The capital of the old Alfoz de Lara, on the banks of Arlanza, takes its name from the decapitados of its founder and vindicates, at present, its prehistory and its influence as regional capital of the Sierra de la Demanda. It is an exciting story that deserves to be known and should have an Interpretation Center in this town.
Plan your visit to Salas de los Infantes
In the section of What to see in Salas de los Infates we detail the scattered and scarce interesting places; its small museum of dinosaur is the most interestng spot in the town. The most attractive of this legendary locality are its surroundings specially all the active turism activities and the hicking routes in the Natural Park of the Glaciar Lagoons of Neila. Those we come back on the way to Zaragoza can see the Numancia Siting nearby the city of Soria. Those coming back to Madrid can stop for two hours at Covarrubias and Lerma. In our page Sleep and Eat in Salas de los Infantes we explain you the best local dishes and hotels.
The region of Salas de los Infantes is rich in prehistoric and archaeological sites of the Paleolithic, Bronze Age, Iron Age, Roman remains, as well as sites with remains of dinosaurs from the Cretaceous period.
The Romans locate in this area to the Celtiberian tribe of the Pelendones, who must have been the inhabitants of the castro on a nearby hill. The Romans built a road and established a settlement on the banks of the Arlanza River.
In between the years 866 and 910 the region was conquered by the troops of the King Alfonso III of Leon. It has been speculated that the one in charge of defending the area, the gentleman Gustios González, ordered one of his knights, called Vito, to build a hill fort or fortress to protect the town, popularizing with the name of its first occupant “Castro – Vito “that will become Castrovido.
The town of Salas was founded in the year 974 by Gustios González at the request of Count García Fernández; being granted one of the first fueros. The sons of Gustios were the protagonists of the famous legen of the Seven Infants of Lara considered one of the most importat epic tales of the Castilian Middle Ages, having numerous curiosities about the mentality and practices of the noble families of the period. This was picked up by the historian Don Ramón Menéndez Pidal. Because of the fame it reached, the story was added “from the infants” (de los infantes) to the name of the town.
In the year 1002 the Muslim leader Almanzor attacked Salas and then tried to subdue the warriors of Castillo de Castrovido, suffering one of his first defeats there, as he did not manage to take it and had to retire with the booty obtained.
In 1380 the knight Pedro Fernández de Velasco got the proviledge of the Kinf to build in the territory the Castle of Castrovido a mayorazgo in favor of his son and descendants; mayorazgo that would register again in 1458 and that would assure the membership of Salas de los Infantes to the Casa de Velasco, which would hold the title of Constable of Castile until the disappearance of said position in the 19th century.
Through Salas passes the road that connects the city of Burgos with those of Soria and Zaragoza. For what has been a disputed place during the wars that have had a scenario in that province. Specially when the city of Burgos was strongly guarded by the French between 1808 and 1813. That is why it was chosen in 1813 by the Marquis of Barriolucio to establish the so-called Junta Superior of the province of Burgos, from which he promoted the activities of the guerrillas. In 1836 it received the visit of the itinerant expedition of the carlist general Gomez.
When visiting the city you can still see some big stone houses and typical nooks such as the Main Squarewhere the Dinosaur Museum is located (previously called Museo Arqueológico y Paleontológico) that had its origin in the colection of the CAS (Colectivo Arqueológico y Paleontológico de Salas). Inside they exhibit different archaeological findings of Salas de los Infantes and the surroundings. The thing that stands out the most is the discovery of 2003 of a fossilized footprint of theropods in Costalomo. It is considered as one of the biggest prints in the actuality. In 2011 it was confirmed that the dinosaur skeleton found some years ago was a new species now called Demandasaurus Darwin. Among other curiosities you can see a observe a dinosaur nest in real size, with babies included.
Following the visit to the old town, around the Church of Santa María, you will find many mountain houses of conical chimneys around small paved squares.
The Church of Santa María is preceded by a rustic staircase opposite to which anthropomorphic sepulchers have been installed. The temple is a gothic building with a powerfull tower and has been strongly restored. A few curious sentences are written on the facade: “In the house of the swearing will not lack misfortune” and “The curse of the mother burns and destroys children and houses”.
The temple has a Latin cross plan, with three naves and a ribbed vault. The main altarpiece is also Renaissance from the second half of the 16th century, influenced by Berruguete. The altarpiece consists of a bench and three bodies with three streets and four steps, finished in an attic with Calvary. On four panels of scenes of the Passion of Christ there are two reliefs with the Presentation of the Virgin in the Temple and the Adoration of the Magi that occupy both sides of the central street where a niche opens, with the hinge towards the outside, in where the beautiful image of the Virgin with the child is placed. In a chest or urn on the side of the altarpiece are preserved the capital remains of the unfortunate infants who give their name to the town.
In the entrance to the town, nearby the pont, there is the Santa Cecilia hermitage. The Romanesque doorway of the Church of Mazariegos stands out in its atrium with a beautiful cruise. It is of Gothic style with Romanesque reminiscences. It was rebuilt in the fourteenth century on a building of the twelfth century. The baptismal font is Romanesque. The altarpieces are Baroque from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The altarpiece presides over the image of Santa Cecilia believed to belong to the sculptor Francisco Martínez who worked in the region around 1640.
Some kilometers away, in the north, nearby the mountains we find the Castrovideo Castle which is still under reconstruction so it will be suitable to be visited.
Four kilometers to the south following the N 234, we find Hacinas, a town full of stone houses where there are several fossilized tree trunks of over 120 million years old.
From the square ascends a cobbled slope that leads to the Gothic Church that has a bell tower.
23 kilometers away (northeast) the Hermitage Santa María de Lara, from the VII century is nearby the town Quintanilla de las Viñas and deserves a visit.
To the east extends a mountainous area populated by pine trees whose nucleous is Quintanar de la Sierra. Nearby there are the Necropolis of Revenga and Cuyacabras, the most important of the High Middle Ages.
Towards the north, following the BU822 and the Puerto del Collado, you will reach the Natural Park of the Glacier Lagoons of Neila, a protected area with a rich vegetation of beech, holly and alpine species. The Casa del Parque has been installed in the Church of San Miguel de Neila.
If you take BU 825 from Salas de los Infantes to the northwest, you can visit Barbadillo de los Herreros, which claims the memory of the trade that gives it its name through the Ferrerías Museum.
Fiesta de la Matanza (último domingo d e enero), San Isidro (15 de mayo, con la subasta de productos de la tierra), Fiestas patronales de San Roque y la Asunción (mediados de agosto), Fiesta de Santa Cecilia (22 noviembre) Barrio de Costana.
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