Located just 37 kilometers northeast of the city of Segovia in the region of Castilla Y Leon, the Villa de Pedraza, or simply Pedraza is a very good example of what a medieval village is. It is a walled village from 13th century with lots of old large houses where the nobles have lived during the Middle Ages. Declared as a Monumental Complex in 1951, Pedraza is romantically situated 1,073 meters high up on a hill and can be accessed by walking or driving through a small tunnel.
COMING TO PEDRAZA
We have learned about the village from a very nice tourist officer in Segovia; she talked so enthusiast about it that we wanted to see it also for ourselves. And since the village lies in our route back to The Netherlands, we decided to drive here. It was just a 42 kilometers; and and we were able to park our camper by the aquaduct found just on the foothill, about 300 meters to the village entrance. We had a quiet and relaxed overnight stay here on April 24, 2016.
Campsite : Coordinates : N: 41.13216 W: 2.96353
TIME STANDS STILL
Pedraza is a place where time seems to stand still. From the moment we entered the village via its 13th century old tower gate, we readily felt its unusual atmosphere. It looked and smelled old! The gate, which also houses the old town prison is a medieval 13th century building. We could almost see the old horse-driven carriages that filled the narrow street of Calle Real (Royal street) and gathered at the Main Square. The Calle Real is the main street and entry to the village. It is flanked by very old dilapidated large wooden houses on both sides of the streets. A couple of these old buildings are transformed into souvenir and handicrafts shops.
The street leads to the Main Square, which I considered the most authentic medieval square I have ever seen in Spain. It is a square made from remnants and scraps, and materials from demolished buildings. Here we can find the church of St. John the Baptist with its proud tower, the town hall, some restaurants and the remarkable porticoed houses opposite the church. These houses are so old and authentic, and made more charming by the columns built in the later period. Standing in the middle of the square, I had the feeling that I was back in time; I could see the horses tied on the columns of the houses; I could hear the sounds of the church bells summoning the people for worship on a Sunday; I could imagine the events during the bull fighting season; I could see the dwellers flocking in the very same square discussing the issues of great importance to the village; and I could see the nobles in their impressive clothing passing me by. Those were the glorious old times which sometimes I hoped to be a part of!
One of the other main attractions of the village is the castle. This castle is a fortress built in the 13th century. It is now a privately owned museum – the Zuluaga Museum which showcases the works of the painter Ignacio Zuloaga. What is distinctly unique in the castle are its doors. They are covered with pointed nails which was done to protect the castle from invaders.
Although the village is inhabited (less than 500 residents), there are almost no activities here. It is made busy only by visiting tourists like us, who wander around the village and discovering its hidden narrow streets. There are however a few restaurants and shops to accommodate the visiting tourists, and even an accommodating tourist office which also provides a guided tour of the village.
THE HIKE SENDA DELAS TONGUERAS
The following day, before we left he village, hans and I still did a bit of hiking. It was the Senda delas Tongueras, a 3 kilometers hike in Pedraza which begins from the Imperial Eagle Theme Center (Centro Tematico del Aguila Imperial), just 300 meters outside the walled village of Pedraza and ends at the aquaduct, where we parked our RV. It was an easy hike which we did in 2.5 hours. There were good signs along the way; the path was grassy and stony, but very easy to walk on. During the hike, we had wonderful views of the village of Pedraza and also its castle. We did a lot of picture taking; and I left my sunglasses elsewhere which made us walk 1.5 kilometers back to where I left it! After the hike, Hans did some cleaning in the camper, while I went up back to the village to fell its medieval atmosphere and admire its authentic beauty one more time.