Located southwest of La Rioja and bathed by three rivers, the Najerilla, the Tobía and its river exclusively the Rigüelos or Matute, is part of the gateway to the Sierra Riojana. Although Matute was first mentioned in the 11th century as one of Sancho el Mayor's donations to San Millán, there are several archaeological testimonies in the surrounding mountainous areas. Remains that speak of a Celtic settlement and also of a Roman settlement, as well as of the Visigothic and Muslim periods.
The origin of its name etymologically speaking is not very true but it seems to be related to its geographical location, from the Latin Magis tutum, "safer". Matute, in the eighteenth century had a School of Grammar and Latinity and in the nineteenth century had a School of First Letters, the two created respectively by the indiano Ruidíaz and the also indiano García Monasterio. It was the prolific cradle of Teachers and Graduates.
In Matute, in the main square, we have the mansion-palace known familiarly as de Villegas, the Town Hall and a sixteenth century building, attached to the north side of the church, which has had different uses since its construction, house of the parish priest, possibly in its origins, Grammar School, City Hall ...
The Calle de Los Marqueses, with several buildings with their corresponding coats of arms, the hermitage of La Concepción, the Parish Church and of course the hermitage of San Quirico, although the latter is located at the top of Mount San Quiles, also deserve our attention. Matute, which is at the mid-point of the GR93 on its way from San Millán to Anguiano, also has walks of between two and five kilometres roundtrip.
The patron saint fiestas are on 16 and 17 June, in honour of San Quirico and Santa Julita. The Fiesta de Gracias, which is celebrated on the last weekend in August, although initially it was 11 September. On 18 November San Román is celebrated, which is the titleholder of the parish church.
On 15 June, the eve of San Quirico, a pilgrimage goes up to the hermitage of his name, carrying the saint, who is in the parish during the year, in a saddlebag to see his mother, there the town hall invites coffee after lunch, in remembrance of other times when this product was difficult to obtain. In the past, the image of the saint was carried up to the hermitage on the shoulders of the authorities and preceded by eight dancers and a cachibirrio who played his couplets.
Matute has a flora and fauna very varied and rich in species, impressive beeches, oaks, holm oaks, pines, white willows, are among others within its trees and mixing with many aromatic plants such as oregano, thyme, etc.. Its fauna ranges from roe deer and deer, through golden eagles, peregrine falcons, highlighting a colony of griffon vultures with nests in the area of Peñalva and the desman of the Pyrenees, insectivorous mammal in danger of extinction on the peninsula.
San Quirico, San Quirico,
that you're on top of the mountain,
no matter how much the river thrives
your feet won't get wet.
Access to the town of Matute, 16 km from Nájera, is via the local road LR-432 from Bobadilla to Tobía. Following the LR-113 that joins the towns of Nájera and Salas de los Infantes, we arrive at Bobadilla, where there is a detour that leads us to Matute. The unmistakable silhouette of the Peñas de Matute and Tobía serves as a reference, once we have taken the detour, crossing part of the Ruta de los Monasterios (Route of the Monasteries), we will have to leave this road to turn, heading towards these rocks where Matute is located at its base.
The daily bus service, which connects the localities of the region with Nájera, also has a stop in Matute.
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