It is located to the south of the Community of La Rioja in the middle of the Sierra de Los Cameros and protected by mountainous elevations such as Mojón Alto or the Sierra de Castejón and the Altos de San Cristóbal y Cruces, on the slopes of the valley that make up the narrow and deep gorge of the river Alberco, when crossing Mount Encinedo, and the González Lacasa reservoir. Because of the archaeological remains found in its caves it may be that Ortigosa, once called Orticosa, as it appears in the Vow of Fernán González, and Hortigosa, was a prehistoric settlement. According to tradition, it is said that its people took part in the Battle of Clavijo and the Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa.
It belonged to the Manrique family by donation of King Henry II of Castile, when Pedro Manrique supported the cause of the Trastamara family, and therefore from 1482, when they received the Duchy of Nájera from the Catholic Monarchs, it became dependent on this court. In the first half of the eighteenth century, Ortigosa and its two villages, El Rasillo, which ceased to be so in 1817 when Fernando VII declared it a village, and Peñaloscintos, which continues to be so, had a large percentage of their sonsdalgo. At the time of the Mesta, there was an important increase in cattle breeding, both stabled and transhumant, with the consequent flourishing of cloth factories, which apart from supplying the adjacent localities, also covered the needs of the royal troops. In 1845, Martín de Zurbano, a prominent guerrilla of the War of Independence, was arrested in the town and in the city of Nájera, he had declared himself against the government of Narváez. With the presence of the President of the Republic, Niceto Alcalá Zamora and Indalecio Prieto, the first stone of the González Lacasa reservoir was laid on September 18, 1932.
In Ortigosa de Cameros we can visit two neighbourhoods, San Miguel and San Martín, differentiated and separated by the gorge of the Alberco stream and joined by the Bridge of Concrete, built in 1923, 60 metres above the river Alberco, is one of the typical images of Ortigosa together with the Bridge of Iron, which, built in 1910 with contributions from several descendants of the village, joins the park that delimits the town, next to the chapel of Santa Lucia, built between the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries on a previous chapel, with the famous Caves of Ortigosa, La Paz and La Viña. The views from it are impressive, not suitable for people with vertigo. In the district of Barruelo or San Miguel, is the church of the same name built in the sixteenth century and has on one of its walls a beautiful Romanesque doorway. Another emblematic building of this district is The Big House, which began to be built in 1530 by Martín García de Brieva, a rich landowner, and which seems not to have been finished with the splendour he wanted. The inscriptions and details of its façade pleasantly enrich the house.
In the upper quarter is the parish church of San Martín, from the 16th century, built in masonry and ashlar, its main altarpiece stands out, in rococo style, with the image of the Virgen del Carmen, patron saint of the village. The square is an open distributor and the town hall is on one of its sides. A stone fountain, dated 1867, topped with a curious sundial, gives it a particular charm. Without forgetting its Grottoes of La Paz and La Viña that are at the entrance of the village, underground, where time does not pass to admire so much beauty that nature gives us. In addition the enclave of Ortigosa de Cameros offers the opportunity to enjoy its landscape and beauty offering walks and hiking trails, such as the GR 190 and GR 93 in some of its stages that either begin or end here, or go through its forests in search of some of the large number and variety of mushrooms and tapestries that cover them.
Ortigosa de Cameros celebrates the festivities in honour of its patron saint, the Virgen del Carmen, on 16 July. San Miguel is celebrated on 29 September and San Martín on 11 November. In the village of Peñaloscintos, by San Pedro, in the month of June, the brotherhood of the Brothers of San Pedro distribute the "charity".
It is a tradition that in the month of June, through the Corpus Christi, the neighbours decorate, with motifs related to Ortigosa and the fiesta, the route of the procession and in each floral arch located in each one of the neighbourhoods, the children born during the year are blessed. Another important custom is that of July 17, the women are adorned with typical costumes to commemorate "El Carmencito" or "El Carmen Chiquito".
The Romans called the mountains surrounding Ortigosa de Cameros, Idúbeda.
In 1620 the brotherhood of Nuestra Señora del Carmen was created in Ortigosa de Cameros, which curiously celebrated its feast day on December 8, the day of the Immaculate Conception. Years later the Ortigosanos, fearful that a plague epidemic that was spreading through La Rioja would reach the village, before the Virgen del Carmen made a vow to celebrate every year a procession with her image if she freed the locality from the epidemic. So it was, indicating the 15th of August to fulfill the promise. By this fact the fame of the brotherhood increased, as well as its possessions that came to have a flock of 200 heads called "flock of the Virgin" that was led by the cattlemen of the place to Extremadura to graze for free in the winter months. And it was in 1682, when reunited the Council and the Cabildo they agreed to name patron saint of Ortigosa to the Virgin of the Carmen, and to pay tribute to her keeping festivity every year the day 16 of July. In 1982 on the occasion of the celebration of the third centenary, Ortigosa de Cameros renewed this vow and every July 16 is taken out in procession an image, commissioned in 1760 and coming from Salamanca, of the Virgen del Carmen, which runs through the streets of the town accompanied by dancers dressed in white costumes adorned with ribbons and bows of bright colors that are performing typical dances along the route.
Ortigosa de Cameros is reached by following LR-232, which connects the town on one side with Brieva de Cameros and LR-113, which joins the towns of Nájera and Salas de los Infantes or on the other with the N-111 between Logroño and Soria, from where we can access either through El Rasillo or from the nearby Villanueva de Cameros.
Ortigosa has a bus service from Monday to Saturday on the Logroño-Montenegro route.
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