It is located on a hill, dominating an extensive plain, among wide agricultural fields, to the northwest of La Rioja. The origin of the name of Zarratón is said to be Basque and that it would come from the word "zarra" which means "old" and "ton" which means "high", which would mean "old town in the high", but in several documents of the Middle Ages it is named as "Zarrato", "Carratón" and "Cerratón" for that reason, others would explain it as a derivation of the Castilian noun hill.
It is in the 12th century when it is mentioned in historical writings in donations made to the monasteries of San Millán de la Cogolla and Santo Domingo de la Calzada. Gifts made by a pious and generous lady of the place. But before that, in the 11th century and according to oral tradition, King Sancho "el de Peñalen" donated to Sancho Garcés the castle and the fortified area at the top of the village. It was a royal villa and belonged to the Marquises of Mortara, around the 17th century. Until the creation of the province of Logroño it was Burgos.
The admirable and suggestive tower of the church greets us from the top of the village and invites us to contemplate its impressive parish church dedicated to the Assumption, from the 13th century, with a flaming Gothic portico from the 15th century. The walled enclosure of its square with its three doors, the ancient palace, its emblazoned houses. Zarratón had a hermitage in each neighbourhood in a total of seven, of which only two are still standing, which was the headquarters of the brotherhood of Veracruz, called San Andrés and the one dedicated to the patron saint of the town, San Blas, the others know their names, San Martín, San Miguel, San Lázaro, Santiago and Nuestra Señora de la Esclavitud. Zarratón also offers us, due to its environment and situation, a varied activity of enjoyment of nature with different routes and walks, without forgetting that it is crossed by a branch of the Way of Saint James, the Interior Way, in its search for union with the French Way.
The zarratoneros celebrate the 3rd of February, San Blas, patron saint of the village. It is typical in this date, to enjoy a tasting of cake and rosco, that offers the City council. The big festivities are the 15th of August, La Asunción, and the following 16th which is in honour of San Roque. On this day, from the three gates of the walled enclosure of the square, the Zarratón dancers accompany the neighbours to the church, and after the mass there is a procession where the troqueados dance.
In February, the inhabitants of Zarratón pay homage to their patron saint, with the typical dance of the seven Troqueados neighbourhoods. This name is due to the fact that in the past, the inhabitants of the seven neighbourhoods and representatives of the respective hermitages of the locality joined together to celebrate the festivity of San Blas. And of course, seven are the pieces danced, the parades, and the six troqueados: the morenita, the caballitos, the ovejitas, the bailao, the soldadito and the eight.
The dances of Zarratón were recovered not long ago, they are very old, it is believed that they date back to the 16th century.
San Blas was celebrated on February 3 on the occasion of the saint's history. It is said that in the beginning he practiced medicine but was elected bishop when the people knew his great holiness. After the persecution of Diocletian he was hidden in a cave and the hunters took him prisoner for frightening the beasts. He was beheaded in 316, a martyr for not wanting to abandon his faith. Every 3rd of February, two candles were blessed in his honour.
Zarratón is located on the LR-203 that from Haro passing through Zarratón connects the towns of Cidamón, San Torcuato, Bañares and Santo Domingo de la Calzada. We can also reach Zarratón via the LR-311 from nearby Casalarreina, which in turn joins it with the LR-312 between Alesanco and Rodezno.
There is a regional bus service that covers the Haro-Ezcaray line from Monday to Friday, and another regular bus service that covers the Logroño-Burgos line through towns.
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