Palencia

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Palencia
Municipality
Montaje Palencia.jpg
Flag of Palencia
Flag
Coat of arms of Palencia
Coat of arms
Palencia is located in Spain
Palencia
Palencia
Location in Spain
Coordinates: 42°1′N 4°32′W / 42.017°N 4.533°W / 42.017; -4.533Coordinates: 42°1′N 4°32′W / 42.017°N 4.533°W / 42.017; -4.533
Country  Spain
Autonomous community  Castile and León
Province Palencia
Comarca Tierra de Campos
Government
 • Alcalde Alfonso Polanco (P.P.)
Area
 • Total 94.71 km2 (36.57 sq mi)
Elevation 749 m (2,457 ft)
Population
 • Total 82,626
 • Density 870/km2 (2,300/sq mi)
Demonym Palentino, na.
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 34001–34006
Dialing code 979
Official language(s) Spanish
Website Official website

Palencia (Spanish pronunciation: [paˈlenθja]) is a city south of Tierra de Campos, in north-northwest Spain, the capital of the province of Palencia in the autonomous community of Castile and León. The municipality had a population of 81,522 in 2011.

Geography[edit]

Palencia lies in the north of the central Spanish plateau, the Meseta Central, in the middle of the Carrión river valley, near the river's confluence with the Pisuerga, which flows through the town and creating four small islands, Dos Aguas and Sotillo being the largest. Palencia is located approximately 190 km north of Madrid, and some 40 km north of the regional capital of Valladolid.

Two hills surround the city in its north-east area. On the closest stands the 30 metre high statue of Christ known as El Cristo del Otero, the fourth tallest statue of Christ in the world.[1]

Palencia has a substantial forest of 1,438 hectares (3,550 acres) 6 km away on a plateau above the city, known locally as the "Monte el Viejo" ("Old Mount"). This park is a popular amusement area for the locals.

The Canal de Castilla runs close to the city.

Palencia's municipality includes the village of Paredes de Monte, 14 km away.

Climate[edit]

The region of Palencia has a Continental Mediterranean climate with very cool winters, due to altitude (749 m) and isolation from maritime influences, chilly winds, including some days of snow in the winter and minimum temperatures usually below 0 °C (32 °F). Fogs are also frequent because of the Carrion river. Summer tends to be warm with temperatures that consistently surpass 25 °C (77 °F) in July and that can rarely reach 30 °C (86 °F). Due to Palencia's altitude, nightly temperatures tend to be cooler, leading to a lower average in the summer months. Precipitation levels are moderated, but precipitation can be observed throughout the year (except July and August). Summer and winter are the driest seasons, with most rainfall occurring in the autumn and spring.[14]

Principal building of the Diputación Provincial´s Palace.

History[edit]

Ancient era[edit]

The fortified Celtiberian settlement is mentioned as Pallantia (Παλλαντία) by Strabo and Ptolemy,[2] a version possibly of the Celtic root pala ("plain"). It was the chief town of the Vaccaei, although Strabo wrongly assigns it to the Arevaci. The city was starved into submission by the Romans in the 2nd century BCE and incorporated into the province of Hispania Tarraconensis, in the jurisdiction of Colonia Clunia Sulpicia (modern Clunia). Though the little Roman garrison city was an active mint, it was insignificant compared to the Roman villas of Late Antiquity in the surrounding territory. Archeologists have uncovered the remains of Roman villas at La Olmeda and at the "Quintanilla de la Cueza", where the fragments of mosaic floors are spectacularly refined. According to the 5th-century Galician chronicler Idatius, the city of Palencia was all but destroyed (457) in the Visigothic wars against the Suevi: the date falls in the reign of Theodoric II, whose power center still lay far to the east, in Aquitania. When the Visigoths conquered the territory, however, they retained the Roman rural villa system in establishing the Campos Góticos.

Bishopric[edit]

In the city itself, the Catholic bishopric of Palencia had been founded in the 3rd century or earlier,[3] assuming that its bishop was among those assembled in the 3rd century to depose Basilides, bishop of Astorga. With the arrival of effective Visigothic power, official Arians and opposition Catholics disputed the bishopric of Palencia. Priscillian's ascetic heresy, which originated in Galicia, spread over the Tierra de Campos ruled by the Arian Visigoths, and was opposed by Toribius, Bishop of Astorga. Maurila, an Arian bishop established in Palencia by Leovigild, followed King Reccared's conversion to Catholicism (587), and in 589 he assisted at the Third Council of Toledo.

Cristo del Otero, by Víctorio Macho: the fourth largest Christ statue in the world, after Christ the King in Świebodzin, Poland, Cristo Redentor in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Cristo de la Concordia in Cochabamba, Bolivia.

Bishop Conantius, the biographer of Saint Ildephonsus, assisted at synods and councils in Toledo and composed music and a book of prayers from the Psalms; he ruled the see for more than thirty years, and had for his pupil Fructuosus of Braga.

Muslim rule and bishopric restoration[edit]

When the Moors arrived in the early 8th century, resistance was fragmented among bishops in control of the small walled towns and the territorial magnates in their fortified villas. A concerted resistance seems to have been ineffective, and the fragmented system crumbled villa by villa. Palencia was insignificant: Moorish writers only once cite the border city in the division of the provinces previous to the Umayyad dynasty. The diocese of Palencia was but a name— a "titular see"— until Froila, Count of Villafruela, succeeded in retaking the area of the see in 921, but the true restorer of Christian power was Sancho III of Navarre. At Palencia El Cid married his Ximena in 1074.

The first prelate of the restored see (1035) is said to have been Bernardo, whom Sancho gave feudal command over the city and its lands, with the various castles and the few abbeys.

San Francisco Church was built in the 13th century.

Bernardo was born in France or Navarre, and devoted himself to the reconstruction of the original cathedral built over the crypt of the local Saint Antolín (Antoninus of Pamiers), the patron saint of Palencia, who is venerated here alone, with his Ferias, a moveable feast in September. The cathedral was rebuilt again three centuries later. Its principal treasures were relics of Antoninus, formerly venerated in Aquitania, whence they had been brought.

Alfonso VI conferred many privileges on Bernardo's successor, Raimundo. Pedro of Agen in France, one of the noted men brought in by Bishop Bernardo of Toledo, succeeded Bishop Raimundo. A supporter of Queen Urraca, he was imprisoned by Alfonso I of Aragon. In 1113 a provincial council was held in Palencia by Archbishop Bernardo to quell the disorders of the epoch. The long and beneficent administration of Pedro was succeeded by that of Pedro II, who died in Almeria and was succeeded by Raimundo II. Bishop Tello took part in the battle of Las Navas de Tolosa in 1212, where Palencia won the right to emblazon the cross over its castle.

Later bishops[edit]

In 1410 Bishop Sancho de Rojas fought at the battle of Antequera, where the Infante Ferdinand, regent of Castile and León, defeated Mohammed VII, king of Granada, and in the Treaty of Caspe he aided Ferdinand to secure the crown of Aragon. Saint Vincent Ferrer preached in Palencia, so successfully converting thousands of Jews, the Catholic sources tell, that he was permitted to employ the synagogue for his new-founded hospital of San Salvador, later joined to that of S. Antolin.

Iglesia de la Compañía was built between 1584–1599.

The successive bishops of Palencia, who, as feudal lords, were invariably members of the noble families, include:

  • Munio de Zamora
  • Sancho de Rojas
  • Rodrigo de Velasco (died 1435)
  • Pedro de Castilla (1440–1461)
  • Rodrigo Sanchez de Arévalo, author of a history of Spain in Latin (1466)
  • Iñigo López de Mendoza (1472–1485)
  • Fray Alonso de Burgos (1485–1499)
  • Bishop Fonseca (1505–1514)
  • La Gasca (1550–1561)
  • Zapata (1569–1577)
  • Alvaro de Mendoza
  • Gabino-Alejandro Carriedo (1923–1981)

Main sights[edit]

El Salón de Isabel II Park.

The Roman bridge across the Carrión river was replaced by the medieval one of three arches: the old section of the city is on the left bank, the modern suburban development is on the right bank: it seems likely that the first inhabitants settled on the right bank, and later moved to the left bank—set on higher ground—due to frequent flooding.

La Olmeda Roman Villa (Villa Romana de La Olmeda) is a well-preserved 4th century AD house. With 27 rooms and 3,000 square metres of space, it is best known for its mosaics, the most important of which depict great mythological scenes and can be found in its main hall. Several of the rooms in the villa also contain the remains of the Roman hypocausts. In addition to the main building, the villa site is surrounded by other Roman ruins such as numerous burial sites and a set of thermal baths.

The old city walls were more than 10 meters high and can still be traced; the alamedas or promenades along them were laid out in 1778. The flamboyant Gothic Cathedral, built from 1321 to 1504 and dedicated to San Antolín, stands over a low vaulted Visigothic crypt; its museum contains a number of important works of art, including a retablo of twelve panels by Juan de Flandes, court painter to Queen Isabella I of Castile. The Archeological Museum contains Celtiberian ceramics.

Palencia is also famous for the 13th-century church of San Miguel, the San Francisco church. The Calle Mayor (High Street), is a pedestrian, 900-metres long street where many excellent examples of the 18th, 19th and early 20th-century architecture can be seen.

Thirteen kilometres south of the city, in the village of Baños de Cerrato, is the oldest church on the peninsula, a 7th-century basilica dedicated to Saint John and built by the Visigoth King Reccaswinth (died 672).

Demographics[edit]

Palencia's population has increased in the last 10 years, from 78,800 inhabitants in the year 1996 to 81,552 in 2011. The town has historically been a centre for immigration from other parts of Spain, particularly between 1950 and 1970 receiving rural immigrants helping industrial development. Nevertheless today, it has a population with more retirees than the average, due to youth emigration to larger urban centres such as Valladolid, Madrid or Barcelona.

Villandrando College.

Education[edit]

The first university in Spain, the studium generale of Palencia was founded by Alfonso VIII in 1208; however, the school did not long survive him. It has been suggested that the 13th-century poet Gonzalo de Berceo studied at the University during its brief existence. The teachers from Palencia were drawn to the thriving University of Salamanca.

Transport[edit]

By car[edit]

Palencia is well-linked to other town and cities of Spain by roads and highways:

Highways

A - 62 Valladolid / Madrid

A - 65 Benavente/ León / Asturias / Galicia

A - 67 Santander

CL - 610 => A -62 Burgos / Bilbao / Zaragoza / Barcelona

A street of Palencia.

Autonomic Roads

C - 613 Sahagún

C - 615 Guardo / Riaño

C - 619 Aranda de Duero / Soria

In addition, Palencia has an bus station located next to the train station. ALSA and other bus companies links Palencia to many cities and town from Spain and it is specially useful for travelling to places not linked by train, such as the south-west of Spain.

By train[edit]

The city also has a busy railway station, given its strategic location as a hub for north and north-west railway connections in Spain. There are several services to Valladolid, Madrid, León, Burgos, Vitoria and Santander, 3 daily trains to Barcelona, Bilbao, A Coruña, Santiago, Oviedo and Zaragoza, 1 daily train to Albacete and Alicante.

Puentecillas, a Roman bridge.

Air transportation[edit]

Valladolid Airport is the closest airport to the city at 45 kilometres. There are daily flights to Barcelona, Valencia, Paris, Brussels and other destinations.

Sustainable mobility[edit]

Palencia is making efforts in the area of sustainable mobility, such as extending a free bicycle loan system, implementing pedestrian areas in the town center and promoting environmentally sustainable public transport.

Local cuisine[edit]

The main speciality of Palencia is lechazo (suckling lamb). Traditionally suckling lamb is roasted slowly in a wood oven and served with salad. "Menestra de Verduras" is a mixture of vegetables cooked with chopped pieces Spanish ham, onion, garlic and spices is another traditional dish.

Palencia also offers a great assortment of lettuces, leeks, wild mushrooms, peppers, asparagus, endives and beans. Some legumes, like white beans and lentils are particularly good and cooked in hot dishes with chorizo.

The sopa de ajo, a traditional winter garlic soup dish, made with bread mixed with paprika, water and garlic and cooked slowly. A raw egg is often whipped into the soup as it is served.

Semana Santa´s feast day in Palencia.

Morcilla is a form of Black Sausage made from pig's blood. In Castille the pig blood is often flavoured with pieces of pork fat, onions herbs and spices; the addition of rice gives a distinctive texture and flavour.

Despite being an inland province, fish is quite commonly consumed. Brought from the Cantabrian Sea, fish such as red bream and hake are a major part of Palencia's cuisine. Salted cod is another common dish.

Rivers from the Cantabric Mountains bring the famous trout, grilled with bacon. Crayfish is cooked with a thick tomato and onion sauce.

Palencia has a variety of different breads including fabiolas, roscas or panes.

The pastries and baked goods from the province of Palencia are well-known. Rice pudding and leche frita or fried milk (a mix of milk, sugar, flour and cinnamon with a delicious and jelly-like texture) are favourite desserts.

Palencia is also a producer of wines. Those that are certified as Designation of Origin Arlanza are improving with a taste similar to those of Ribera del Duero and Toro.

Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ See list of statues by height.
  2. ^ Ptolemy, ii. 6. § 50.
  3. ^ Flórez, España Sagrada, vol. viii.

External links[edit]