On the banks of the river Ega, protected by the Sierra de Codes, Santa Cruz de Campezo-Santikurutze Kanpezulas, is located at a strategic crossroads of old roads, which from Treviño, following the river Ayuda, reached Estella and those who followed the courses of the rivers Ega and Inglares and from west to east approached Navarra Media. Framed by the mountains of Hornillos and San Cristóbal and the Sierra de Loquiz and the Sierra de Codes, with slopes populated by beautiful forests of beeches, gall oaks and oaks that ensure an attractive landscape, Santa Cruz de Campezo was in the twelfth century an important frontier square between the kingdom of Castilla and Navarra, so that as soon as it belonged to one kingdom as the other, although according to Roman historians, these lands were already inhabited in the year 18 BC by the tribe of the Várdulos, who were adopted from the Vascons.
In the ninth century the Arabs razed the valley, their villages were rebuilt during the reign of Alfonso VI of Castile. In the 12th century the town was already a walled fortress. King Alfonso X the Wise granted it the Charter of Logroño in 1256. In the year 1635 Santa Cruz de Campezo bought his freedom from the crown of Castilla and King Felipe IV returned the privileges and rights to the town a few years later. During the War of Independence against the French Santa Cruz de Campezo was the scene of a bloody battle in which the French, and in retaliation, burn the hermitage of Ibernalo. The Carlist Wars also left their echo in the village. During both wars, the Carlista and the Independence Wars, the castle, the walls and the gates that protected the town were progressively dismantled, leaving only remains of the wall in the square and the names of the streets that ascended to the castle.
The beautiful natural environment that surrounds Santa Cruz de Campezo offers the opportunity to carry out numerous activities, from bird watching, not in vain its mountain ranges are the enclave with the greatest ornitic diversity of Alava, hiking, the Ignatian Way, the GR 1, which is one of the longest long distance paths in Spain, pass through the place, PRs such as the Path of the Torca, The Wolves, the one of the Dormida.... the Greenway of the Basque Railway Navarro, up to mountaineering, the ascent to the mount Ioar, or to the rocky slopes of Costalera and climbing with numerous climbing routes numerous routes in the rocky slopes of the Convent of Piérola or the practice of psychobloc, bouldering on water. Likewise, touring the nearby Izki Natural Park and discovering its great diversity of landscapes is not a negligible offer. But Santa Cruz de Campezo is well worth a quiet stroll through its streets and steep alleys where its houses display semicircular arch doors, coats of arms and shields. The square in which the town hall is located connects the old town with the modern village and there you can see an octagonal fountain closed by eight poyetes with chains.
The parish church of the Assunción of Nuestra Señora, Historical Monument of Euskadi, Gothic temple of the 14th century although it conserves signs of the primitive Romanesque temple, stands out in its historical-artistic patrimony. Next to the road that leads to the Sanctuary of the Virgin of Ibernalo, located at the top of the town, which still preserves the Romanesque belfry of the old church, are the stone cross and the Humilladero of the Holy Christ. On the outskirts of Santa Cruz de Campezo, on the way to Oteo, are the ruins of the convent of San Juan de Piérola. What was originally a tower house of one of the most outstanding lineages in the area, whose surname is already cited in the eleventh century, in the fifteenth century was donated to the Franciscan friars who founded the convent of Santa Maria de Los Angeles, which later became known as San Julián de Piedrola but is also cited in 1797 as "San Francisco de Piedrola". It was abandoned when the disentailment of Mendizábal and today only the master walls and the belfry of the church are preserved. Heritage and nature is undoubtedly a great attraction to visit this beautiful town.
Santa Cruz de Campezo celebrates its patron saint festivities in honour of Our Lady of Ibernalo on the first Sunday in September. San Isidro Labrador is celebrated on 15 May with a pilgrimage included.
On the evening of Carnival Tuesday the streets of Santa Cruz de Campezo are flooded with revelry and celebration because the "Toribio", which is a doll filled with straw that dresses blue diver and visor, carrying all the hardships that has lived in the town throughout the year, is walked through the town and condemned to die drowned in the river. Throughout the tour the Toribio has been accompanied by the local people and the "Katzirulos", who with their zurriago and among the joy of the youngest, have entertained the party chasing the children.
The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Ibernalo, also known as the hermitage of Ibernalo, is located at the top of Santa Cruz de Campezo, at the end of the road that leads to it, at the foot of La Cogolla and surrounded by a spectacular holm oak grove. It is known of the existence of the former village of Ibernalo, which could well have been the first village in the valley, according to documents dating back to the year 1250, the remains of ancient buildings and a stone carved into the wall of the hermitage, today deposited in the Museum of Vitoria, which seems to belong to a primitive paleochristian temple. The temple was reformed in 1930 as the sanctuary suffered dark days during the War of Independence and the Carlist War. The Romanesque belfry remains from the old hermitage and in the centre of the altarpiece of the high altar is the image of Andra Mari de Ibernalo, patron saint of the region, a beautiful Romanesque carving from the 13th century. The sanctuary is open during the day and visiting it is almost an obligatory walk for the campezos, especially on Sunday afternoons. On their return, when they reach the curve of the salve, they look back at the temple to pray and say goodbye until another day.
The people of Santa Cruz de Campezo, like those of other villages in the area, go on pilgrimage to the hermitage of Arquijas on the last Sunday in May and September. A Nuestra Señora of Arquijas are attributed miraculous acts, in the inscriptions of a couple of paintings can be read: "on March 24, 1683, coming for devotion Francisco Arana, neighbor of Ecala in Améscoa, to this Santa Basilica of Nuestra Señora de Arquijas, took the night, and falling into the river with great danger of his life, was found miraculously free in the Holy House. In another it reads: "In the year 1688, on August 15, the lock of the Abejera of the Sta. Basilica was lit while four people invoked the help of Ntra. Sra. of Arquixas and miraculously the fire ceased".
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To get to Santa Cruz de Campezo, follow the road that joins Vitoria-Gasteiz and Estella-Lizarra, which passes through Campezo. Santa Cruz de Campezo is also reached by other roads that connect it with the towns of Genevilla and Bernedo on one side, and with Oteo and San Vicente de Arana on the other.
Santa Cruz de Campezo is served by the regular bus service that runs daily between Vitoria-Gasteiz and Estella-Lizarra.
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Between the mountains and the Middle Zone of Navarre
Home of the Patron Saint of Alava, a jewel of Alava's Romanesque style.
At the bottom of a valley near a river and as horizon the sky
Romanesque jewel from La Rioja
Where the highest peaks of the Basque Country can be found
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