Santa Cruz de Campezo en - arabaturismo
The beech, gall oak and oak woods, ruins of old monasteries, mills and hermitages are just some of its features.
These lands were inhabited in at least 18 BC by the Varduli tribe, who were originally from the Vascones, and who were subject to the Arab invasion in 823. The valley was rebuilt during the reign of Alfonso VI of Castile, and by the 12th century the town was already a walled fortress.
Because of its strategic location, it was disputed over by the kingdoms of Navarre and Castile.
The castle, the walls and the gates that protected the town were gradually dismantled during the War of Independence and the Carlist War, leaving only remnants of the town walls in the square and the names of the streets that went up to the castle. Its historic centre is made up of a main street crossed by alleyways and steep passageways.
The square is in the centre of the town, linking the old town with the modern one and is where the Town Hall stands. Notable among its old houses are the rounded arches, the coats of arms and the shields that appear on some of the façades, such as those of the Uriarte, Diaz de Antoñana and the Estenegas.
The 14th century church of the Assumption of Our Lady, declared an Historic Monument of Euskadi, stands out among the town’s historic-artistic heritage. A pointed Gothic arch resting on six pairs of fine moulded columns crowned by capitals with relief carving adorns the main door, made by Domingo de Guevara between 1529 and 1552.
Two rounded arch doors open onto to the enclosed portico, where the other 13th century door with relief carvings of the Pietà stands.
On the outside the church you can see signs of Gothic on the Romanesque styling of the primitive temple, such as blind windows and corbels decorated with human heads. The old tower was demolished in 1574, beginning the construction of the present one in ashlar and solid stone up as far as the bell tower, with rounded arches for the bells.
The interior houses the main altarpiece, a beautiful richly ornamented 17th century array with four large columns; the Gothic tomb of Fernán Ruiz de Gaona with a dog at his feet; the 16th century Renaissance Gothic choir, with a recessed arch resting on pilasters with relief carvings, and a ribbed vault adorned with tiercerons.
On the outskirts of Santa Cruz de Campezo are the Hermitage of Our Lady of Ibernalo, which still retains the Romanesque bell-gable of the old church, and the ruins of the Franciscan friary of San Juan de Piérola.
Santa Cruz de Campezo is 39 kilometres from Vitoria-Gasteiz and the best route from the capital is via the A-132.