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José Rico, alcalde de Yanguas

Yanguas is located in the region of the Highlands of Soria, bordering La Rioja and the Tierra de Cameros Viejos, and located at the beginning of the gorge excavated by the Cidacos river over 20km to the spa town of Arnedillo. From this strategic situation along the road between Numancia and Calahorra comes the town's name, deriving from "ianuas" (gates in Latin), along with its shield composed of two gates with the motto "Puertas del Val de Arnedo" (Gates of the Arnedo Valley). Located 45 km from Soria and 33 km from Arnedo, it was declared a Historic-Artistic Site in 1993.

Of pre-Roman origin, it acquired importance during the Wars of Rome against Numantia. There are indications that the Romanesque tower of San Miguel was originally used for defence along with a wall of compacted earth of which there are hardly any remains. From the 11th century onwards, it became the head town of a 'Comunidad de Villa y Tierra' that united 28 villages. In 1145, Yanguas was granted its municipal charter, and in 1347 King Alfonso XI granted the town the privilege of being exempt from "portazgos" (taxes at the entrances of the cities) on the goods they transported. Many inhabitants became muleteers who travelled the kingdom of Castile with their goods from the foundries of Biscay to the port of Seville, as seen in chapter XV of the first part of Don Quixote. Along with this commercial activity, the economy of Yanguas was for many centuries linked to the transhumance of merino cattle, through the Eastern Soriana Canyon to the mountains of Cordoba and Seville.

Photographs by Juan Mantilla

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Pablo Febrero
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