It is located south of the Urbión and La Demanda mountain ranges and is a municipality in the province of Soria, in the region of Pinares, very close to the Canyon of the River Lobos Natural Park. Although the origin of the current San Leonardo de Yagüe was, back in the tenth century, a hospital for pilgrims, located at a crossroads, was under the patronage of the French saint San Leonarde and was attended by Benedictine monks, and that centuries later, at the end of the twelfth century, and by design of the Castilian king Alfonso VIII, the town became part of the Monastery of San Pedro de Arlanza, thus becoming an abbey, In its municipal district there were population settlements already in the Bronze Age, as shown by the archaeological remains found, as well as there was in the Iron Age a Celtiberian castro inhabited whose inhabitants were forced to go down to the valley in Roman times and that was the origin of Arganza, a small village, today uninhabited, near San Leonardo de Yagüe, of which it is part as a neighborhood.
In the 16th century Juan Manrique de Lara, thanks to the intervention of Felipe II, bought this town and its villages, Navaleno, Casarejos and Vadillo, from the monks, founding a majorat and becoming the lord of the territory. Between the years 1563 and 1567 and with the permission of Felipe II, Juan Manrique de Lara began to build a grandiose bastioned castle-fortress. When Don Juan died in this castle in the year 1570, his son Don Antonio finished such a magnificent work in 1604. The village of San Leonardo was dedicated to carting, like the other villages in the region, and was part of the Burgos-Soria Board and Brotherhood of the Royal Roadside Cabin. In 1789 it was the head town of the Council of San Leonardo, of the Partido de Tierra de Roa in the Intendencia de Burgos, with lordship jurisdiction and under the authority of the ordinary mayor who was appointed by the Count of Siruela. Years later it was constituted as a constitutional municipality in the region of Castilla la Vieja and had the name of San Leonardo de Arganza.
San Leonardo de Yagüe, in addition to its rich natural heritage, which delights hikers and nature lovers, such as the River Lobos Canyon, a place of Community Interest and Special Bird Protection Zone, the Sierra de Urbión and Laguna Negra Natural Park, or the Sierra de la Demanda, is an attractive town that proudly displays the vestiges of a past history among its typical pinewood buildings. The parish church is dedicated to San Leonardo Abad, patron saint of the village, in the Herrerian style of the 17th century, very possibly built on the ruins of a previous temple, the façade with a door in the centre belongs to an earlier period. The church holds in its interior real architectural jewels. The Arch, which is one of the three gates in the town's walled enclosure, is still standing. It is the Gate of Aranda, which opened or closed the roads to Aranda and El Burgo. You can also see the two houses built in a markedly Basque style in the mid-18th and early 19th centuries by the Basque forgers who settled in the town for the purpose of working the iron that was abundant in the area, known as the Houses of the Forgers. San Leonardo also has beautiful hermitages such as the Virgen de la Vega, located south of the town and built on an earlier one in the year 1785, the San Blas or Las Angustias, the latter very close to the slope of the castle whose remains, located on a hill, watch the evolution of the town of San Leonardo.
This bastioned palace-fortress was built in the 16th and early 17th centuries. Juan Manrique chose to build it on this site, choosing it from among the other villas that Felipe II granted him for the foundation of his Mayorazgo. The construction, in Renaissance style, was more the mansion of a lord, with all the details, than a defence castle, although it did have the characteristics of medieval castles but with the latest defensive building technology brought from the kingdom of Naples. This bastioned castle was the first of its kind in Spain and from here the model was exported to Spanish constructions overseas. Its factory has a rectangular base, with an inner courtyard and two floors, four bastions at its four corners and a front with classic mouldings. Once uninhabited its stones have served as a quarry for the construction of many houses in the village, even the top of the church bell tower has its stones. The visit to the ruins of the castle, which is privately owned and was given to the town council of San Leonardo de Yagüe, is free. The visit can be completed by going to the uninhabited area of Arganza to admire the 11th century Romanesque church dedicated to San Juan Bautista Degollado.
San Leonardo de Yagüe celebrates its patron saint's day on November 6th. The 22 of July to who is celebrated is Santa Maria Magdalena. The Candelas are celebrated on February 2 and the following day is San Blas on the 3rd. The 1 of May is the celebration of the pingada of the May.
In San Leonardo de Yagüe many traditional events take place, the pingada of May, the Dances of San Leonardo, which are considered warrior dances, or Las Ánimas which is celebrated on November 2nd. On the top of the hills around the village, the Alto de la Horca, the Alto corral, the Loma or the Peña de los Villejos, bonfires are lit and around them, in a prepared boat and with a wire as an extension, a burning pineapple is introduced and, turning the boat around, "Al ánima, al ánima, the tower has fallen" is sung.
The Castilian-Aragonese Way of Saint James crosses the province of Soria, with San Leonardo de Yagüe being the last village in Soria through which it passes on its way to Burgos, first passing through Santo Domingo de Silos where it joins the Wool Route.
There are authors who say that around the hermitage of the Virgen de la Cuesta, built by shepherds, the village of San Leonardo was settled and expanded, and that it owes its name to the abbot San Leonardo, who was the founder of a monastery there.
San Leonardo de Yagüe is located on the national road N-234 between Soria and Burgos. The SO-920 also reaches the town, joining it with El Burgo de Osma and Ucero, the latter being one of the gateways to the Canyon of the River Lobos, and the SO-934 which, after crossing this natural area via the famous Bridge of the Seven Eyes, joins it with Santa María de las Hoyas, among other towns.
San Leonardo de Yagüe has a daily bus service from Soria to Burgos, which connects it with Salas de los Infantes and with the different villages along the route.
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