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Art, snow and sun: the Romanesque church of Santa María de Tiermes

Art, snow and sun: the Romanesque church of Santa María de Tiermes

December 2019 · 3 min read · Castile and León

Winters in Castilla, are usually really hard and inclement, but in return, they also leave beautiful and unforgettable prints, whose impressive beauty, generates a feeling of gratitude in the spirit of all those who contemplate them.

In the cold winter months, snowfall tends to be copious, to the point of covering the mesetary fields, of a snow-shroud of snow, which sometimes contrasts sharply with the clay color of the earth.

That same clay color is what characterizes the rock formations that are located at this particular point, in which the borders of three communities are located, which although sisters, retain their own privileges, maintaining their independence without acrimony: Soria , Segovia and Guadalajara.

Belonging to the community of Soria - whose inhabitants, referring to government forgetfulness, often say the same as those of Teruel, which do not exist - the Romanesque church of Santa María de Tiermes, has its roots in the first half of the twelfth century.

It may surprise, initially, to find it isolated, located in the middle of nowhere, like a metaphorical Robinson Crusoe on an island, if not surrounded by ocean sea by its four sides, yes by imposing mountain ranges, currently assaulted by modern mills, which They provide the blessing of wind energy to numerous surrounding villages.

Indeed, located its beautiful arcaded gallery in the direction of that mysterious Sierra de Pela, in whose imposing heights, the popular languages ​​say that the Knights Templar had a hermitage, which still exists above a satellite tracking base of the Air Force Spanish, this old relic seems to acquire a very special hue, when the sun's rays hit the old stones.

Affected the sculpture of its magnificent capitals, for that no less metaphorical cancer that is the weather, as well as for the torrid erosive action of the inclement winds that beat it on all four sides, still show part of that descriptive mythology, which combines the old Symbols with the characteristics of the time.

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In such a way, it is not difficult to notice, together with the familiar foliaceous and fantastic-mythological references with which medieval Christian thought denounced previous cults, the struggle between two gentlemen, an issue that introduces us in part to the details of an era in the one that still dreamed of the consolidation of a kingdom, that of Spain, conquered by the Muslims in the seventh century, when they destroyed the flower and cream of the Visigothic army of King Rodrigo in the famous battle of the Guadalete River.

Unlike other solitary hermitages and churches, the church of Santa María de Tiermes had a good reason to be embedded in this unique place, which today we crave as impressive moorland, because a few meters away, the archaeological site is located of what was one of the great troglodyte cities of the Spanish Celtiberia: Tiermes or Termancia.

Of this mythical city, there is evidence of the passage, on several occasions, of the no less famous gentleman Don Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar, whose historical name is that of Cid Campeador and precisely in this Celtiberian city of Tiermes was where he had the significant epic episode confrontation, with the terrible snake or dragon, named Elpha - curiously, and without offense, this was a more or less common name among medieval women - who says the legend that slept in the underground incognito of the dead city.

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NOTICE: Both the text and the accompanying photographs are my exclusive intellectual property.

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