It is located in the Ribera de Navarra, to the south of the Comunidad Foral, in the valley of Aragón, in a plain close to the river. Although it is known that there were population settlements in Roman times, the origins of Marcilla are not very clear. It is believed that it was founded by the Visigoth king Gundemaro back in the year 610 when this king built a monastery in the place, but it is not until the Middle Ages that it is not mentioned historically. In the first quarter of the 12th century Alfonso I the Battler, King of Aragon and Pamplona, granted him privileges with the same rights that Calahorra enjoyed. Years later his successor García Ramírez, the Restorer, donated the town of Marcilla to Don Lope, Bishop of Pamplona. In the year 1160, doña Sancha, married to Sancho the Wise, founds a monastery of Cistercian nuns and grants them the lordship of Marcilla, ownership that they had until the year 1407. Towards the year 1420 Carlos III removes lands and lordship from the Cistercian nuns, to whom he relocates them in Cambrón, in favour of Mosén Pierres de Peralta, who built the fortress, and when Fernando el Católico instituted the Marquisate of Falces, lands and castle became the nucleus of the same, passing everything, castle, lands and marquisate, to their descendants. Today Marcilla is an industrial town, with an important agricultural and livestock presence.
Marcilla proudly displays its castle-fortress which is located in the centre of the village next to the town hall square. It was built in the 15th century by Mosén Pierres de Peralta, in Gothic style, built in brick on stone slopes. At first it had a defensive character but when the Marquisate of Falces was instituted it became the residential palace of the Marquises. The gateway to the castle, which houses the drawbridge under which the moat runs, is next to what is considered to be the Homage Tower, one of the four towers that make up the corners of the castle. Inside the fortress there was a large parade ground around which the rooms and rooms were distributed. The palace chapel preserves its 16th century paintings. The castle can be visited but it is necessary to call in advance to the telephone number 948 713 545. Guided tours take place on Saturdays, Sundays and some holidays at 12 noon. The duration of the same one is of hour and a half approximately. It includes a visit to the Virgen del Plu hermitage which is located in the town centre and already existed in the 15th century. In the centre of the town is also the parish church of San Bartolomé, which dates from 1799, and the town hall. The architectural ensemble of the convent or Monastery of Santa María was built in the last quarter of the 18th century in a baroque and classical style with a sober and elegant façade. Walks and excursions around Marcilla complete the pleasant visit to this beautiful town.
Marcilla celebrates its big festivities in honour of San Bartolomé, patron saint of the village, between the 23rd and 30th of August and the small ones are celebrating the patron saint the Virgen del Plu on the 4th, 5th and 6th of August. In addition, on the 22nd of May the pilgrimage to Santa Rita "Abogada de los imposibles" takes place in the Convent of the Augustinian Fathers-Monastery of Santa María.
In Marcilla, in the moats of the castle, a "Cattle Fair" has been held since ancient times and according to tradition, which was a right granted by royal decree to the Marquises of Falces. In this fair, an exhibition of riding horses is organised and some transactions are carried out, but the most important are the exhibitions of riding and dressage, as well as the dragging of horse-drawn carriages.
The set formed by the river Aragón, the groves and the earthy cliffs are one of the most beautiful and representative images of the natural environment of Marcilla. On the cliffs overlooking the river Aragón you can see peregrine falcons. The most outstanding thickets of great scenic value in the municipality of Marcilla are those close to the earthy cliffs. The soto grande or Cave and the soto de la Sauquera or soto pequeño are places of great ecological value.
Cardinal Cisneros, in the name of Castile and after conquering Navarre, ordered the demolition of most of the castles. The Marcilla castle was ruled by the Marquise Ana de Velasco, who defended it to the utmost in the absence of her husband Alfonso Carrillo. Legend has it that upon learning of the arrival of the emissary Hernando Villar, the Marquise ordered a great banquet to be prepared to entertain the Castilians, who gave a good account of the agape. At the end of the banquet he asked, with feigned innocence, what was the reason for the visit, to which Villar, overwhelmed by the pleasant treatment received, urged him to leave the castle without violence. Then the Marquesa replied that if anyone had to leave the fortress it was he and his people, whom he spared. Drunk as they were, and confused by the lady's cunning, the Castilians left the castle, and in this way Doña Ana won the game and saved the castle.
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Marcilla is located very close to the N-121, which links Pamplona with Castejón, with which it communicates at the height of Caparroso. The AP-15 motorway also has an exit and entrance to Marcilla. Other local roads connect the town with Peralta, Andosilla, Funes or Villafranca, among others.
Marcilla has a daily bus service that connects it with nearby towns.
The Marcilla train station is located in the Barrio de la Estación. The telephone number is 948 432 343 and 902 240 202.
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