Located in a desolate place of the foothills of the Sierra de Pela, not without beauty and magic, Caracena is one of the surviving corners of an authentic lost world; a world, which even today, after centuries, remains moored, immutably, to that imaginary port shaped like an ivory horn, by which the ancient Greeks thought dreams were coming.
Actually, it is still a dream to reach a place so isolated, and yet so rich in nuances.
Incredible, on the other hand, seems the detail that a place of such characteristics, creditor of so much history and so many associated mysteries, barely has legends and traditions that, by force of repeating from generation to generation, Justice - sometimes so blind and unfair as History - has consented to grant a simple, but objective, dowry of reality.
Part of that dowry, and in the absence of new discoveries that expand it and make it definitely attractive for that interested branch of Science, which is Archeology, is in a nearby place, which responds to the name of Los Tolmos, where that pre or protohistoria, wanted to preserve for the future the remains of a town of the Bronze Age.
From the time corresponding to the Roman conquest, it is known that they used as an important means of communication, the canyon formed, jointly, by two masters of the sculptural workshop of Mother Gaia: the river that bears the same name as the town, and that artist , sometimes endowed with a devilish genius called deer who, surely from the nearby and unfathomable termestine caverns, undertook from the genesis the patient polishing and finishing off the work that the other began.
Heirs of the Romans, the Arabs also used this route, the passage of Almanzor being known during the realization of numerous of the reasons undertaken against the Christian kingdoms located further north.
To the point that, according to the most widespread legend and commented by neighbors and foreigners, the name of the town should, in fact, be due to the lament of the Saracen commander who, which Boabdil in reference to Granada, lost the square when the Christians took advantage of the fact that the garrison was having dinner.
Expensive dinner, then, for a place that, despite everything, had considerable importance from the nebulae of the twelfth century, in which they were beginning to glimpse enough signs to predict the reality of a Reconquest that would culminate two centuries later with the Catholic Monarchs and the famous tears of the aforementioned Boabdil.
From the twelfth century they are also the two magnificent examples of Romanesque temples that, in an enviable state of conservation, have survived centuries of a national history, which has known the vicissitudes of more wars than times of bonanza, to the point that The comment was famous that said that there had been a generation of Spaniards who had not known a war: the church of Santa Maria and the church of San Pedro.
Being contemporary, it is certainly disconcerting to observe the characteristics of both. The one in Santa María, simple, with a square nave, rough tower and lattices of probable Mudejar origin, with hardly any more ornaments and little decoration. The one of San Pedro, National Monument that, among other characteristics, offers one of the best arcaded galleries in the whole province; Silent motifs and similar themes, although of lower quality, which can be seen in the church of Santa María de Tiermes, detail by which some historians assume the same school, but a different executing teacher.
It is in this church, where mystery lovers find compost for all kinds of arguments and theories aimed at offering a supposed relationship with the Temple. Actually, there is no historical evidence, not since it demonstrates its presence in the place, which would not be far-fetched, but really had something to do with the church of San Pedro. The supporters of such filiation, base ninety percent of his thesis, on two specific objects: the strange figure that stands out in his apse, and that at first glance has nothing to do with the hunting description of the wild boar hunt that is observed in the sequence that precedes it, and the fragments of a sepulchral slab, which are preserved inside the temple.
The figure in question is identified with the famous Templar Baphomet, although there are authors who observe certain similarities with another figure no less enigmatic and also related to the esotericism inherent to the solstices: Janus. There are those who also observe, a probable but archaic representation of that trinitarian mystery referred to the ages of man.
But it would be unfair to talk about a place like Caracena, and leave aside that other part, human, endearing and vital, that make up its many nuances. Like the vision of cattle grazing peacefully in the mountains and streams adjacent to the town, guarded by the attentive gaze of the shepherd, from whose experience history could make good use of numerous anecdotes that he ignores and that he would be happy to tell.
The middle-aged woman, furrowed with wrinkles and snowy streaks in her hair, promptly tending clothes on a small meadow covered with bushes, located next to the indented and unrecognizable ruins of what was once a hospital for pilgrims. The almost perfect cube of what should be a national monument, the medieval prison, the detachment of whose owner leads to assume that over time, their ashlars will become part of that crumbling pile of historical rubble that dot the province. The vines hanging from the balcony, waiting for the moment to turn into liquid gold that spills gently down the throat of its owner.
The river, sliding impassively to the bottom of the ravines, sweetly escorted by the whisper of the poplars that guard its banks. The excursion to the nearby castle, one of the best preserved in the province, with its double defensive perimeter, which still holds the ghostly authority of one of its most famous owners - Bishop Carrillo - and from whose walls, according to bad languages, Saracens prisoners were torn up.
The sad and tired look of the dog, lying in the sun next to the vain of a long wooden door, double leaf and ancestral aftertaste, barely respected by time and woodworm. The hermitage of the Virgen del Monte, in complete solitude located on the outskirts of the town, waiting for the arrival of the third Sunday of June when the pilgrims lower their shoulders to the headline, whose image, abandoned the Romanesque majesty, receives, gothic standing to own and strangers in the altar of the church of San Pedro.
Not to mention the remains of another small church, whose ruins someone took advantage of to raise a shed in which to collect cattle and keep farm tools, and whose Virgin title, that of the Star, small but majestic, languishes behind of a showcase in the monastery of San Juan de Duero, next to the fragment of a gravestone that once covered the grave of a Jew named Abraham Satabi ...
History and nuances: Caracena, a place you can't miss.
NOTICE: Originally published on my blog SORIA WAYS TO WALK. Both the text and the accompanying photographs are my exclusive intellectual property. The original entry, where you can verify the authorship of juancar347, can be found at the following address: https://juancar347.blogspot.com/2009/11/retorno-caracena.html
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Original content by @juancar347
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