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Bárcena Mayor

Bárcena Mayor is the only inhabited centre within the Saja Besaya Natural Park. It is located in a small valley of the Argoza River, at the foot of the mountains of the Cantabrian Divide. It stands out for its traditional architecture, the clarity of its limits - generally marked by the rear façades of the rows of houses - and the density of its built-up area, which makes for a very compact core in which space is used optimally, with various solutions employed to adapt the buildings to the terrain.

The houses in this village are typically rural mountain constructions. On the first floor, their party walls protrude from "S" shaped corbels to shelter the open gallery which began to be introduced in the seventeenth century with the arrival of corn and the need for a space to dry the cereal.

In Bárcena Mayor, listed as a Historical-Artistic Site since 1979, you mustn't miss the 17th-century church of Santa Maria, the old rectory houses, traditional mountain houses with their large open galleries and porticoes formed by ashlar arcades, or the rows of two-storey houses, with portico, open gallery and wooden windows and doors, so emblematic of mountain villages. 

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