The Cradle of Castile, that’s what they call Covarrubias. And perhaps you are thinking that, although the village is lovely and oozes centuries of history, to be the Cradle seems a little exaggerated, right? Well, let’s see if it is or not.
It seems that here there were settlements in ancient times, but the pure seed of Covarrubias is Visigoth, and its foundation was the work of King Chindasuinth. After the Arabs were in the area, the rebirth of the village would start in the tenth century.
That’s when Count Fernán González and his son García get this story started. García bought the village from the monks and founded the Infantado of Covarrubias, an enormous territory which was going to have its own justice and was not going to answer to anybody. And when we say enormous, we mean that it also included part of the actual provinces of Alava, La Rioja, Palencia, Burgos and Cantabria. Are you starting to understand the thing about the Cradle now?
The Infantado was very powerful, and an authentic mine of good stories: for example, it is important that you know that in the Tower of Fernán González, the Count walled up his own daughter Urraca as a punishment for her love affair with a shepherd. And there are also testimonies that the same Count, once dead would still shake noisily in his grave every time a significant battle approached.
Another story we have to tell you is that of a Nordic and sweet princess who died of melancholy. Christina, this was the name of the daughter of the king of Norway, arrived here to marry Alfonso X, but things got mixed up, Alfonso backed down, and a solution had to be found so King Haakon would not get offended. So the princess ended up marrying Prince Felipe, who ruled Covarrubias in the thirteenth century. After years of languishing in a Sevillian Palace due to nostalgia for her land, Christina passed away, and her remains lie today in a Gothic tomb located in the Collegiate Church of Covarrubias.
Many of the wonders of the place are more recent, from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries: From the houses with the traditional wooden framework, such as the one of Doña Sancha, to the Church of Santo Tomás or the Archivo del Adelantamiento de Castilla, a building from the times of Felipe II.
Felipe’s personal doctor was, precisely, from Covarrubias. The Divine Values, that was his nickname and he was called like this for his expertise and knowledge. He ordered to demolish the walls of the town when the plague swept the population. He said that the best solution was to ventilate the streets so that the virus would fly away.