It rises over an extensive alluvial plain, in the southwestern part of La Rioja and on the banks of the river Oja, from which the autonomous community takes its name. It is said that it was founded by Saint Dominic himself, a native of Viloria, in 1044, when on the death of the papal legacy of Gregorio de Ostia, of whom he was assistant, he retired to this area to make a life of hermit and help pilgrims on the Way of Saint James. To make it easier for them, he improved the Roman road that passed from Nájera to Redecilla, built a stone bridge over the river Oja, built a hospital, a hostel and a chapel, dedicated to Santa María.
Alfonso VIII granted him privileges in order to promote the growth of the village. Fernando III gave it the title of city and Pedro I the Cruel, around 1.368, surrounded it with walls. In the sixteenth century the city had an important development, in the seventeenth century the uncertainty and crisis affect him as the rest of Spain, today is one of the Jacobean cities par excellence.
In Santo Domingo de La Calzada, in the Plaza del Santo, is the Cathedral, church erected on the sepulchre of the Saint and consecrated in the twelfth century, became a Cathedral in the thirteenth century. Inside there is a magnificent mausoleum with the ashes of Santo Domingo, without forgetting the Gallinero, a cage and niche in which a live rooster and a hen remind us of the miracle of the Saint. It has a free-standing tower, seventy metres high, known as La Moza de La Rioja. Next to the Cathedral is the old hospital, also the work of Santo Domingo and now converted into accommodation for tourism. On the south side of the square is the hermitage of Nuestra Señora de la Plaza. The Town Hall, located in the Plaza España is baroque from the mid-seventeenth century, in its lower part along the façade, there are nine arches that make a corridor of arcades open to the square, and at the top there are open viewpoints in order to use their galleries as boxes in the celebrations of shows.
The city wall dates from the 14th century, of its thirty-eight towers five remain standing, its perimeter was one thousand six hundred and seventy metres and it had up to seven access gates. The convent of San Francisco, in the square of the same name, dates from the 16th century and was built by Juan de Herrera, who participated in the construction of El Escorial. We can also enjoy the landscape and nature by taking a walk along the Oja Greenway, on its way through the town or approaching the next Sierra de La Demanda.
The festivities of the Saint are held from 10 to 15 May, include traditions and rites that commemorate the figure of the saint, his works and miracles, although their days of celebration are concentrated around the day of the death of the Saint, 12 May 1070, the cycle of these commemorations begins on 25 April with the Day of the Gaita and the Tamboril and end on 13 October with the pilgrimage to the hermitage of the Table of the Saint. The Fiestas de Gracias and San Jerónimo Hermosilla are held in mid-September. At the end of May or the beginning of June a pilgrimage is made to the hermitage of the Virgen de las Abejas, located about two kilometres away and the Town Hall is in charge of distributing lentils with piglet ears among the pilgrims. The Pilgrimage to the Table of the Saint is celebrated on 13 October and commemorates the famous miracle of the Rooster and the Hen. It was built at the end of the 19th century where the so-called Dehesa del Santo (Saint's Meadow) was located. On that day there is a mass and a procession inside the hermitage. On the 5th of August the Day of the patron saint of the town, the Virgen de la Plaza, is celebrated.
On April 25, the brotherhoods of the Saint, accompanied by two pipers and a drummer, tour the houses of the young women who are going to participate in the Procession of the Bread of the Saint, marking them on the face with a feather dipped in blue dye. On May 1, the marked young women distribute the Bread of the Saint in the houses of the city. It is an unleavened Mollete that will be present all year round in each house, which reminds us of the saint's charitable work. On the day of the inauguration of the patron saint's festivities, 10 May, the Ram Parade is celebrated through the streets of the city, the animals have the right to graze wherever they want, and later they will be slaughtered and their meat will be a good ingredient of the Saint's Lunch on the 12th. In the afternoon the Procession of the Prioresses is celebrated, in which the women who have been working all year in the attention of the pilgrims participate. The Procession of the Maidens is celebrated in the morning of May 11, in it the girls who had been marked on April 25, walk the streets of the city, decorated and carrying on his head in a decorated basket, the Mollete or Bread of the Saint. In the afternoon of the same day the procession of the Wheel is celebrated, in it is remembered the offering that in other times was given to the Saint by the neighbors and the City council and that later happened to be represented by a wheel of cart adorned with 16 axes of wax. This procession ends in the Cathedral after dancing the wheel and singing the traditional Resuene. May 12 is the main day of the festivities and begins with the energetic Lunch of the Saint, chickpeas, ram and vegetables, which the brothers prepare and distribute among those who approach the House of the Saint.
There are data that say that in Santo Domingo de La Calzada already held annual fairs. And that seems to be the case, it has given rise to the Concepción Fairs, from 6 to 9 December, in which, among other events and exhibitions, the Medieval Market opens its doors. In it, the visitor seems to return to the Middle Ages and to the Mercado del Camino, where you can see tools and agricultural machinery and buy directly products made by the merchant himself.
Among numerous other miracles attributed to the saint, the most famous is perhaps that of the Canto del Gallo y la Gallina. The legend tells that a couple and their seventeen year old son went on pilgrimage to Compostela and spent the night in Santo Domingo in an inn. The innkeeper's daughter tried to seduce the young man, but when he refused, she took revenge by hiding a silver cup in his saddlebag. When the parents and the boy left the city, the girl denounced the robbery. The judge came quickly and arrested the young man, finding the piece in his saddlebag accused him of theft and sentenced him, according to the law, to hanging. The next day, before continuing their pilgrimage, the parents come to see the body of their son whom they find hanging but alive and who tells them that he was entrusted to the Saint and he protected him against the rope. The parents went to see the corregidor to tell him about it and he laughs and tells them that his son is as alive as the roasted rooster and hen that he prepares to eat. At that moment, the birds jump from the fountain to the table and start cackling. Hence the famous phrase "Santo Domingo de La Calzada where the hen sings after the barbecue".
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The main access routes to Santo Domingo de la Calzada are the A-12 and the N-120, which link the towns of Logroño and Burgos, and the LR-111 which links up with the nearby towns of Ezcaray and Haro, as well as with the A-68. At the same time the LR-204 that communicates it with San Millán de la Cogolla.
Santo Domingo de la Calzada has a bus station and a stop for regular and interurban lines, which connect it with both nearby towns and nearby capitals.
Plaza de San Jerónimo Hermosilla s/n.
Santo Domingo de la Calzada, La Rioja
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Que recuerdos, el camino Santo Domingo, que ganas de volver!!
3:35 h.14 km.
3:15 h.12.7 km.
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