In the province of Burgos, it watches over the fertile plain of the river Arlanza from its location on a hill. Due to its strategic location, everything points to the fact that there were Celtiberian settlements and that the Romans, Visigoths and Arabs left their mark and culture. In the tenth century and with the Christian repopulation, Lerma began its resurgence and in the eleventh century became part of the Leonese and Aragonese kingdoms and lived periods of struggles and clashes over the territory, between nobles and kings, becoming definitely a royal villa until 1414 when it was donated to Diego Gomez de Sandoval y Rojas for his support in the battle of Antequera and the struggles against the Count of Urgel.
The sixteenth century and especially the seventeenth, with the fourth Count of Lerma, Don Francisco Gómez de Sandoval y Rojas, Lerma experiences a true boom that leads him to know years of political relevance and acquire a great wealth of monuments. It saw how great writers and artists furrowed its streets and hosted royal celebrations and fastos. Occupied by the French troops during the War of Independence, it suffered looting and fires by them. Lerma, that had up to six convents and that there was no problem of coexistence, during the Carlist Wars, between the religious and the soldiers, saw nevertheless as the Disentailment of Mendizábal if it influenced it considerably, being only three of their monasteries those that survived the decree. Imposing and current, Lerma, today houses the headquarters of the Regulatory Council of the Denomination of Origin Arlanza and the Lonja Agropecuaria de Lerma sets agricultural prices in the province of Burgos.
Declared a historic-artistic complex in 1965, Lerma is known for being the main Herrerian-style architectural complex in Spain and one of the only ones in the world. Entering the historic centre of this town through the Arch of the Prison, the only door that has been conserved of the four that the medieval wall had, is to enter an environment that smells of greatness and years of a splendid past that shines with its own light in the present. Walking through its steep streets you reach the Square Ducal or Main Square of Lerma, which was once the ideal setting for recreational and cultural festivities; the square is flanked on one side by the Ducal Palace that began to be built in 1601 on behalf of the Duke of Lerma. Next to the Ducal Palace, and originally joined to it by a passageway, but in a square adjacent to the Ducal, is the Monastery of San Blas, built in the seventeenth century, classicist baroque style, is part of the Conventual and Historical Complex of the city of Lerma.
The square of Santa Clara is another place that delights the visitor, from the Viewpoint of the Arches you can see a magnificent panoramic view of the fertile plain of the Arlanza while in the center of the square stands the mausoleum of the hero of the War of Independence, the Cura Merino; on one side of the square, the monastery of the Ascension or convent of Santa Clara was the first convent that was built and in its church was baptized, in 1610, the infanta Margarita Francisca; the Collegiate Church of San Pedro was consecrated in 1617; the convent of Santa Teresa, built in 1617, currently part of its cloister is occupied by the offices of the town hall; the monastery of the Mother of God, known as convent of Carmén, located in front of the Door of the Prison. Streets, squares with arcades, houses of typical medieval Castilian construction... and the river Arlanza with its medieval bridge and where, at its edge, the duke built some beautiful gardens and in them seven hermitages of which nothing has survived but that of the Humilladero. Lerma, an obligatory pass, since the Middle Ages, of the Burgalesa Royal Cañada that links Extremadura and the Sierra de la Demanda, an essential stop for thematic routes, hiking trails to enjoy and discover the environment... combines culture, history, art, landscape and of course gastronomy.
Lerma celebrates festivities in honour of its patron saint, the Nativity of Our Lady, on 8 September. In addition, pilgrimages, fairs, events and festivities such as the Baroque festival, at the beginning of August, enliven the life of the Lermeños during the year.
The last day of February at night in the streets of the town resound some traditional songs celebrating the arrival of March, are reminiscent of the ancient tradition that existed in Lerma to make various celebrations, the Marzas, related to the different seasons of agricultural work and the arrival of March.
The Main Square of Lerma is one of the largest in Spain, its extension is even larger than that of the Main Square of Salamanca.
Who knows if it is true or legend, but the truth is that it is told and sung by all the exploits of Cura Merino and his guerrillas against the French, who did not cease until they were defeated and the Ducal Palace was recovered, being this decisive act in the fight for independence in these places, as well as the spirit and confidence also increased the number of Spanish soldiers who joined the struggle to defend them.
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Lerma can be reached via the A-1 Northern Motorway that connects it with Madrid and Burgos, the N-622 connects it with Quintana del Puente, the BU-900 connects it with Quintanilla del Coco, and the BU-904 also connects it with Covarrubias, among other localities.
The Lerma bus station is coming daily with regular buses that connect it with Burgos, Madrid, Santander, San Sebastián, Bilbao or Vitoria.
In Lerma, the direct train that makes the Madrid-Burgos route stops.
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