It is situated on the left bank of the river Ebro, lying on the slope of the Sonsierra de Sierra Cantabria. It is known that the area was inhabited since Prehistoric times, as evidenced by the archaeological remains from the Iron Age in the village of La Nava or the Neolithic dolmen of La Cascaja. Until the tenth century, when San Vicente de la Sonsierra was mentioned for the first time, also mentioning the Navarrese kings who called this area Sonsierra, there was nothing in the place but small population corpuscles and always around a church or hermitage. These nuclei are documented with the names of San Martín de Sonsierra, San Juan, San Pablo, San Pelayo, Doroño, San Román, Hornillos, Orzales, Artajona, Pangua, Santiago, Mutilluri, Peciña, Ribas and Ábalos. It is in this century, the X, when San Vicente de la Sonsierra is created, that is born like military fortress inside a border line, in a first supposition to impede the advance of the Muslims but really what it marked were the borders between Navarre and Castile. At the beginning of the 11th century San Vicente de la Sonsierra and all its properties were donated by Sancho Garcés III to the monastery of Leire, to which it belonged until the 14th century.
It was the Navarrese king Sancho the Wise who granted him privileges and gave him the name of Villa and his son Sancho VII, in 1194 he built the castle and the walls. Centuries later, in the 14th century, the area was involved in fratricidal struggles, with disastrous consequences for the villages of San Vicente that were burned and devastated, but the town continued to belong to the kingdom of Navarre. For these reasons, the inhabitants of the area were considered noblemen. The Middle Ages were characterised by constant struggles between Castilian and Navarrese, and San Vicente de la Sonsierra was no stranger to them until the Catholic Monarchs, in 1512, annexed the kingdom of Navarre, thus beginning a long period of stability. It was then that Ábalos ceased to depend on the fortress of San Vicente and became a town in 1657. This time of peace, with its more and its less, will not be soliviantada until the War of Independence when the town is occupied, by French troops, from 1807 until the Battle of Vitoria in 1813. The later Carlist Wars also left their mark on the area. The municipality today consists of San Vicente de la Sonsierra and the villages of Peciña and Rivas de Tereso.
In San Vicente de la Sonsierra the steepness of its streets and its narrowness denote an ancient taste of fortress and soldiers, in them there are mansions with coats of arms and palaces that speak of a village of nobles and sonsdalgos, in the Plaza Mayor a beautiful building contributed from the 18th century is the seat of the town hall and next to it a mansion proudly displays two coats of arms, one of them from the lineage of the Swimming Pools. The hermitage of San Roque, baroque, is also close to the square. To go up to the castle and enter the walled enclosure is to discover the history of the place. This fortress adapts to the terrain with its semicircle shape. It is made up of three well-differentiated enclosures, the albacar, to the east, is accessed through the Puerta de la Primicia, it was the place where the houses of the people of the old town used to be; to the north and once the Puerta de Salas has been passed through, there is the parade ground and the parish church of Santa María la Mayor, of Gothic style from the 16th century, next to it is the hermitage of San Juan, which was the parish church until the present one was built, and possibly it was the chapel of the castle, today it is the headquarters of the brotherhood of the Vera-Cruz de los Disciplinantes. And at the top, the third enclosure, the castle itself, with its Homage or Major Tower and what is known as the Clock Tower, built in the seventeenth century on the remains of an ancient medieval tower independent of the wall. From here the dominion over the landscape and the environment surrounding the village seems to give no respite from sight. Before the curious gaze of the visitor appears the hermitage of San Martin de Nava, located in the esplanade known as the garden of the friars, is late Romanesque of the second half of the twelfth or thirteenth century and could be a monastery church that belonged to the town of San Martin de la Sonsierra; The hermitage of Santa María de La Piscina, which is near the village of Peciña, is Romanesque from the 12th century. Next to it are the archaeological remains of a settlement dating from before the 10th century, and its necropolis was the settlement known as La Piscina, which was devastated and left uninhabited during the 14th century and that some time later the people who inhabited the place would form the village of Peciña.
The basilica of Nuestra Señora de los Remedios can be seen on the outskirts of San Vicente, it dates from the 18th century and on its façade, in a niche, it keeps an image of Santa María de la Piscina that dates from the 14th century and is believed to come from the hermitage of the same name. The medieval bridge, at the foot of the castle and over the river Ebro, of Romanesque origins from the 12th century, is the first defence of the fortress. Necropolis, hermitages, hermitages, cave presses, medieval silos... silent witnesses of the population centres that once lived in the place, today invite us to know and imagine past times, and complete the great attraction of a landscape in which the palette of colours that the seasons of the year give to it let a stone full of history appear. In our walk through the municipality of San Vicente de la Sonsierra we cannot miss a visit to Rivas de Tereso, a village that together with Peciña forms part of the municipality of San Vicente and that is located at the foot of the Toloño, in it cohabit two clearly differentiated neighbourhoods and with two churches, in the one above is the church of San Miguel, from the 12th century, and in the one below you can see the church of Concepción. And to recharge your batteries you can better enjoy the rich gastronomy and famous wines that San Vicente de la Sonsierra has and offers.
San Vicente de la Sonsierra celebrates its patron saint, San Vicente Mártir, on 22 January and its patron saint, the Virgen de los Remedios, from 7 to 12 September. On 15 May San Isidro is celebrated, on 26 June the co-patron of the village of San Pelayo is celebrated, who was also the patron saint of the disappeared village of Pelayo, and in the month of August in San Vicente recreational, cultural and sporting activities are guaranteed. The patron saint of the village of Peciña is Santa Bárbara and in Rivas de Tereso they celebrate San Martín "El Joven" on the last Sunday in September and San Martín "El Viejo" on 11 November.
It is tradition, in San Vicente de la Sonsierra, the last day of the patron saint fiestas of the Virgen de los Remedios in September to go up in pilgrimage to the castle and then take a good dip in the fountain in the Plaza Mayor. This day is known as the day of the chickens.
Holy Week in San Vicente de la Sonsierra cannot be understood without the "Picaos", being the most traditional and well-known act in the village, it is a form of penance that recalls the times of the medieval hermits. It is true that its origin is lost in remote times and that it was frequent in towns and cities of Spain until Carlos III prohibited it in the 18th century, but in San Vicente it was ignored and this flagellation continued to be practiced privately. The disciplinarians, as people who voluntarily practice this penitence are called, beat each other on the open back with a skein. The Brotherhood of the Holy Cross since its foundation back in the sixteenth century already included in its statutes this penitent practice, so the two have always been united. The rite of the Picaos is carried out in San Vicente during the Holy Week processions but they can also be seen in the Way of the Cross in May and in the Cross in September. The Holy Week processions of San Vicente de la Sonsierra were declared in 2005 of National Tourist Interest.
On the road to Peciña and more or less at the height of the hermitage of Santa María de la Piscina, there are sections with unevenness where if you observe you can see that a vehicle that passes through there seems to go uphill by itself. Inertia, witchcraft ... or a simple optical effect?
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You can reach San Vicente de la Sonsierra by following the N-232 between Logroño and Haro, and in Briones take the LR-210 that joins this town with San Vicente de la Sonsierra. We can also do it following the N-232a that from Logroño arrives at San Vicente de la Sonsierra passing by, among other localities, Ábalos and Laguardia, this same road but in opposite direction arrives at the locality from the N-124 that joins Haro with Miranda de Ebro and Vitoria passing by Briñas and Labastida. Another option is the AP-68 motorway to Haro and from there head either towards Briones or Labastida to continue from there to San Vicente de la Sonsierra. From the town there is also the LR-317 that joins it with Rivas de Tereso and Peñacerrada.
San Vicente de la Sonsierra has several bus services that cover different lines. The one that joins Logroño-San Vicente-Haro, the one that makes San Vicente-Vitoria and another one San Vicente-Bilbao. All of them, daily and with different timetables, stop at the marquee located next to Remedio Park. The information telephone number for the Logroño-San Vicente-Haro line and the San Vicente-Vitoria line is 945 285 000 and for the Bilbao-San Vicente line the number is 944 271 111.
The closest train stations to San Vicente de la Sonsierra are Briones and Haro.
The nearest airport is Logroño-Agoncillo.
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2:20 h.20.7 km.
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