Palencia: Wikis


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—  Municipality  —


Coat of arms
Palencia is located in Spain
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
 - Alcalde Heliodoro Gallego Cuesta (PSOE)
 - Total 94.71 km2 (36.6 sq mi)
Elevation 749 m (2,457 ft)
 - Total 82,626
 - Density 872.4/km2 (2,259.5/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 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-Leon. The municipality had a population of 82,626 in 2008.

Palencia contains a few but remarkable historic sights. 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 in higher ground — because of the frequent floodings. The old city walls more than 10 meters high 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 of Castile. The Archeological Museum contains Celtiberian ceramics. Palencia is also famous for the 13th-century church of San Miguel, the San Francisco church and the Benedictine monastery of San Zoilo, housed in an 18th-century rococo structure by Juan de Badajoz. The Calle Mayor (Main Sreet), is a pedestrian and delicious 900 metres long street where many fairy examples of the 18th, 19th and early 20th century architecture can be found.



Under Rome

The Cathedral of Palencia, was built between the XIV and XVI centuries.

The fortified Celtiberian settlement, was rendered as Pallantia (Παλλαντία) by Strabo and Ptolemy (ii. 6. § 50) and the Romans, 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 in the second century BCE and incorporated into the Roman province of Hispania Tarraconensis, in the jurisdiction of 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 fifth-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.

Under the Bishops. In the city itself, the Catholic bishopric of Palencia had been founded in the third century or earlier,[1] assuming its bishop was among those assembled in the third 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 second largest Christ statue in the world, after 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.

Under the Moors. When the Moors arrived in the early eighth 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 Ummayyad 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.

Under the restored Bishops. 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, built in the XIII 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.

View of Cristo del Otero at far.

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. 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, built between 1584 - 1599.

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

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

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


El Salón de Isabel II Park.

Palencia lies in the the north sector of the central spanish plateau, in the middle of the Carrión river valley, near the confluence with the Pisuerga river. The river goes through the town and creates four islands, being the Dos Aguas Island and the Sotillo Island the biggest ones.

Two hills sourround the city on its north-east area. At the closest one stands the huge Jesuschrist statue known as El Cristo del Otero. It is said to be the second biggest Jesuschrist statue in the world after the one of Rio de Janeiro.

Palencia has a big forest of 1 438 h. 6 km away. Inhabitants call it "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.


The region of Palencia has a Continental Mediterranean climate with very cool winters, due to altitude and isolation from maritime influences, chilly winds, including sporadic snowfalls and minimum temperatures usually below 0 °C (32 °F). Fogs are also frequent because of the Carrion river. Summer tends to be warm and nice with temperatures that consistently surpass 25 °C (77 °F) in July and that can rarely reach 30 (86º). Due to Palencia's altitude and dry climate, nightly temperatures tend to be cooler, leading to a lower average in the summer months. Precipitation levels are low, but precipitation can be observed throughout the year.

Principal building of the Diputación Provincial´s Palace.

Summer and winter are the driest seasons, with most rainfall occurring in the autumn and spring.[14]


Palencia's population has slightly grown in the last 10 years, from 78,800 inhabitants in the year 1996 to 82,626 in 2008. The town has historically been an inner immigration centre, mostly during the decades of 1950 - 1970 and has received rural immigrants given its industrial developments. Nevertheless, it is an over-aged population due to youth emigration to bigger cities such as Valladolid, Madrid or Barcelona.

Villandrando College.


University of Palencia

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.


By car

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

The city also has an busy railway station, given its strategical 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.

In 2012, the Spanish high-speed train service, the AVE, will stop at Palencia brining the town at just 1h 20m from Madrid (240 km away). AVE will also bring important changes for the urban development of the town, since it will suppose the burying of the railway that divides Palencia in two separate parts, ending and historical claim of local inhabitants.

Puentecillas, a Roman bridge.

By plane

Valladolid/Villanubla is the closest airport, 50 kilometres away from Palencia.

It offers 3 daily flights to Barcelona, 1 to Valencia, 1 to Paris Orly, 1 to London Stansted, 1 to Brussels, and a number of flights to the Balearic and Canary Islands.

Sustainable Mobility

Palencia is doing some efforts concerning sustainable mobility, such as extending a free bicycle loan system, implementing pedestrian areas at the town center or promoting public transport 100% clean.

Local cuisine

The main speciality of Palencia is lechazo (baby lamb that has only drunk its mother's milk). The lechazo is slowly roasted in a wood oven and served with salad. The menestra de verduras (a mix of vegetables cooked with little pieces oh Spanish ham, onion, garlic and spices) is also very well-known and tasty.

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 (dried bread mixed with paprika, water and garlic slowly cooked for hours) is a beloved dish for cold winter days.

Semana Santa´s feast day in Palencia.

Morcilla is a pigs-blood sausage, a staple country food famous across the Iberian peninsula. Spiced with onions and herbs its most noticeable content is rice (often mistaken for fat by foreigners) which makes it one of the lightest and healthiest products of its kind. In Palencia, the most famous one is the Fuenteadrino's morcilla, including pine kernels.

Despite being an inland province, fish is quite commonly consumed. Brought from the Cantabrian Sea, fish like red bream and hake are a major part of Palencia's cuisine. Rivers from the Cantabric Mountains bring the famous trouts, grilled with bacon, and crayfishes, which are cooked with a thick tomato and onion sauce.

Palencia has a bread to go with every dish, like the delicious 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. The ones that fall under the Designation of Origin Arlanza are becoming very good and similar in taste and quality to those of Ribera del Duero and Toro.

The town owns a particular and proud record: the Spanish ommelette from La Encina Restaurant has been awarded for 4 consecutive year as the best one in Spain.



  1. ^ Flórez, España Sagrada, vol. viii.

See also

External links

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

There is more than one meaning of Palencia discussed in the 1911 Encyclopedia. We are planning to let all links go to the correct meaning directly, but for now you will have to search it out from the list below by yourself. If you want to change the link that led you here yourself, it would be appreciated.

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