It sits on a gentle undulation in a practically flat terrain in the northern part of the province of Palencia and in the heart of the natural region of Tierra de Campos. The origin of Villalcázar de Sirga lies in the Roman settlements around the Virgen del Río hermitage. The town was an important stronghold that the Christian kingdom of Castilla used in its struggles against the Muslims during the Middle Ages. Alfonso X the Wise in his Cantigas mentions it with the name of Villasirga. In the 14th century there were three churches in Villasirga, two of them were dedicated to Santa María: one is the current parish church of the Virgen Blanca or Nuestra Señora de Villasirga and the other, the current hermitage of Nuestra Señora del Río, which at the time was also a parish. Santa María or Sanctuary of the White Virgin was one of the encomiendas that the order of the Temple had in the kingdom of Castilla in that century, time later it happened to belong to the Order of Santiago.
Its current name is composed of three words, villa, for having been lordship since the 13th century with Don Rodrigo Xirón, an important figure in the court of Fernando III, Alcázar, for the crenellated figure of the fortress that the Knights Templar had here and sirga along the Way. In 1661 the title of Count of Villalcázar de Sirga was created, which later would leave the bishop of Palencia as lord of the town. Nowadays this town has not lost any of its two names and answers indistinctly to its two names.
In Villalcázar de Sirga there is a real medieval jewel, the monumental church of Nuestra Señora de Villasirga, also known as the Virgen Blanca, named after the Sistine Chapel of the Romanesque-ojival. It began to be built in the XII century, it was in the XIII century when the works were finished and in the XIV century, with the construction of the chapel of Santiago, it endowed it with a greater luminosity when opening one of its walls with a grandiose rosette. The double, angle-shaped entrance to the church, with an entrance formed by five archivolts and fifty sculpted figures, and to the chapel of Santiago, whose entrance with three archivolts is also decorated with figures, attract attention. In the upper frieze of the temple's façade a Pantocrator blesses us. In addition, once inside the church you can admire the sepulchres, exempt and supported on lions, of the infant Don Felipe, brother of Alfonso X the Wise, and of his second wife and of course, the image of the Virgen de las Cántigas from the 13th century.
In front of the church, the palace of the Counts of Villasirga, today the Town Hall, is an 18th century building but with appreciable remains of very previous buildings, the building also houses other useful services for both the people of the village and for visitors, the Pilgrim's House and the medical center, the tourist office, and the library. One kilometre from the village, next to the river Ucieza, the patron saint of the village, the Virgen del Río, is in her hermitage, there, in a small monastery that was the beginning of the current hermitage and around which the life developed of the "mielgueros" until the parishes were integrated into the Encomienda in the sixteenth century, are the origins of Villasirga, between the remains of Roman settlements and the Salsa and Virgen fountains.
Villalcázar celebrates its patron saint fiestas in honour of the Virgin Mary in May on the 26th, in June on the 16th the patron saint of the village is honoured again and San Fructuoso is celebrated on the 28th of April.
Popular wisdom reminds us that Alfonso X composed his Cantigas de Santa María when he fell in love with the image of the Virgin, which he found inside the temple of Nuestra Señora de Villasirga, and with the stories that pilgrims told about the miracles she performed.
In documentation from 1069, this town was already mentioned as Villasirga, sirga refers to the old French Way. On the other hand, the recent discovery of ten very old cantorales and a breviary in the church of Santa María la Blanca in Villalcázar de Sirga confirm the liturgical tradition of the town.
A legend circulates through these lands of Villasirga that says that if the day of the spring equinox hits the exact spot where a ray of sunshine hits the bull, which is the symbolic animal that represents St. Luke, the heads on either side of the Christ in Majesty, the Pantocrator of the frieze of the church of the White Virgin that is surrounded by the four evangelists, will reveal the place where the Templars hid their formidable treasure before it passed into the hands of the Santiago knights.
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As far as Villalcázar de Sirga we arrive following the road that joins Frómista, in the A-67 between Palencia and Santander, with Carrión de los Condes, in full A-231 or highway of the Way. This road also connects it with the nearby towns of Revenga de Campos, Población de Campos and Villarmentero de Campos.
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6:55 h.32.4 km.
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