City of Admirals
It may seem surprising, but it is so. Medina de Rioseco, a town situated on the plateau of Castile itself, two hundred kilometers away from the seaside, became the almiralty headquarters of the Castilian kingdom on April 19th, 1424, under its chief admiral’s decision, Alonso Enríquez.
This city, natural capital of the Tierra de Campos, is located forty-five kilometers north of Valladolid, at an altitude of 735 meters (2,411 feets). The Sequillo river, sometimes a floods breeder and usually just a string of water, crosses part of the most modern part of the town.
The inhabitant’s census is over five thousand people. Its economy is based on dry and irrigation farming, tourism, agricultural food industry and above all, the city provides administrative and leisure time services for a vast area.
This land was already inhabited in Neolithic times, however its splendor began in the early 14th century, with its numerous medieval fairs and markets, rich merchants, the dukedom, and the set up of temples and palaces. Artists, architects and artisans came under the trusteeship of the Enríquez family. In the middle of the 17th century king Philip IV granted Rioseco the title of city.
In 1808, the battle of Moclín took place near Medina de Rioseco, a key event since the Napoleonic troops won and were able to access and invade the rest of Spain.
During the first half of the 19th century, the construction of the Canal of Campos ended, and after this the Valladolid-Rioseco railway was created and inaugurated.
The oldest, narrow and uneven streets protect the passers-by from the sun and the cold with long arcades that still maintain the same evocative air they showed in the past, when fairgoers and merchants traded there.
The old part of the city was declared Conjunto histórico (i.e. a very important designation, part of the national system of heritage listing) in 1965, and the city of Medina de Rioseco also has numerous magnificent buildings.
The Museum of Sacre Art of San Francisco. The Church, consecrated in 1520, represents the only remains of a grand convent financed by the Admirals. It is Gothic, with only one nave, a choir at the back and eight chapels. The convent was declared Monumento Histórico Artístico (another important heritage designation) in 1931. Its tribunes are also remarkable, made by the Corral brothers from Villalpando, as well as the stone-made altarpieces made by Miguel de Espinosa, or even the main altarpiece by Fray Jacinto de Sierra. We can also highlight the clay sculptures created by Juan de Juni and the extraordinary collection of Hispanic-Phillipine ivory sculptures from the 17th century.
The Church of Santa Maria de Mediavilla, of Gothic style, with three naves covered by vaults. Gaspar Solórzano directed most of the construction. It was declared Monumento Histórico Artístico on June 4th, 1931. Inside, you can visit the Funerary Chapel of the Benavente family, one of the artistic jewels in Spain. It is decorated with polychrome and gold stucco.
The main retable is from Juan de Juni. The Museum of The Holy Week, located at The Church of Santa Cruz, from the 16th century, is of Classicist style (herreriano), and was built by the architect Felipe de la Cajiga.
It has been wholly restored, and nowadays this church shelters the procesional “pasos” of the Holy Week in Medina de Rioseco, which was declared Fiesta de Interés Turístico Internacional (another honorary and important distinction given to some special events or fiestas in Spain) in 2009.
Rodrigo Gil de Hontañón designed the general plan for the Church of Santiago. He presented the project in 1533. The exterior fronts show different styles: Miguel de Espinosa’s Plateresque style to the south; Gil the Hontañón’s Gothic style to the north; and the main one, Alvaro de Tolosa’s Classicist style. It is a Gothic building and its most surprising feature is its interior brightness and grandeur, emphasized by its vaults height. It was declared Monumento Histórico Artístico on October 8th, 1964.
For the visitor, there are different possibilities to fully enjoy nature and long resting periods, not only within the city itself but also in its surroundings.
In Rioseco you can explore the Canal of Campos, the Mounts Torozos or the route around the river Sequillo.
The Canal of Castile was one of the dream engineering projects of the Enlightenment during the 18th century.
The plan was to create a net of navigable channels to make it easier to ship wool, wine and cereal from the then isolated Castile to the ports of the North of Spain, because Castile was an important center of production for these products at that time.
The flora of the region is unique and the wide Castilian fields form a particular landscape, which is worth seeing in the different seasons, even though it is especially beautiful in autumn, when the channel gets remarkable ochre tones.
The touristic boat “Antonio de Ulloa”, sails regularly from Tuesday to Sunday from the dock in Medina de Rioseco. The trips last an hour and cover 7 km. The timetable may change depending on the season.
The Channel offers other leisure time activities, such as biking and canoeing, which provide the visitor a different way of enjoying the environment.
On the left bank of the dock you can visit “San Antonio”, an old flour mill from the 19th century, which still preserves all of its ancient machinery. They also organize guided tours where you can discern the complex process of cleaning and grinding the wheat.
You should also visit some artistically rich towns nearby, such as Villagarcía, Urueña, La Santa Espina, Villalón de Campos or Montealegre.
Regarding its gastronomy, in Medina de Rioseco you can find old recipes that turn the most simple ingredients into exquisite dishes: roasted lamb, cheese, pork, “embutido” (cold meat), bread and different types of pastries.
Paseo de San Francisco, nº 1
47800 – Medina de Rioseco
+34 983 720 319