Covarrubias (Burgos)

Covarrubias, a small town ( municipio ) in the province of Burgos in the Spanish region of Castile -Leon, is also called the "cradle of Castile " because of its long history. Together with the historic villages of Lerma and Santo Domingo de Silos it forms the so-called Arlanza Triangle ( Art Triangle de Arlanza ). The whole place was declared in 1965 a Cultural ( Cultural Bien of Interest ) in the category Conjunto histórico - artístico.


Covarrubias is situated in the valley of the Río Arlanza at an altitude of about 850 meters above sea level. inst nearly 43 km ( driving distance ) south-east of Burgos. Then there are some 24 kilometers west location small town of Lerma and the almost 10 kilometers east of nearby ruins of the monastery of San Pedro de Arlanza. The monastery of Santo Domingo de Silos is located about 20 kilometers southeast.


In the second half of the 19th century up to the year 1940, the place had always over 1,500 inhabitants.


The surrounding area of Covarrubias is dominated by agriculture, with the fruit growing (cherries, nuts and wine) has traditionally played an important role; the site also offered the necessary regional services in the areas of trade and commerce. Meanwhile, the daily and weekend tourism play an important role in the economic life of the community.


The favorable microclimate of the village surrounded by forests has already attracted people in prehistoric times; the Romans fortified the place with a castrum. However, the place itself is a creation of the Visigoth king Chindaswinth (r. 642-653 ), who built a city wall, which was destroyed in the year 737 of the advancing Islamic forces. In the 10th century the Count Fernán González seized († 970 ) of the area around Covarrubias and thus laid the foundation for the independent kingdom from León Castile County.

His son García Fernández ( † 995 ) built the place to the center of a manor district ( infantado ) and gave him his own jurisdiction. In the aftermath Covarrubias received sovereignty over a vast area - he had under his time, 20 monasteries and about 70 farms and small towns with churches. After the death of the Infanta Doña Sancha past the area was temporarily abandoned. Due to the reconquest of Toledo by the Christian armies ( 1080 ), the center of power of the Kingdom of Castile moved there quickly; later ( 1248 ), then to Seville - Covarrubias, however, remained the reputation as the "cradle of Castile ."

In 1256 the marriage of Kristin Håkonsdatter, a young Norwegian princess was, and agreed the married but childless king Alfonso X of Castile and Leon; a year later, Kristina traveled to Spain, but found that the wife of her future husband was pregnant. Then the marriage was with the king's brother, Prince Philip, agreed, held in Valladolid on March 31, 1258. However, the marriage remained childless and Kristina died four years later ( 1262 ) at the age of only 28 years in Seville. She was buried in the collegiate church of Covarrubias.

In the 15th century the local parish church was Gothicised; the Collegiate still received foundations of the nobility and rich merchants. The most important architectural testimony of this period is the built under Philip II mighty city gate from the Late Renaissance, whose rooms were used for a long time as Archives of Old Castile.


  • The almost medieval townscape of Covarrubias is obtained largely unchanged for centuries and is a mixture of half-timbered and stone houses.
  • The supported by buttresses and - with the exception of a stone escutcheon - undecorated Puerta del Archivo del Adelantamiento de Castilla from the period around 1600 is considered as an example of the late Herrera style; Today it houses the local tourist office.
  • The parish church (Iglesia de Santo Tomás Parish ), a Romanesque building of the 12th century, has been completely redesigned in the 15th century. The equipment ( altar screen, organ, etc.) comes from - with the exception of a simple medieval baptismal font - largely from the 18th century.
  • The on all four sides tapered Torreón de Fernán González was built in the 10th century and is the oldest existing building in the village. Near him stands a beautiful stone cross ( crucero ) from the 16th century.
  • The late Gothic former collegiate San Cosme y San Damián located on the outskirts and impresses with its many features. A small museum in the cloister shows works by van Eyck (?), Pedro Berruguete, Gil de Siloé et al.
  • In the Barrio Arrabal is an imposing court column ( rollo jurisdiccional or picota ) from the 16th century. Whether at this sacrosanct place even punishments were carried out is unknown.