It is located southwest of Soria city, on a cut of the Escalote river, which surrounds it, and at the foot of the hill on which its magnificent castle is located. Before the Romans arrived there were already Celtiberian settlements there, as evidenced by the remains found in the area. The Romans gave it the name Augusta Valeriana, in honour of Emperor Valerius. Centuries later it was the Arabs who saw the frontier importance of the place and fought for it against the Christians, which caused the village to pass gradually from one to another during the tenth and eleventh centuries until it was definitively reconquered during the reign of Alfonso VI, who, once repopulated, donated it to Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar, the Cid Campeador, who became its first warden.
It was a royal town until the 15th century, when it became a lordship of the Tovar family, who years later became related to the Velascos, Dukes of Frías, Haro and many other titles, and who in the 16th century were also granted the title of Marquises of Berlanga by Carlos I, the grandson of the Catholics. It was during this time that the town experienced a period of splendour and magnificence, gardens, a fortress, a palace and the collegiate church were built, although the following centuries were tragic for Berlanga de Duero, which had to see part of its monumentality destroyed by fires such as the one that occurred in the castle in the seventeenth century or those caused in the War of Independence by the Napoleonic troops that devastated the palace of the Marquis, several stately homes and sacked the collegiate church of Santa María. At the fall of the Old Regime the town became a constitutional municipality, known then as Berlanga and Hortezuela, in the region of Castilla la Vieja. Nowadays, Berlanga de Duero, being the cultural, administrative and commercial centre of the area, makes an effort to recover and maintain its rich monumental heritage.
When arriving at Berlanga de Duero, the visitor is welcomed by the Justice Roll, a Gothic sculpture from the end of the 15th century, the hermitage of Nuestra Señora de la Soledad built in the second half of the 16th century and the hermitage of the Virgen de las Torres together with the remains of what was the hospital of San Antonio, from the 16th century, a hospital for the sick and a hostel for pilgrims.Going through the door of Aguilera, from the 15th century, the main door and one of the five doors that Berlanga de Duero had, we find the charm of a small town with a splendid medieval past reflected in its emblazoned houses, most of them located in the Royal Street, which can be reached after admiring the Castilian and fully porticoed Main Square. The Renaissance palace of the Marquises of Berlanga, from the 16th century, of which the façade has been preserved and the tower houses the tourist office, is located in the Market Square.
The construction of the collegiate church of Santa María del Mercado began in 1526 and took four years to complete. The convent of the Conceptionists, founded in the 16th century by the Marquise Juana Enríquez, is located on what used to be the synagogue of the Jewish quarter. And sheltering this beautiful enclave, the castle of Berlanga de Duero does not give in to its desire to be the protagonist in the history of the town. Of Islamic origin, it is a border stronghold of the Duero, and at present there are two enclosures, the 15th-century stately castle and the 16th-century artillery fortress. These lands of Berlanga de Duero, crossed by cultural and historical routes, also make nature and trekking lovers enjoy themselves, since in its municipal district we can find the Place of Community Interest and the Special Bird Protection Area known as Altos de Barahona, as well as the SCI of the Riberas del Duero and tributaries, and it is part of the route of the GR 86.
Berlanga de Duero celebrates its patron saint festivities in honour of Nuestra Señora del Mercado on the last Sunday of August, the Virgen de las Torres on 24 September, San Cristóbal on 10 July and San Isidro on 15 May.
The "ardacho", as it is called by the people of Berlanga, the regalto or fray Tomás' lizard, is considered in the town as a good healer of heart disease and herpes in dogs. In addition, in Berlanga de Duero, the cookies in the shape of an alligator are typical and bear the name of fray Tomás' lizard. In the village you can hear the traditional saying "you are older than the Berlanga lizard".
Berlanga de Duero was the first in the province of Soria to win the title of Historic-Artistic Site. In the coat of arms of Berlanga de Duero appears the wheel with knives where they martyred Santa Catalina de Alejandria, patron saint of the town whose feast day is on 25th November although it has not been celebrated for a long time.
Friar Tomás de Berlanga, a 15th century friar, bishop of Panama and discoverer of the Galapagos Islands, at the age of fifty, resigned from the bishopric and returned to Berlanga, bringing with him as proof of his travels and places where he had been, a large caiman. Legend has it that the friar would walk through the streets of the town with his lizard, and the animal would appear calm and tame. The day came when Friar Thomas died and then the huge animal recovered its ferocity and it is said that every morning a young girl appeared dead, girls whenever they had not met a boy. The inhabitants of Berlanga de Duero then thought of the alligator, hunted it and killed it and as if to protect themselves from the mysterious power of the, for them, strange animal, they hung it dissected from one of the walls of the collegiate church of Santa Maria del Mercado where it can still be seen today.
Berlanga de Duero can be reached from El Burgo de Osma by following the CL-116, this same road but on its other side it communicates with Almazán. From Berlanga de Duero there are several regional roads that connect it with the neighbouring villages and the capital Soria.
Berlanga de Duero has a bus service with a stop at the marquee located in Avda. Madrid covers the Berlanga de Duero - Soria route via Torreandaluz and Rioseco on working Mondays, and on Fridays Berlanga de Duero-Soria does so via Osona. On Saturdays there is a bus service that connects it with Barcelona, Salamanca ... Berlanga de Duero also has a transport service on demand that connects it with the surrounding villages. For this service it is necessary to request it previously at the telephone number 900 204 020, from Monday to Sunday, between 8:00 and 20:00 hours, indicating the journey to be made.
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