Palencia, the great unknown.
Palencia. To come is to return.
First, it is the capital of the province, located to its south. It is also a city that welcomes visitors who will doubtlessly be pleasantly surprised. In addition, the Cristo del Otero which overlooks the city and the Cathedral, the Unknown Beauty, await you. Palencia displays a wide variety of cultural and gastronomic offerings that you will not be able to resist. However, its most remarkable features are its landscape and its peasantry.
In Palencia province you will find Cathedrals, the largest concentration of Romanesque in Europe or lagoons with great biodiversity. Moreover, it is also a province of contrasts; from its large extensions of plains, mountains that exceed 2000m of height rise to the north.
The city that housed the first University in Spain, also hides surprising places. We are waiting for you in Palencia.
First, it is the capital of the province, located to its south. It is also a city that knows how to welcome the visitor, who will be pleasantly surprised. In addition, the Cristo del Otero and the Cathedral of Palencia await you. The Beautiful Unknown is perhaps one of the most beautiful in Spain. Also it has spectacular interior dimensions and fantastic gargoyles with the “photographer” at the head. It is possibly the most visited place of Palencia for the curiosities that it keeps inside. The Cathedral has a guided tour at 12.30pm from Monday to Saturday starting with 5 visitors or more. However, it can also be visited freely, with audio guides. We recommend booking in advance.
Cathedral of Palencia or of San Antolin, its interior is of great beauty, after the sobriety of its exterior.
The temple was raised on remains of the Visigothic period of the seventh century and others from the Romanesque period of the eleventh century. Its construction began in 1321. The works continued throughout the 14th century ending the head, although in the 15th century the initial project was changed. Cruises were duplicated, extending the longitudinal dimensions of the temple. This long construction process generated a rich variety of styles, structure and decoration. The cathedral floor has three naves with the central one being higher than the lateral ones. As a significant differential fact, it has two transepts of different styles: the primitive style ogival and the Gothic-Renaissance one. It emphasizes more its profusely decorated retrochoir which serves as an access to the Romanesque and Visigothic crypt.
Cathedral of Palencia Visiting Hours: From the 1st of May to the 31 of October
Monday to Friday from 10am to 1pm and from 4pm to 6 pm and from 6.35pm to 7.30pm
Saturdays from 10 am to 1.30pm and from 4pm tp 5.30pm and from 6.45pm to 7.30pm
Sundays and holidays from 4.30pm to 8pm
The Triforium is currently the most important element of the guided tours. It is a narrow passageway in the shape of a cross on a higher floor of the Cathedral of Palencia. It was never designed for this purpose but it is of great interest and admiration for the visitor.
Looking up, you will see the dimensions and structure of this level of the Cathedral. From another point of view you can see the Stained Glass, the Nerves and the Vaults.
The Tower is fifty meters of height. The Crypt is the oldest point of the Cathedral of Palencia. Located in the most underground point of the whole building, it is a Visigothic remnant of the second half of the seventh century.
Originally the Cathedral had two other plants as well. Only what we can observe today remains, and it is only partial. On the day of the city’s patron saint, San Antolín, September 2, the tradition is to drink the fountain’s water.
The cathedral comprises some work of El Greco with the Martyrdom of San Sebastian and several other renowned artistic works. The Main Altarpiece stands out as the largest Renaissance altarpiece in all of Castile and León. The Cathedral underwent several changes and additions throughout history by artists of importance. Among them are the sculptor Felipe Bigarny, the painter Juan de Flandes, the sculptor Juan de Valmaseda. Also the sculptor Barroco Castellano Gregorio Fernández, the sculptors Alejo de Vahia and Juan de Tejerina.
The Chapel of the Magi:
Chapel of the 14th century located at the head of the Cathedral of Palencia. It was made by the brothers Juan and Jerónimo Corral de Villalpando.
The Chapel of the Tabernacle
It is often considered the best work of the Cathedral of Palencia. It has a large Renaissance altarpiece made by Juan Ortiz El Viejo and Juan de Valmaseda. At the center of the Chapel of the Tabernacle, The Gothic Virgin dates of the year 1300. Looking straight to the Virgin, you will have on your left and in a high place the sarcophagus of Urraca. She was Queen of Navarre, daughter of the Emperor Alfonso VII and wife of King Navarro Garcia Ramirez. The Cathedral Museum is located in the anteroom. The Chapter Room in the northwest corner of the Cloister that houses the diptych work The Passion of Pedro Berruguete.
It also has a wonderful bas-relief by Felipe Bigarny and a triple sculpture of the one settled in Becerril de Campos, by Alejo de Vahia.
The Sepulcher of Lady Inés de Osorio houses the famous ponytail that one has to pull, according the tradition. It allows one to make a wish, although it is wrong to say that it is Doña Urraca’s ponytail. It actually belongs to the servant of Doña Ines. She is the one who is represented there and to whom the ponytail of the legend truly corresponds.
The curious Gargoyles. We can highlight the famous image of the photographer, gargoyle that is possibly the most photographed image of the Cathedral of Palencia. It was made by the Architect Jerónimo Arroyo in homage to the photographer who made the photographs of all his works.
In the Door of the Kings, a reproduction of the Alien by Ridley Scott can be seen.
These modern images within a construction like the Cathedral of Palencia were made during the rehabilitation of 1996. These images are rather frequent when the Architect does not know the original state of the edificice. In order to communicate this circumstance to future generations and not wanting to “lie” about the originality of the sculpted image, it is completed with an anachronistic image. It allows people to know, years later, that the image is not original.
The use of these images usually respond to the hobby or preferences of the Architect. In the case of the Cathedral of Palencia, the liking for cinema is clear. Specifically the movies directed by Ridley Scott that began the saga Alien in the year 1979.
The curiosities of the Cathedral of Palencia are numerous and located both inside and outside. Also notable, inside the Museum is an image of an Anamorphosis about Carlos V. It is a curious pictorial image, which, when seen from the front, shows us a shapeless stain. But when looking at the frame on its side, through a small hole made in its left side, it clearly shows the portrait of Charles V. Outside the Cathedral, one of the gargoyles is the image of a skeleton in homage to the Cathedral of Paris.
First, it has a wide variety of cultural and gastronomic surprises which you will not be able to resist. While the most remarkable thing is its landscape and its peasantry, another of its jewels is the Diocesan Museum, which houses in its 17 rooms wonders of painting, sculpture and goldsmithing. In addition, great authors such as Pedro Berruguete, Alejo de Vahía, Juan de Flandes and Diego de Siloé, are just some of the artists that we can admire in the museum. It is also complemented by works of goldsmiths of popular artists. Simply a fantastic visit.
First, the Palencia Province houses several Cathedral Churches, the largest concentration of Romanesque in Europe, lagoons with biodiversity. Moreover, with mountains exceeding 2000 meters high and surrounding large extensions of plains, Palencia is a province of contrasts.
The city that housed the first University in Spain also hides surprising places: its Main Street with its arcades, its Plaza Mayor, the facade of Villandrando, the Dársena del Canal, the Cristo del Otero and its main lung, El Monte El Viejo.
With this and much more, we wait for you in Palencia, because Palencia is Esencia.
PROVINCE OF PALENCIA
The Cerrato Palentino is a wavy territory, crowned by several hills, according to which the area was named. It is an extensive region with more than 1700 square kilometers located in south of Palencia.
The Pisuerga River, its tributaries and streams provide freshness and greenery with its riverside vegetation. Here the ocher tones dominate, allowing one to see among them the green of pines, holm oaks and kermes oaks. Between the hills and crops that dominate the line of the moorland stand out villages we suggest you visit.
ROUTE OF THE INTERIOR CERRATO
This route invites us to visit some of the least known although highly interesting areas of the Cerrato. We begin our tour in the monumental village of Palenzuela. There stand several monuments such as its medieval castle and the magnificent churches of Santa Eulalia and San Juan Bautista. Also we will have a look at the Arco de la Paz, vestige of a gate leading to the town. Moreover, one should visit the San Francisco convent and the Hermitage of Our Lady of Allende the River. From Palenzuela, on another occasion, we can make the Carlos V Route, which includes the villages of Torquemada and Dueñas.
Afterward we leave Palenzuela after crossing the Arlanza River and we cross the 622 national road to Villahán and Tabanera. Arriving to the village of Antigüedad, where after visiting its church of Our Lady of the Assumption, we will take the detour to the entrance of the town heading down towards Espinosa and Cobos to finally get closer to the Hermitage of Our Lady of Garón.
ROUTE OF THE RIBERA DEL PISUERGA
With this route we suggest you, fellow traveler, getting to know the north of the Cerrato. So we begin our trip in Astudillo, where we can enjoy a rich Artistic and Historical set. The Arch of San Martín and the Remains of the Castillo de la Mota (Property of Cultural Interest) are what remains of the old fortified town. We can visit the Monastery of Santa Clara, which is partly built on what used to be the Palace of King Pedro I. Today, an interesting Museum is located there.
In addition, the churches of Santa María, San Pedro and Santa Eugenia are conserved within the town. The Santa Eugenia church has become a large local museum. It displays part of the heritage of the aforementioned temples. One must visit the Cross Hermitage, which treasures the steps of Holy Week and the Hermitage of Torre Marte. Keep on strolling through the streets with emblazoned houses and go up to La Mota to see some wineries.
The river Valdavia crosses the village of the same name. In this area you will find oaks, junipers and various shrubs along with a variety of medicinal and aromatic plants. Wild boars, foxes, wolves, roe deer, coots, herons and ducks are some species that we can find in this area.
Following the course of the Valdivia River, we begin our route in Congosto de Valdavia. To the south of this town is the Dehesa de Tablares, where the Church of the Transfiguration is located. Also, it has an interesting Romanesque main front from the 13th century. In addition, it has two lateral reliefs, one with the Pantocrator and the other with the Calvary. Finally, images of Saints Pedro and Pablo can be seen on the sides of this facade.
We will continue to Puebla de Valdavia, Buenavista de Valdavia, Polvorosa and Renedo de Valdavia in whose church we will see an interesting baptismal font. Then we head towards Arenillas de San Pelayo to see the remains of the church and monastery of Saint Pelayo. Its three apses, the capitals of the toral arch and chapter house are a Romanesque work from the 12th and 13th centuries.
TIERRA DE CAMPOS, LAND OF CHURCHES AND MUSEUMS
The surprises offered by Tierra de Campos Palentina are many and varied. At first sight, it appears to us as an apparently homogeneous geographical space. With a closer look, its landscape, light and volumes are rich in contrasts, fluctuating according to the different seasons.
Here, the sunlight, the blue of the sky, the sunrises and sunsets are unique. Adding to this a great variety of temples, museums, and places of interest, your visit is more than justified. This rich diversity ranges from the great works of art by painters such as Pedro Berruguete, to the beautiful and unique dovecotes, an example of rural architecture in which adobe is the essential element of construction.
There are farmland cereal, fields laden with art, municipalities that deserve a careful and restful visit. Additionally, these lands are abundant in artistic works, most of them guarded inside their temples. There we will find first-order pieces, or as they say colloquially “with names and surnames”. Other temples tell us about the history of each locality.
Of all the styles and times there is something interesting in the Tierra de Campos Palentina. We suggest you take the time to walk through the streets and squares where these monuments and museums are located. For example you can find works made for kings, nobles, bishops, brotherhoods, civil orders. Look for simple signs of the passage of time and popular ethnography and culture while enjoying nature and landscapes.
We begin our tour dedicating a day to Palencia capital. There we can visit the Cathedral and the Cathedral Museum, which constitute a review of History and Art. The museum is installed in the anteroom and chapter house. In the inside we can find Greco’s San Sebastián, works of Mateo Cerezo, Alejo de Vahía, etc. It is completed with a visit to the San Antolín Crypt of the Visigothic and Romanesque era.
We can get to know more about the sacred art of the province without leaving the capital. We can see the Diocesan Museum of Sacred Art located in the Episcopal Palace. Here, works around the provincial scope are kept, some of them by authors such as Pedro Berruguete, Juan de Flandes, Felipe Vigarny, Alejo de Vahía, etc. Also with Romanesque stacks, altarpieces, goldsmith’s works, etc.
This experience can be extended with the visit to the Museum of Palencia. Located in the Casa del Cordón, it exhibits different materials found in archaeological excavations carried out throughout the province. Prehistoric materials of the Bronze Age, ceramic objects and Celtiberian goldsmiths; funeral steles, portraits, bronze sculptures, coins and different remains of daily life from Roman times. For example, Visigoth, Romanesque and Gothic remains can be seen in the different rooms of this museum. Visiting the Diaz Caneja Foundation would be a good counterpoint to the Museum of Palencia. There we will learn more about the artistic legacy of this painter.