One of the oldest towns around, Sopuerta housed for centuries a kind of regional Parliament where representatives from every municipality in the county met to discuss and pass common laws
The former Abellaneda House of Assembly held those reunions that may be regarded as an early form of democracy.
The Assembly has now been turned into a museum that – together with a hermitage, a former county prison and an ancient inn for representatives – makes up a complex of unique beauty.
As if to underpin the allure of the place, a Roman road dating from the first century passes through town. The route connected coastal Castro Urdiales to landlocked Herrera de Pisuerga (Palencia) and used to be filled with merchants bound for the harbour, laden with goods from the wheat-rich inner lands.
In addition to charming views, the history of Sopuerta is credited with excellent samples of architectural heritage. Beci district, right behind the museum, presents bucolic scenes of scattered cottages amidst exuberant nature, the quintessence of a Basque rural town. A great many house-towers can bee seen throughout town, still holding out against time in living testimony to bloodthirsty factional wars.
As in other parts of Encartaciones, a bullring lies next to a hermitage (the San Roque chapel) in a setting flanked by palaces and churches. Some of these, like Loizaga Palace or Santa María de Mercadillo Church – which hides Baroque altars – are very much worth a visit.
Mining had a presence in town as well, and its traces survive throughout the former industrial districts of Linde and Alen. At least two furnaces can bee seen next to the mine’s old office building, a nurse’s office, canteens and a few of the miners’ houses.
Do not miss out on this chance to get rid of worries and soak up the tranquillity Sopuerta breathes. You won’t find a better place to bike or walk surrounded by nature and vestiges of an industrial past.
Services / Extra information
- Sopuerta Tourist Information Centre
WHAT TO VISIT
- Las Encartaciones Museum
- Old calcining kilns
WHERE TO EAT
- Basilio Tavern Restaurant
- Mendiondo Restaurant
- Mendian Zaldiz Horse Club