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We only had one more day in Sos and the weeks in Spain were rapidly coming to an end. I was a bit nervous about another day in the car but strapped myself into the surgical belt and we set off to explore Uncastillo, one of the Cinco Villas. This is the border area between Navarre and Aragon.

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The road from Sos to Uncastillo

We stopped in the pass to look down at Sos and the valley and it was sad to think of leaving. It was a lovely day and the views as we drove on were wonderful. We could almost make out the Monastery of Leyre and we knew Undues, Javier and Sanguesa were in the Valley.

Looking back at the top of the pass
View from the top of the pass above Sos towards the mountains of Leyre

The road climbed to the top of another hill and we looked down over the plains of Aragon. And then a flock of goats appeared!

View over the plains of Aragon

We continued down the hill and soon Uncastillo came into view.



We parked the car and set off with determination to explore! Uncastillo dates from the 11th century and it is an extraordinary small town.

Uncastillo is considered to be “the best Romanesque ensemble of the 12th century in all of Spain”, so said Professor of History Gonzalo Borrás during a visit to our town.


There are six Romanesque churches, but also a Renaissance church, twelve palatial mansions, a 16th century Town Hall, an intact Jewish quarter, and a necropolis. Of course we didn’t see them all – an agenda like that needs some careful planning, and time.

Let’s crack it!

The Church of Santa Maria la Mayor

The Church dates from the 12th-13th centuries and the main door is an extraordinary display of carving. The equally extraordinary tower is Gothic and there is apparently a Renaissance cloister, but the church was locked (lunchtime) and so we could only see the outside.

The main door of Santa Maria la Mayor
The main door of Santa Maria la Mayor

You could a very long time looking at the carvings, photographing them, and trying to understand what they are portraying.

Castle of Uncastillo

The Castle is built on the site of an Arab fortress that was recaptured by King Sancho II of Pamplona in the 10th century. The Tower remains as a museum and there is also a 14th century palace, but the steepness of the steps defeated knees on this occasion, and Covid did the rest!

The Church of San Felice

The Church of San Felice is on the opposite side of the Cadenas River which runs through the town and outside the walls of the Mediaeval town. It is one of the Romanesque churches in the town and dates from the 11th-12th centuries. It was closed and we could only admire the carvings on the outside of the main doorway. The church has a crypt which was created to accommodate the slope of the land and keep the building level, and it was also firmly closed.

Long road back to Sos

We decided to risk a circular drive and go back to Sos via Sadaba and Castiliscar. There were also Roman remains along both roads which we hoped to find but in the event they were down dirt roads and I couldn’t take the chance. This meant we missed Los Banales which is one of the most important Roman sites in Spain. Ah well… The countryside is quite flat and the cereal crops had all been taken, creating a lovely golden colour which contrasted with the blue sky.

Sadaba Castle dates from the Middle Ages and sits in the middle of the town. It was not open but at least we had a good look from the outside. Very little appears to be known about the castle which remains in its original state. And even less is written about Castiliscar on the internet.

And so back to Sos after a wonderful day visiting Uncastillo and an interesting drive back past two more castles. Our time in Spain was almost over and the next day we were moving on to Limpias and then back to Santander and the UK.

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