It is a municipality in La Rioja in the district of Cameros, specifically in Camero Viejo, in the middle part of the valley of the river Leza. It is located at an altitude of 820 m, in the middle of the biosphere reserve of the Jubera, Leza, Cidacos and Alhama valleys, on the side of a hill that rises up between the depressions of the Leza, its tributary the Santa María and the Vallejuelo ravine. It includes six villages, Santa María, Montalbo, Velilla, Vadillos, Avellaneda and Valdeosera, most of which are uninhabited, and are undoubtedly some of the places to see in San Román de Cameros.
Its settlement, in the upper part of the hill, is of Celtiberian origin. Its name is believed to come from the time of Christianisation, at the end of the Roman or early Visigothic period, although the first written record of San Román is a document in which Iñigo López, the first lord of Vizcaya, may date back to the 11th century, bought some houses in San Román de Cameros in exchange for "8 cows, calved and weaned, and 20 sueldos of silver", the purchase being witnessed by his brother-in-law Ximeno Fortunión, third lord of the Cameros, governor of Meltria and grandson of García Sánchez III, King of Nájera-Pamplona. In the 14th century, King Henry II of Castile granted Juan Ramírez de Arellano the lordship of Cameros and in the 14th century he included the village of San Román. The Counts of Aguilar and later the Dukes of Abrantes were the lords of San Román and were the ones who directly appointed the mayor of the village. The lordship existed until 1811, when it was abolished like so many others in Spain. Head of the Council of San Román and its hamlets, the village was moved to its current location after the construction of the road at the beginning of the 20th century. San Román de Cameros has different neighbourhoods: El Solano, Cantarranas, La Cava and La Carretera.
When visiting San Román de Cameros we discover how its people have managed to conserve the ancient architecture, traditional of this mountain range, in which wood, ironwork and Arabic tiles do not conflict with progress and modern comfort. The streets also conserve a laborious and characteristic cobbled pavement that gives the town a special charm and character. Located at the entrance to the village, in a charming spot, the El Tinte fountain and the bridge next to it seem to welcome us to this recollect village. The cobblestones in the Plaza del Olmo or fountain square are striking for their geometric shapes, which are explained on an information sign. The fountain of the three spouts, although it originally had four, is neoclassical in style and dates from 1804. Standing out in the silhouette of San Román de Cameros is the parish church of La Asunción, which dates from the early 16th century. Also worthy of note on our walk through San Román is the Neoclassical hermitage of the Virgen del Carmen, which was built in 1922 by Doña Francisca Bermejo Romero in honour of her only daughter, Matilde, who died at an early age, and which is another of the places we must see in San Román de Cameros. The schools of the municipality, founded in 1787 by Don Simón and Don Diego de Ágreda, were one of the first in our country to be completely free of charge. They were the first of their kind and the oldest in the whole of La Rioja, and are the only ones still open in the whole of Camero Viejo. In the square of Don Simón de Ágreda, in front of the school building, a pedestal with the bust of its founder protecting the head of a child, and a parchment on which you can read the legend: "Children of San Román: here I give you the bread of intelligence" commemorates him. Next to the school down is the Archive of the Very Noble, Ancient and Illustrious Solar, Lordship and Villa of Valdeosera, where, although visits are restricted, you can see the Archive Chest, made of walnut wood, lined with zinc, with a one-piece door and iron fittings from the end of the Gothic period, with three locks in the shape of the Cross of Santiago, with three padlocks and a lock, decorated with thirteen crosses of Santiago (one missing) and thirteen stars (two missing), with two half moons at the top; There is also a tombstone with a Roman inscription from the 2nd century and the baptismal font from the 13th century. These are some of the places of interest in the well-preserved hamlet of San Román de Cameros.
San Román de Cameros is surrounded by the neighbourhood orchards that have an irrigation system that is lost in the origins of its population, this irrigation system can be seen from the viewpoint of Velilla. The village is the end and beginning of stages 6 and 7 of the GR 93, a hiking route that crosses La Rioja from east to west, from Santo Domingo de la Calzada to Valverde. You can also enjoy walking the path that takes you to visit Valdeosera, or the hiking route that runs from La Dehesa to Torre en Cameros. We can also visit the Pozas de Villa Cristina wells, or the Santa María meadow. We can even visit dolmens and Celtiberian burial sites. Another activity to do in San Román de Cameros is to climb the Cerro Santa Bárbara hill to the viewpoint and Roble Quemado, from where we will have a fantastic panoramic view. And if we find ourselves in a stronghold, a beautiful hiking route takes us up through the Velilla meadow until we reach the oldest noble manor in Europe with its ancestral home and Romanesque church.
San Román de Cameros celebrates San Sebastián on the third Sunday in June, although his feast day is on 20 January. On 16 July it celebrates the Virgen del Carmen and the Virgen del Val is on 15 August.
Year after year the traditional moraga, the pig slaughter, is celebrated in San Román de Cameros. It is the third weekend in February when this activity, so deeply rooted in the villages, is commemorated. The pig takes advantage of everything, even the tail and the feet, and proving that this is more than just a saying, a pig is slaughtered in the traditional way. The following day, the pig is butchered in public and a demonstration is given of how to make chorizo sausages. The celebration ends with a tasting of migas, and a brotherhood meal to commemorate the event, at which various pork products are consumed.
The uninhabited villages that form part of the municipality of San Román de Cameros also had their importance. For example, Valdeosera, whose name was given because of the abundance of bears, Valley of the Bears. It was Ramiro I who granted Sancho Fernández de Tejada the right to populate this area in 932 in exchange for his participation in the Battle of Clavijo. He gave it to his youngest son, also called Sancho, and to his twelve loyal Galician knights, his sword brothers in so many battles, in the thirteen houses that were the beginning of the thirteen currencies that make up the village that today exists under the name of Villa de Valdeosera. This is how the nobiliary legal institution of the Solar de Valdeosera, to which it is linked, was created. This place is the exclusive property of the board of Caballeros Diviseros Hijosdalgos del muy Noble, Antiguo e Ilustre Solar, Señorío y Villa de Valdeosera. It is currently uninhabited. The old coat of arms of the Fernández de Tejada family can still be seen on many of the façades of the houses of the Cameros family. Santa María was also of great importance, as it had factories producing coarse cloths, yarns and cloths that supplied Soto.
Legend has it that the bishop of Calahorra, fleeing from the Muslim invasion, took refuge in a cave located to the north of the Atalaya peak. The cave became a hermitage and by the end of the 16th century it was already a flourishing priory to which more than thirty parishes made pilgrimages and from which beautiful choir books were produced.
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The LR-250 road, which runs through the Leza river canyon, takes us from Logroño to San Román de Cameros. The LR-245 road, which links the Iregua valley with the Leza valley, also connects us with San Román de Cameros.
There is a bus service that, on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, makes two daily return journeys between Logroño and San Román de Cameros.
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