Tradition and Devotion
The first thing that you notice when visiting Carrizosa is precisely the urban layout of the town, with its winding streets, some of them so steep that steps had to be built, which is somewhat rare in the rest of the Campo de Montiel.
Carrizosa is located to the north of Campo de Montiel, between neighbouring towns, Alhambra and Villanueva de los Infantes. Carrizosa’s name comes from the Latin “carex-cariso”, meaning “reed,” which was abundant throughout the town’s vecinity in Antiquity. Its origins date back to the 14th century. It was a village of the town of Alhambra, and a land grant to the Order of Santiago at the same time.
According to a 1609 archive, the Carrizosa “Encomienda” (‘estate’) once had land that spanned over parts of the municipal areas of Alhambra and Villanueva de los Infantes. The declaration of independence didn’t take long to arrive, approximately around the year 1620, when Carrizosa was emancipated from Alhambra after paying a considerable amount of money to the King.
The land around Carrizosa were inhabited by as early as the Iron Age. From this time period they have found funerary vessels. With the arrival of the Berbers, in the first decades of the 13th century, “La Carrizosa” was found, on top of the “Ermita” Hill, some three kilometres from its actual location.
The people of Carrizosa have preserved the Las Cruces celebration with all of its traditional and original flavour, making it become the town’s largest tourist and festival attraction, along with the Patron Saint holidays.
Saint Catherine’s Parish
The church of Saint Catherine of Carrizosa is an interesting building, constructed in the year 1493. Structurally it consists of a single nave over four stone arches. On the western side of the church, there was once an adjacent cementary.
It has some impressive frescoes on the ceiling and Main Altar, that depict Saint Catherine’s ascension to Heaven. On the ceiling, the depictions of the four Evangelists stand out, accompanied by their symbolic animals in accordance with the visions of th Prophet Ezequiel.
The Fountain of the Mine
Originally, this fountain served as a public water source and as a drinking trough for animals. It gets its name because of the old network of underground pipelines used to drain and collect underground water and direct it to the fountain. Its construction and foundation date are unknown. Other than a fountain and drinking trough, it was also used to irrigate the orchards located below it in what is now the slaughterhouse and other private residences.
Hermitage “Virgen del Salido”
It’s located a few kilometres away from Carrizosa, at the foot of the citadel where the ruins of the Arab “Peñaflor” castle are. It’s situated just outside of the “Jaraba” estate (from the Arabic word “أرپه”/´araba/, meaing “Arabs”).
It is a relatively recently constructed building, given that its predecesor was totally destroyed during the Civil War. Se trata de un edificio de reciente construcción, ya que la anterior quedó totalmente destruída en la Guerra Civil. This sanctuary and its surroundings form an ample and beautiful setting that is very well-liked by all the people of Carrizosa. There, they celebrate the main holidays in the area.
“Vía Crucis” Route
It’s a display of 14 crosses dispersed throughout the streets and looked after and decorated by the townspeople. A perfect trek for walking around the town’s oldest streets and for enjoying the excellent views of the Campo de Montiel from the highest streets in Carrizosa.
It’s worth pointing out the “Via Crucis” Altars, decorated by the townspeople with flowers, patience and a lot of dedication.
They are caves located around the Cañamares River, on a stone canyon. It was carved out by the river in a landscape that takes us back to the Stone Age, where the remains of an old, prehistoric covering lie at the entrance to one of said caves. This type of covering is built with enormous stones that protect the cave dwellers from wind and other meteorological occurrences. Very close to the caves are the old Huelma farm and mill of Huelma.
Trails and Parks of the Fuenlabrada Estate
An old workers’ hamlet once owned by the Counts of Leyva. With two watchtowers, the house, which dates from the beginning of the 20s, appears in the middle of the way between Carrizosa and Villahermosa (passing by the hermitage of “Virgen del Salido”). During the 20th century it a workplace for field hands from Carrizosa.
Los Torriles Stream
It was a beautiful waterfall, that is only appreciated in years of heavy rainfall. It is a primitive and original landscape, with caves, large stones, waterfalls and an infinite number of fountains that sprout up naturally. According to the elder townspeople of Carrizosa, in these caves there are primitive paintings; however, their origins could never be verified due to their inaccessibility caused by the collapse of the surrounding land.
Other Points of Interest
Commander’s House in the main plaza, next to the church, where we can see a magnificent coat and arms on its façade.
Archaeological remains of the Arab castle of Peñaflor (next to the Virgen del Salido Sanctuary).
The May Cross
The May Cross celebration is commemorated between the 30th of April and the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th of May. Through the night a choral group of youngsters walks around the town singing the “mayos” to the Ladies. On the 2nd they sing the the “Crosses” and the town holds banquets for all in attendance. Its origins are pagan, like the celebration to exalt the coming of Spring. In the Campo de Montiel, the “Crosses” celebration is carried out in most of the towns in the area, but Carrizosa might be the town that has known best how to conserve this celebration with its traditional flavour.
This May celebration really starts on the night of the 30th of April and continues until dawn on the 1st of May, during which, groups of adolescent boys (and currently, girls) dedicate their singing to their beloved ladies (wives, girlfriends, family members) in what is called “the Night of the Ladies”. It is commenced with a traditional song called “el mayo”, in which they go about “drawing” the perfections of a woman’s body through different stanzas.
Fiestas and traditions
The most popular traditional celebrations of Carrizosa are the May Cross and the Patron Saint holidays in honour of the “Virgen del Salido”.
On the 17th of January its tradition to light bonfires in the town’s streets.
On the 30th of April, they celebrate to honour the Virgen del Salido.
The May Crosses
On the 2nd, 3rd and 4th of May.
Just as in most towns in the Campo de Montiel, hommage is paid to the workers’ saint on 15th of May.
Patron Saint Holidays
In honour of the Virgen del Salido, celebrations areheld from the 13th to the 16th of August.
The Pilgrimage for the Virgin
At the “Salido” Hermitage the townspeople of Carrizosa organise and enjoy a procession on the last weekend of August.