of the central column, formed by this and the birth of its eight arches, the relics of San Baudelio were kept for a long time, although others give this room a different use because it is said that it was the place where the monks climbed to isolate themselves and do penance.
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The hermitage of San Baudelio can be reached by following the road that joins Casillas de Berlanga on one side with Berlanga de Duero and on the other with Caltojar and La Riba de Escalote. Casillas de Berlanga has a bus service on demand, the telephone number to request it and information is 900 204 020.
It is on this road that we will find the detour that leads to the hermitage of San Baudelio. There we will have a zone enabled like parking.
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