The architectural ensemble of Bárcena Mayor presents a rectangular structure defined by two main entrances: The alley, by the north, an extension of the access road from Cabezón de la Sal, and Larga Street, by the south, that leads you to the Argoza River (the main tributary of the Saja), ending with a stone bridge from the 16th century. Both streets are crossed by perpendicular alleys, and you can discover several surprising corners and small squares, such as the Mesón or the Corral de las Ovejas, in which are preserved several public laundries where residents came to wash clothes.
Bárcena Mayor still retains its old medieval rural character in an unparalleled natural environment, especially the reserves of Saja, full of oaks and beeches and inhabited by protected species such as the grouse or the bear. The conservation of nature, its location, and its gastronomic culture, led by the famous mountain stew and meat from game, have made this locality one of the most visited in the whole region.
Most of the houses, from the 16th and 17th centuries, are the rural mountain type with two floors, and a doorway on the ground floor that gives access to the house and a balcony on the upper floor; while the eave roof is held up by beams. The noble houses have a ashlar arch that precedes the arcade, and the most common houses have wooden doors that allow ventilation and interior lighting. The facades are oriented to the south or the east, in order to make the most of the sun, and its sun lounge shows the colorful geraniums. The use of wood is emphasized with the carved beams, pillars and eaves.
The Parish Church of Santa María, from the 17th century and reformed in 1772, is located in the center of town. With a square apse and two naves, it also has a prismatic tower with three levels. Although it is a simple construction, a masonry with ashlars in the corners, it preserves an interesting, decorative baroque altarpiece from the 18th century inside.
In the last years, the wood handicraft that brought so much prosperity in previous centuries has been recovered. They have been opening small shops with pieces of chestnut wood and basketry. Ceramics and leather works can also be purchased. It is therefore, not difficult to see the different craftsmen working at the door of their establishment.
A good time to visit Bárcena Mayor can be around the beginning of the fall, when you can listen in nature to the bellowing of the deer, an impressive spectacle, or maybe even see one. We recommend that you respect these animals and watch from afar.