Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Tierra de Campos

Our visit to Tierra de Campos (meaning land of fields) has brought us some surprises. Among small villages with adobe houses (a mix of clay, straw and water) and huge cereal fields we found some interesting abandoned places with a story to tell. In addition, the wheather was excellent, making our trip even more enjoyable.

Tierra de Campos is a region located in the north of the province of Valladolid and part of the east of Palencia, in Castile and León (Spain). It has always been dedicated to agriculture, and more precisely to grains, and it is also known for being almost flat in its entire extension. In fact, from some hills you can see many miles away. It´s also typical the adobe, present in many buildings which range from houses to factories going through dovecotes and mills. Most of the villages of the region have less than 300 inhabitants.

Our trip through Tierra de Campos


The first village we visited caught our attention with the ruined tower of the old Iglesia de San Juan (St. John´s church), built in the first years of C.14th and open to the public and in good condition until the end of the 40´s, when it was decided the church had to be dismantled and all its art pieces to be relocated somewhere else. Nowadays the oly remains we can see are the ruins of the tower, a wall and the main gate which dates from the Renaissance.

Storks flying away from the ruins of the tower

The main gate

In addition to the church, we found other ruins in the village. In this case they were the remains of some large adobe building, whose main gate we can see here.


Our next stop was Moral de la Reina, where we found the ruins of another iglesia de San Juan. This one was built in the C.15th, and was heavily rebuilt in the C.18th. Now all there remains are these ruins next to the graveyard.


In Cuenca de Campos we came across an abandoned monastery, but since it is a private property we could not enter.

The monastery seen from "el Conjuradero" watchtower.


Ourt final stop was the abandoned village of Villacreces. It belongs to the village of Santervás de Campos, though its best access is through Villada, a town in Palencia.

Judging from the size of the church tower, Villacreces was an important town long ago. It is known there were 160 inhabitants back in 1828, and there was even a hospital, but the village lost population steadily. In 1970 there remained only 25 inhabitants, and in 1981 the last neighbour abandoned Villacreces. From that moment on, the old neighbours visited the village from time to time, until in 1989 the Mudéjar church was dismantled by the priest of the nearby village of Arenillas de Valderaduey in order to repair his church. That marked the end for Villacreces.

One of the few brick buildings of the village

Ruins of the old hospital

Inside the tower

Since then, all the buildings deteriorated very fast, because the adobe could not resist the passing of time after the roofs collapsed. Now almost every building is practically unrecognizable, and the only well preserved building is the tower of the church, where the wooden stairs to the top and the bells (today gone) can still be seen.

And this is the end of our trip through Tierra de Campos, knowing this region has much more to offer. We appreciate all your comments, and we hope you enjoy this blog from this very first post!

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