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Poza de la Sal (Municipality, Castilla y León, Spain)

Last modified: 2019-01-13 by ivan sache
Keywords: poza de la sal | castil de lences | lences de bureba |
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Presentation of Poza de la Sal

The municipality of Poza de la Sal (338 inhabitants in 2009; 8,190 ha; municipal website) is located in the northeast of the Province of Burgos, 50 km of Burgos. The municipality is made of the villages of Poza de la Sal (254 inhabitants in 2010), Castil de Lences (43 inh.) and Lences de Bureba (44 inh.).

Poza de la Sal is located near a geological site known as the Poza de la Sal diapir; an elliptic depression of 2.5 km x 2 km in size, rich in evaporites, the diapir has been a source of salt (sal) for ages. Around 350 BC, a settlement named Salionca / Salionica existed some 2 km of the today's site of Poza de la Sal. After the Roman conquest, the settlement became the colony of Flavia Augusta; remains of buildings, of a Roman road and of an aqueduct have been excavated, as well as typical funerary monuments known as oikomorfas (Roman types including elements of the pre-existing local culture). The Roman developed new, specific methods of salt extraction that would be used during the next 1000 years.

The settlement of Poza appeared in the 9th century, named after the saltern wells (pozos, from Latin puteum, putea). The village, including the Sts. Justus and Pastor monastery and two churches, was protected by a fortification, part of the defence line of the newly resettled area. A document dated 15 January 937 is the first mention of the salterns; during the early medieval period, the salterns belonged to monasteries (San Pedro de Cardeña, San Salvador de Oña, Las Huelgas de Burgos) and to the Counts, subsequently the Kings, of Castile. Poza de la Sal was the administrative center of an alfoz (group of villages), mentioned for the first time in 1011; including 43 settlements and 60 deserted places, the Alfoz de Poza formed at the end of the 11th century the most of the merindad (new, bigger administrative division) of Bureba, one of the five biggest merindades in the today Province of Burgos.
The today's castle and wall were probably built during the reign of Alfonso VII, following the resettlement of the village in 1135 and its relocation to its today's site. In 1192, the San Pedro de Cardeña monastery abandoned its rights on salt to King Alfonso VIII, as well as the local monastery and church. King Alfonso X attempted to set up in 1255 a Royal monopoly on salterns, which was implemented, although partially, in 1348 by Alfonso XI. In 1298, King Fernando IV transferred Poza de la Sal to Juan Rodríguez de Rojas; one of his descendants was made Marquis of Poza by King Charles I in 1537. In 1564, King Philip II established a Royal monopoly on the sale of salt - but not on the ownership of salterns, that would exist until 1868; the king ordered the building of a salt warehouse while organization of salt extraction was managed by the Community of the Salt Marshes' Heirs, grouping all the owners.
The 17th-18th centuries were the gilded ages of Poza de la Sal; the House of the Royal Salterns was built in 1786-1789, as well as two more warehouses. Charles IV ordered the building of new salterns, canals and warehouses in the less-exploited valley of Las Almendreras. Declining in the late 19th century, salt extraction was eventually stopped in the 1970s. The Poza de la Sal salterns were registered as an Historical Place of Cultural Significance by Royal Decree No. 262 of 22 November 2001.

Poza de la Sal is the birth place of the naturalist and broadcaster Félix Rodríguez de la Fuente (1928-1980). A pioneer in the preservation of the environment in Spain, Rodríguez de la Fuente made the influential TV series El Hombre y la Tierra (The Man and the Earth, 1975-1980), divided into three parts, South America, Iberian Peninsula and North America; the Iberian series included the first animated images of the mysterious Pyrenean Desman (Galemys pyrenaicus). Félix Rodríguez de la Fuente died on 14 March 1980 in an hydroplane accident near Shaktoolik, Alaska, where he was about to film the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.

Ivan Sache, 14 February 2015

Symbols of Poza de la Sal

The flag (photo) of Poza de la Sal is prescribed by a Decree adopted on 22 February 2003 by the Municipal Council, signed on 28 February 2003 by the Mayor, and published on 13 March 2003 in the official gazette of Castilla y León, No. 50, p. 3,808 (text).
The flag is described as follows:

Flag: Quadrangular flag, with proportions 1:1, argent (or white), a vert (or green) bend, of 0.1 the flag size in the upper left corner, and a sable (or black) bend, of the same size as the first one, in the lower right corner. In the middle are placed the shield of arms and crown [the crowned coat of arms] of the village.

Ivan Sache, 14 January 2011

Submunicipal entities

Castil de Lences


Flag of Castil de Lences - Image from the Escudos y Banderas de la Provincia de Burgos website, 14 February 2015

Castil de Lences is a small, isolated village, built around a Romanesque church from the 12th century, one of the oldest of that style in the Province of Burgos, and the Nuestra Señora de la Asunción convent. On 12 February 1282, the widow Sancha de Rojas y Velasco signed the charter establishing the convent (description), in the presence of the powerful abbot of Oña and several church dignitaries. Four nuns from the St. Clare convent in Burgos, which had been founded in 1234, were commissioned to organize the new convent; only the name of the first abbess is known, Gracia López de Callón. The convent has been managed by the Clarisses since then; the today's nuns are specialized in the production and restoration of precious embroidery work.
In late January 2007, Felipe, Prince of Asturias, and his wife Letizia (King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia of Spain since 19 June 2014, respectively) retired for three days in the Castil de Leones convent. This private event was made, locally, public after the coronation of Felipe VI, with little detail, A nun explained that she had been embarrassed when showing to the Prince the very small room he had been allocated; the Prince answered he would not mind since he had been used to sleep in even much smaller places on the vessels of the Royal Navy.
[Diario de Burgos, 20 June 2014]

The flag and arms of Castil de Lences, adopted on 26 February 2000 by the Village Council, are prescribed by a Decree adopted on 8 June 2000 by the Government of the Province of Burgos; signed on 15 June 2000 by the President of the Government, and published on 6 July 2000 in the official gazette of Castilla y León, No. 130, pp. 8,518-8,519 (text).
The symbols are described as follows:

Flag: Quadrangular, in proportions 1:1. Three colours: gold or yellow, red, and blue, arranged as follows: horizontally, 1/10 red, 8/10 yellow and 1/10 red. A blue bend of 2/10 of the flag's side. In the heart of the flag is placed the municipal coat of arms.
Coat of arms: Gules the arms of Castile (a castle or with three towers, the central higher, masoned sable port and windows azure) in chief dexter the arms of Rojas (or five eight-pointed stars azure in saltire) and sinister two wheat spikes or in saltire in base a fess wavy argent. A bordure vert charged with the cordon of St. Francis argent. The shield surmounted with a Royal crown closed.

The arms of the Rojas family are sculpted on the facade of the convent founded by Sancha de Rojas y Velasco (photo).

Ivan Sache, 14 February 2015

Lences de Bureba


Flag of Lences de Bureba - Image from the Escudos y Banderas de la Provincia de Burgos website, 21 February 2015

The flag and arms of Lences de Bureba are prescribed by a Decree adopted on 11 March 1999 by the Government of the Province of Burgos, signed on 29 March 1999 by the President of the Government, and published on 12 April 1999 in the official gazette of Castilla y León, No. 67, pp. 3,883-3,884 (text).
The symbols are described as follows:

Flag: Castilian, vertically tierced argent, azure in the middle. All over a tree proper a snake gules twirled around it and surmounted by three sickles or per pale.
Coat of arms: Azure a bridge argent masoned sable surrounded dexter by a bell tower proper masoned sable with two bells, a heraldic shield and a cross or sinister by a tree proper a snake gules twirled around it in base vert a river azure and argent per pale in chief three sickles or per pale [Crown not mentioned]

The coat of arms represents the St. Eugenia church (photo) and the medieval bridge over river Castil (photo).

Ivan Sache, 21 February 2015