On the road to Spain – brave Celtiberans in Numantia and friendly Soria city

It is mid November 2019. We wake up in our luxury room of the Parador de Soria and see snow outside. The Moncayo has disappeared in the clouds. We are on about 1100m above sea level here.

The – still young- river Duero reflects the trees. Golden autumn colours shine amidst white snow.

We admire the view from our room in the Parador de Soria. Then we put on warm clothes and drive to Garray, located some 9kms north of Soria, to visit Numantia.

 

Numantia – the brave Celtiberan village

The Celtiberians founded the oppidum Numantia on the hill called “Muela de Garray” in the 3rd to 2nd century BC. It was the times of the Punic Wars between Carthage and Rome, which ended with Carthage being defeated and with the Celtiberians being subdued.

Numantia withstood the attacks of the Romans  twice. In 153 BC, the Numantians threw stones at the elephants which – frightened – trampled down the Roman camps. The Numantians resisted once more to the next Roman attack in 141 BC. Is Albert Uderzo really convinced that Asterix and Obelix lived in Gaul? They would also have been worthy representatives of Numantia (or perhaps the Numantians were their ancestors, as Gaul was conquered later).

Finally, in 134 BC, Scipio the Younger besieged the village by surrounding it with fences and fortresses. The citizens had no longer access to the surroundings of their oppidum. After 13 months, they burnt their oppidum down, before surrendering. It is said that they even committed suicide, because they did not want to end as slaves of Rome. Later the Romans built a small city here, but without the public buildings typical of Roman cities

We arrive on the “Muela de Garray”, where the reconstructed Celtiberian gate welcomes us. Dark clouds are above us and a chilly wind is blowing.

The archaeological site has been well prepared for visitors. A video explains the history. Some buildings have been reconstructed to illustrate, how the Celtiberians and the Romans lived here. This is the Celtiberian house with a fragment of the town wall (a snow flake was on my lens…).

This is the Celtiberan living and working room, or it is, how the archaeologists imagined it. There is even a sofa, Ursula notices.

From the wall, the Numantians could well observe the surroundings and discover ennemies from far.

This is the reconstructed Roman house…

… with the kitchen.

On the more sunny southern slopes, the archaeologists have uncovered the remains of larger Roman villas that disposed of courtyards and porticos. The archaeologists have erected some of the columns found.

In the background we can see the snow covered Sierra de la Demanda and Pico Urbión, where the Duero starts his long journey to Portugal and to the Atlantic.

We return to Soria to visit the museum about Numantia.

 

The Numantine Museum in Soria

The Museo Numantino shows the items found in Numantia. The most famous artifact is this charming horse, a fibula. Many souvenirs in Soria are decorated with this pretty horse.

This fine piece of silver work has been enlarged under a magnifying glass. I do not recall, what it was.

This charming dog was another fibula.

Much earthenware is on display – I particularly liked the fish platter.

In addition, the museum shows tools and weapons made out of iron uncovered in Numantia. The Celtiberians mined iron in the near Moncayo mountains.

The museum lays out the whole history of the area from prehistoric up to modern times. It is well worth seeing.

 

Round-up walk in Soria

We go for a round-up walk through the pedestrian zone of Soria. We stroll through the Zapatero street,…

… enjoy the windows such as this gourmet shop…,

… and we say hello to the poet in front of the traditional Casa de la Amistad. It is the center for culture in Soria.

On the Plaza Mayor, we admire the town hall or Casa de Los Doce Linajes, where the twelve noble families met until the early 19th century.

In front of the Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de la Mayor, this charming woman offers a seat to passers-by.

We notice that there are more shops open than one and a half years ago and that the pedestrian zone is being enlarged.  The city seems to have thrived. It is now our third time here. The former time it was a short stop over, when we visited the unparalleled cloister of the Monasterio San Juan de Duero. There is more to discover in Soria. It could well be that we will return once more, like the storks.

It IS cold today. Now we are happy to return to our Posada with the gorgeous view of Soria and the mountains that surround it. The Posada of Soria is the red building amidst trees, not really a gem from outside, but very comfortable inside.

Tomorrow we will continue our way to Catalonia.

 

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