Surrounded by slender mountains, immersed in the Nature Park of the Lagunas Glaciares de Neila, at the foot of the Sierra de la Demanda and protected by the mountains of Neila and Urbión is Neila, in the southeast of Burgos capital, where the provinces of Burgos, La Rioja and Soria converge. The first to settle in the area seems to be the pelendones and in the second century BC came the Romans of whose time two bridges remain in the locality. From the Visigoths there remained a temple in the place where the church of Santa María is now located.
Repopulated in the ninth century by people from the north of the peninsula, the first time that the name of Neila appears written is in 1.125 on the occasion of the foundation of the Romanesque church of San Miguel. During the Middle Ages, in 1.273, belonging to the Alfoz de Lara, the royal villa of Neila is designated head of Cañada Real with a representative in the Honrado Concejo de la Mesta, which gives it prosperity and importance within the transhumance, coming to have an important wool laundry. From this activity, which lasted for centuries, and from the memory of a splendid and prosperous past, some blazoned ancestral homes remain standing. Since 1834 it has been part of the judicial district of Salas de los Infantes.
A beautiful mountain village, divided into two neighborhoods: San Miguel, the oldest in Neila and through which ran the old Cañada Real, and Santa Maria, each with its medieval church of the same name, San Miguel, remarkable example of Romanesque Serrano, now houses the House of the Natural Park of Lagunas Glaciares de Neila. The church of Santa María is Gothic although with Romanesque origins; next to it today you can see the Jurisdictional Rollo or Picota de Neila although its initial location was next to the old town hall. In the district of San Miguel there is also the palace house of the Cuesta which has a beautiful Renaissance façade.
The palace of the Marquez family from the 18th century, in the Main Square, which according to tradition was the residence of the priest Merino or the house of the Gonzalez de Prado family from the 16th century are mute witnesses of an attractive and prosperous past. If we go back in time, specifically to the time of Rome, we will admire the two bridges of El Orillar and Las Puentes which, on the outskirts of Neila, reflect centuries of history. But if admirable is its historical and cultural heritage, the natural environment where Neila is located is a real luxury for nature lovers, the Natural Park of the Glacier Lagoons of Neila with its hiking trails that bring us closer to magical places and landscapes, glacier lagoons and cirques, forests, peaks and mountains, true viewpoints of spectacular valleys, caves where you can enjoy speleology ... will take us in the retina some images difficult to forget.
Neila celebrates its patron saint fiestas in honour of the Assumption of Our Lady and San Roque on 15 and 16 August, and also celebrates San Miguel on 29 September.
The Neilenses, according to tradition, the first of may in the place of the Cave of the Neila, between songs and dances, pingan the may, with it they remember the old celebration of the end of the winter and the resurgence of the vegetal life in all its splendor. In order to do so, they look for and cut down a pine selected by them beforehand, if possible the highest, and transport it among all of them to the place of the pingada, where, after hoisting it, the fiesta continues. In the past, the fifth ones were in charge of looking for and raising the highest may and they did it accompanied by popular folklore. In the arduous task of getting the may to remain vertical, they ended up needing the help of the married people who sneered and sang "cheers to the may who raised you, but it was with the help of the married people".
The village of Neila sees how in the heart of the town, in the Cave of Neila, takes place the birth of the river Najerilla, in its first stretch also receives the name of river Neila, whose rise is about sixty meters inside. Neila also gives its name to the Sierra de Neila, whose highest peak, El Muñalba, reaches an altitude of 2,073 metres.
Legend has it that Mudarra, in an eager attempt to avenge the death of her half-brothers, the Seven Infantes of Lara, and already widowed doña Lambra, married to Ruy Velázquez, Mudarra's uncle, followed and persecuted her. Such was Mudarra's harassment of Doña Lambra that she saw no other solution than to take her own life. In his flight he reached these lands, and approaching Neila's Laguna Negra he immersed himself in its deep waters to get lost in them. If in one of your walks by the leafy pine groves that surround the lagoon you think to see its spirit turn around and go away, because according to the oral history, nothing good can bring.
To get to Neila we can do it by following the road that connects it on one side with Villavelayo in the route that joins Nájera and Salas de los Infantes. On the other hand, this same road connects it with Quintanar de la Sierra along the road that joins Salas de los Infantes and Vinuesa. Also passing through Huerta de Arriba and Huerta de Abajo we can approach Neila.
Neila has a bus service that connects it to Salas de los Infantes on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. The telephone number for further information is 976 225 723
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