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Ribera Alta
Ribera Baja
Iruña de Oca

view of the Valderejo Natural Park

Surface 238,5 Km2
Altitude 552 m.
Population 1.076 inhab.
Villages Bachicabo, Barrio, Basabe, Bóveda, Cárcamo, Corro, Espejo, Osma, Fresneda, Guinea, Gurendes-Quejo, Nograro, Pinedo, Quintanilla, Tobillas, Tuesta, Valderejo, Valluerca, Villamaderne, Villanañe, Villanueva de Valdegovía.
view of the Purón River Canyon
Cañón del Río Purón (Parque Natural de Valderejo)

Inhabited since immemorial times, vestiges of interest have been preserved such as the artificial caves of Cono and Pinedo, the necropolis of Santa Lucía-Santa Olalla in Corro and San Martín de Valparaíso in Villanueva and Los Castros de Lastra in Caranca.

Roman times a road existed joining the Astorga-Bordeaux with the Cantabrian Sea through Orduña. Plentiful evidences have been preserved from its important past as towers, palace-houses… Among them the tower of Varona family situated in Villanañe stands out. It was built at the end of the 14th century and it has been recently restored. Its structure as well as the ditch have been maintained till nowadays. Near Villanañe, close to Tumecillo river, we can find the sanctuary of Nuestra Señora de Angosto, placed in a beautiful natural spot full of woods and equipped with spits, benches and tables. Inside, a medieval image of the Virgin is preserved in the middle of a good altarpiece from the 16th century. This is the place for pilgrimages and it is visited by a lot of devotes of the area.

Others preserved towers are those of Luyandos and Hurtado de Mendoza in Espejo from the 16th century, that of Salazar family in Nograro built in the 14th or 15th century. Tuesta is the town that has one of the most emblematic buildings of the town, the parochial church of Nuestra Señora de la Asunción of transitional Romanic style.

But if nowadays there is a place that we can't fail to visit in Valdegovía, it is the Natural Park of Valderejo, declared as such in 1992. Thick lime walls whose main heights are Recuenco (1.239m) and Vallegrull (1.226 m) surround it. Its vegetation is very varied and we can find mixed woods, beech woods, oak groves, pinewoods and scattered examples of serval and cobnuts. The variety of ecosystems and the scarce human presence have favoured the existence of rich and diverse fauna in which the griffon vulture serving as a symbol of the park stands out. The gorge of the Purón River offers us images of great beauty; its natural steep riverbank serves as natural passage to the valleys of Burgos. Inside the park the village of Lalastra is the one that works as a gateway and where all the services are gathered together.

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Photographs of the area



Surface 61,8 Km2 Altitude 460 m.
Population 957 inhab.
Villages: Alcedo, Bergüenda, Caicedo-Yuso, Comunión, Fontecha, Leciñana del Camino, Molinilla, Puentelarrá, Salcedo, Sobrón, Turiso y Zubillaga.

The present township has risen up from the joining made in 1978 between the towns of Bergüenda and Salcedo. It seems that in the surroundings of Sobrón there was since ancient times a small fortified town known as Lantarón, as it is stated in documents from the 10th century.

In the Communion's core the church of San Cornelio and San Cipriano stands out with a preserved large window of Romanic style.

In Fontecha, its two medieval towers stand out. The bigger one called Torre de Orgaz forms a beautiful whole with a semi-detached palace and the remains of its original fortification. It was built at the end of the 15th or at the beginning of the 16th century and nowadays it gives shelter to the Micaela Portilla Workshop School. The second tower is known as Torre del Condestable and it belonged to the Solórzano lineage.

In the boundary of Bergüenda, which is on the banks of Omecillo, there is a nice bridge which some consider from Roman period. Sobrón is divided in two quarters with little distance between one another. The one situated close to the Ebro River has sport facilities and wide camp areas; likewise there is a tourist accommodation that was a spa at a time. The landscape of this area is very broken with big cliffs that rise next to the river.

Between the towns of Leciñana del Camino and Molinilla the dolmen of the Mine is situated. It is one of the most important megalithic monuments in the province. Another of the dolmens discovered in the area is the dolmen of Lastra in the boundary of Salcedo.

The lake of Caicedo de Yuso, declared biotope, is a place of great ecological interest because among its vegetation a great variety of birds take shelter. A legend says that the lake was born from the ruin of a countryside inn that denied the charity to a beggar who proved to be the Virgin Maria.

a view of the Orgaz Tower
Torre de Los Orgaz (Fontecha)

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Surface 21,9 Km2 Altitude 531 m.
Population 182 inhab.
Villages: Atiega and Salinas de Añana.

The history of Salinas de Añana is the history of salt, flavouring and preservative of great importance throughout the times, round which turned all the development of the town in the Middle Age. Its springs of salty water and the activity related to the salt appears already documented in the year 822, little before the Arabians occupied it in the year 865.

In the year 1126 Alfonso I the Battling ordered to settle Salinas in the boundary where it is nowadays, converting it into the most ancient small town of Álava, and it received its municipal charter in 1140 from Alfonso VI. That municipal charter had an economic characteristic, which encouraged the production and market of the salt transforming Salinas into one of the most widely coveted small towns of the north of the peninsula.

Its landscape is totally characterised by the salt threshing floor, plane platforms supported by wood pillars and stone walls and arranged in groups or farms, each of which has one or two deposits (terrazo floors) where the obtained salt is stocked. The salt extraction is done by evaporating the waters of the river Muera, which are canalised towards the threshing floors making use of the lowering of the ground.

At the present, the salt mines' complex has started being restored, given the state of deterioration that it has suffered since the abandonment of the salt mines' activity. Apart from having a walk tour through the town we can visit the convent of San Juan de Acre Commanders and the church of Santa Maria de Villacones that preserves some elements from the 13th century even if the present building dates from the end of the 16th century. The palace-house of Ozpinas family maintains its medieval character and the palace of the Herrán family, situated in the highest side of the street La Carrera, is a Baroque example made built at the end of the 17th century.

wiew of a salt warehouse
Depósito de Sal (Salinas de Añana)

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Surface 84,4 Km2 Altitude 594 m.
Population 364 inhab.
Villages: Anda, Andagoya, Apricano, Archua, Arriano, Catadiano, Guillarte, Etxabarri, Iñurrita, Jócano, Luna, Marinda, Santa Eulalia, Sendadiano, Tortura, Urbina Basabe, Urbina Eza, Uribarri, Villamanca y Zuazo de Kuartango.
view of the Arkamo range
Sierra de Arkamo

Historically all the valley of Kuartango was part of the Manor of Ayala until its disintegration in the 16th century. In the Medieval period there were some tower-houses, many of them disappeared, such as the one of Corcuera in Luna, the one of Artazuela in Jócano…In Jócano there are also prehistoric sites in the caves of Solacueva with interesting cave paintings.

In Zuazo de Cuartango the building of the old spa is preserved on the banks of the river, camp place in summer time.

The entire valley is a natural scene privileged for its scenery wealth and for its flora and fauna; nevertheless as for the most interesting places of the town we can point out:

The sanctuary of Nuestra Señora de Escolumbe, next to the village of Katadiano, has only one nave with three altars, emphasizing within it a plateresque altarpiece from the 16th century. Around a scattering area is prepared.

The whole of the four dolmens from Katadiano where human remains, tools made of silex and decorative objects were found.

The hermitage of Santísima Trinidad situated in a beautiful landscape 1,5 km from Guillarte. This was a place for pilgrimage and at the present one is celebrated in the day after the Corpus Christi.

Social Game Preserve of La Lobera de Guibijo, located in the place known as Arangatxas.

The house Troncal del Solar de Urbina in Urbina - Basabe, which consists of a monastery church, a defensive tower detached to the mentioned temple and other less important buildings juxtaposed to the previous.

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Ribera Alta

Surface 119,8 Km2 Altitude 549 m.
Population 602 inhab.
Villages Antezana, Anúcita, Arbígano, Arreo, Artaza, Barrón, Basquiñuelas, Caicedo-Sopeña, Castillo-Sopeña, Escota, Hereña, Lasierra, Leciñana de la Oca, Morillas, Nuvilla, Ormijana, Paúl, Pobes, San Miguel, Subijana-Morillas, Tuyo, Viloria, Villabezana, Villaluenga, Villambrosa.

The first mentions about the towns belonging to the municipality of Ribera Alta in the Voto de la Reja (codex) of San Millán de La Cogolla go back to the 10th century. Historically speaking it has been a strategic point that dominated the steps of Castile towards the sea on the one hand, through the Bayas that lead to the river Nervión, and on the other hand, from Lacozmonte to the Encartaciones. Its geographical and topographical position on one of the most busy routes to Vitoria, transformed this area into a coveted place in the Middle Ages for the establishment of defensive device, tower-houses and barbicans, mainly, with the aim of surveying and dominating the transit of the roads. An architectonical legate from this historical period informs on its importance.

Pobes, capital of the municipality, is the commercial and meeting centre for the inhabitants of these villages. Its church of the Asunción has a beautiful Romanic portal brought from the disappeared town of Carasta .

In the surroundings of Subijana in the limit of Techa we find the cave of Gobaederra, also called "long grass", in which archaeological remains have been found.

In Barrón we find a three-floored tower built in the 14th and 15th centuries, nowadays it lodges a Rural Tourist accommodation.

Leciñana de Oca preserves its medieval defensive character with various fortified houses placed in the town's walls. The one that belonged to Don Formerio Salazar, situated at the entrance of the town, stands out.

view of the Train Station in Pobes
Estación del Tren de Pobes

In Anúcita there is suitable patch to rest and enjoy in an open field next to the river and in the surroundings of the church.

IIn a mountain range such as the one of Arcamo with lots of trees, with lots of natural hiding places, with plentiful livestock, the presence of the wolf has been usual. Due to the abundance of these the "Lobera of Barrón" was built (more than 200 years ago).

The Loberas are big constructions made in the middle of the mountain. They mainly consist of two walls that meet in a fosse, all of it built with not cut stones and normally finished with bigger stones forming eaves to avoid the jumping of the woof. The system to capture the woof consisted in organising big battues and tried to race the animal so that it entered in the mentioned place, forcing it to run until it fell in the fosse.

The bean Bazaar is being celebrated for several years already in the locality of Pobes; and its repercussion is such that thousands of visitors come to this appointment every year (the second Sunday of October). What is is typical there is the exhibition, sale and the tasting of the country products. .

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Ribera Baja

Surface 27,7 Km2 Altitude 482 m.
1.098 inhab.
Igay, Manzanos, Mélledes, Quintanilla de la Ribera, Ribaguda y Rivabellosa. Estos poblados junto con Salcedo formaban la agrupación conocida como "las siete villas" integrada dentro de la Hermandad de Ribera.

Rivabellosa was witness in 1463 of the meetings celebrated with the aim of elaborating the Laws that regulated the civil, juridical and legal life of Álava during approximately 400 years.

In the urban area of the county town stand out its parochial church from the 15th century and the Palace house of Saez de Santamaría with a gallery of four round arcs divided two to two from the stone rack that ennobles the building and that carries the inscription "Credo in Unum Deum". In its global appearance the tower that breaks the building's horizontality draws one's attention.

In the municipality there are different attractive places to enjoy a rural excursion such as the fountain of Igay and others next to the river in Rivabellosa.

Palacio de Sáez de Santamaría

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Iruña de Oca

Surface 53,2 Km2 Altitude 594 m.
Population 2.437 inhab.
Villages: Nanclares de la Oca, Montevite, Ollávarre, Trespuentes y Víllodas.
view of the Roman Bridge of Trespuentes
Puente Romano de Trespuentes

Even if the villa has gone through a considerable urban enrichment, it still preserves some buildings of interest such as the church of Nuestra Señora, in which some Romanic remains of its primitive construction can be observed. At the back it has a Romanic apse with a beautiful large window.

In the outskirts of the locality we find the Menesiano School where there is a hot-spring water fountain that was used for the service of the ancient spa.

In its surroundings there are pleasant places to enjoy and walk such as the boundary of Escobillo. It is a wide green area where the ruins of an ancient castle can be seen.

The roman bridge of Trespuentes over the river Zadorra, with its thirteen round arcs, is one of the most emblematic constructions of the municipality. Next to it we find the roman Oppidum of Iruña, an important fortified enclosure settled at the wide road that connected Astorga with Bordeaux. It seems that there was an Iron Age settlement on which, centuries after, Romans built the populated Iruña.

In the small village of Víllodas another roman bridge with 10 arches is preserved, even if it has been fairly transformed; it also realised the connection with the ancient city of Iruña. Among the outstanding buildings of Víllodas the church of San Cristóbal stands out, built in the 16th century.

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Surface10,6 Km2 Altitude 467 m.
179 inhab.
Villages: Armiñón, Estavillo y Lacorzana

Together with Estavillo, Armiñón formed one of the most ancient Fraternities of the province.

The villa of Armiñón is a small village placed on the banks of the river Zadorra whose riversides provide pleasant patches to walk and rest. It is a calm and mild villa with some sights of interest such as the palace of the marquis of Terán or the church of San Andrés Apóstol with an altarpiece from the 18th century. One of the most special patches is the recently restored bridge over the river Zadorra. .

Very near to Armiñón we find Estavillo. Among its most notable buildings the church of San Martín stands out built in the 16th century and with an interesting Gothic portal. The central and left-lateral altarpieces that it preserves inside are also from the 16th century.

From Armiñón on the way to Zambrana we find Lancorzana, level with the confluence of the rivers Zadorra and Ayuda. Here we discover the tower-house of the Hurtado de Mendoza family, in a very pleasant spot with lots of trees in front of if; the tower of rectangular base is merlon shaped in its upper part.

view of the Montoya-Urbina Palace
Palacio de Montoya-Urbina

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Surface 35,7 Km2 Altitude 479
Population 442 inhab.
Villages:Berantevilla, Escanzana, Lacervilla, Lacorzanilla, Mijancas, Santa Cruz del Fierro, Santurde y Tobera.

The most ancient data about the occupation of these lands of Berantevilla go back to prehistorical moments with settlements from the Neolithic, in the valley of the river Red till the preromanic period, which are present in the "Vetrusa" site.

The villa of Berantevilla receives the title from Fernando VI's privilege in 1299. A horizontal spot is established on the bank of the river Ayuda acting as natural fosse. A city wall surrounded it, nowadays disappeared, except for the house nº4 of the main street, which could belong to one of the towers.

There are several illustrious ancient houses in the villa, located mostly in the main street. In the paroquial church of Ntra. Sra. De la Asunción stands out the graceful tower made by Justo Antonio de Olaguibel and also the main altarpiece from the beginning of the 18th century of Churrigueresque style.

Next to the urban area on the riverbank we find the scattering Park of Linares with a football pitch, barbecues, tables and benches as well as games for children to enjoy a day in the countryside.

Some buildings of interest outside the county town are the churches of San Jorge de Santurde with a beautiful Romanic portal and Santa María de Tobera, also Romanic from the 13th century, even if in a bad conservation state.

view of Berantevilla Main Street
Calle Mayor de Berantevilla

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Surface 39,5 Km2 Altitude 459 m.
Population 362 inhab.
Villages: Berganzo, Ocio, Portilla y Zambrana.
view of the Portilla Castle
Castillo de Portilla

Historically it was a hamlet contingent under the jurisdiction of Beraventilla's villa until 1744 when Felipe V gives it the title of villa.

In the urban area of Zambrana stand out some illustrious houses, the church of Santa Lucía and the Transept.

Portilla had in its boundary an important castle during the Middle Ages, remains of which can still be found in the hill situated over the locality. From there one can enjoy nice panoramic views composing an excellent place to make a small excursion.

The importance of Portilla's castle was such that its tower was used as central motive of Álava's shield. A document from 1294 shows a stamp that was used as base for the shield of the " Very Noble and very Loyal Province of Álava". A popular legend also tells us about the castle and says that there is a place from where one may see seven rivers, below it there is an exceptional treasure: the golden bull. The environs of Portilla's castle constitute a place of great natural beauty to enjoy an excursion day.

In leisure, crowning the upright profile of the cliff named Lanos, raise the remains of the ancient fortress of which are partially preserved the large fortified tower and the barbican that were closing it. It was the main defence of this area in medieval times. From this position one of the busiest routes during this period stands out above.

In Berganzo the Sarmiento family built a tower; later upon its rests was built the church of San Miguel, which has a nice altarpiece of Romanist style. .

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