It is located in the Tobalina Valley, to the northeast of the capital of Burgos, on an elongated hill called La Muela, on the banks of the river Ebro and framed by the highest peak of the Montes Obarenes Natural Park, the imposing Humion peak. The strategic location of Frias with its passage of the river Ebro, the link between the Cantabrian coast and the plateau, has given the city notoriety and development at least since Roman times. The first written reference that mentions it is from the year 867, after it was reconquered from the Muslims. From this period, 9th and 10th centuries, we know of the existence, where the castle was later located, of a small defensive and vigilant fortification against the troops, first Muslims from the Emirate of Cordoba, and then from the kingdom of Navarre. In the 11th century, Count Sancho García, nicknamed "el de los buenos fueros", acquired the city.
When he died, the king of Pamplona-Nájera Sancho Garcés III el Mayor integrated her into his kingdom. In the first years of the 13th century King Alfonso VIII granted it the Charter of Logroño but with its own peculiarities, which led to greater economic development with the consequent independence and well-being, even establishing a Jewish quarter. Its influence extends throughout the Valley of Tobalina. In the 14th century he saw how in the central area of its Roman and medieval bridge, with nine arches, a crenellated tower was built and opened by an arch, where it used to be necessary to pay to cross the bridge to reach the locality. In 1435, King John II of Castile granted it the title of city and then ceded it to the Count of Haro in exchange for Peñafiel. Years later, the Catholic Monarchs created the Duchy of Frias, which they granted to the Velasco family. In the eighteenth century Frias was part of Burgos within Old Castile.
From the horizon, Frías, with its unmistakable silhouette dominated by the castle, invites you to approach it and enjoy it, as it is a beautiful city in which time seems to have stopped. Arriving at it, and in order to put the visitor in a position, the admired medieval fortified bridge appears, which is 143 metres long and the height of its central tower equals the distance from the parapet of the bridge to the river. This bridge crossed the Roman road that communicated the plateau with the Cantabrian area and also reached La Rioja. From the bridge you can see, at the top of La Muela, the two most important buildings in Frias, but before that, a stroll through the cobbled streets through the city's monuments will not disappoint. Its medieval structure, the Jewish quarter; gates and walled enclosure; the Salazar palace with its beautiful coat of arms; the hanging houses, located between the church and the castle, seem to form part of the precipice. The castle of the Dukes of Frias, also known as the Velasco castle, watches over the village and its surroundings from above. The current construction is the result of reforms and additions from the 12th to the 16th centuries and is accessed by a drawbridge. The parish church of San Vicente Mártir y San Sebastián was part of the city's fortress and is located at the other end of the keep.
On a steep slope is the other parish church of Frias, that of San Vítores, built in the 13th century. The importance of Frias led it to have two convents, the monastery of Santa María de Vadillo, which was founded in the 13th century and lasted until the confiscation of Mendizábal. Part of the cloister, several chapels and a large Gothic church remain, as does the monastery of San Francisco, of which only remains remain, located on the outskirts of the city. Frías is also a strategic starting point for getting to know spectacular places and making beautiful excursions through the regions of La Bureba and Las Merindades.
Frías celebrates San Juan on the 24th of June and the Festivity of the Captain is the Sunday closest to the 24th of June, on the 21st of September it celebrates the festivities of Christ, the festivities of La Cruz are on the 3rd of May and on the 26th of August it celebrates San Vítores.
The people of Frias live with great attachment and enthusiasm the traditional Festival of the Captain that has been celebrated since the same times in which the inhabitants of the city rebelled against the feudal power exercised by the Velasco. In memory of the event, a captain is named who wears a Napoleonic years jacket with Captain's badges, white trousers, sabre and hat, and accompanied by dancers dressed in white trousers, white shirt, a starched white skirt, and decorated with coloured ribbons, they go through the streets of the city dancing, flag in ristre, to the sound of the castanets, the dulzaineros and the redoblante.
The Romanesque façade of St. Vincent's Church was sold and transferred to the Cloisters Museum in New York; the money from this sale was used to reform and rebuild part of the church that had collapsed next to the tower in 1906.
Legend has it that a widowed countess who had delegated the county in favor of her son fell in love with a Moorish king who lived in the castle of Frias and indoctrinated by him, who longed to expand his territories and his domain, plotted the death of his son by poisoning him with a glass of wine in the celebration of a banquet, But the Countess's waitress, upon learning of the conspiracy, warned her young lord not to fall into the trap, and then the young count offered the cup to his wicked mother, who, on seeing herself discovered, drank it and instantly fell dead.
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At Frías we arrive following the BU-504 road that joins the town on one side with Busto de Bureba on the N-232 between Pancorbo and Oña. On the other hand, this road joins Frias with Quintana Martín Galíndez and with the BU-530 between Miranda de Ebro and Trespaderne. There are also several local roads that connect it with neighbouring towns.
Frías has a bus stop that runs the service on Mondays and Fridays and runs the Burgos-Frías route. From Briviesca there is also service on the same days. The telephone number for further information is 947 472 830.
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