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Castle and the Laundry

From Primer Cantón street, you can directly access the surroundings of the village’s Castle. Cuzcurrita was a settlement considered a stronghold in the Middle Ages. It was, what was then called the “second line of fortified plazas” that defended the kingdom of Castilla on its border with Navarra, in its constant battles.

The fortified line began at the Cellorigo Castle, continuing with the strongholds of Foncea and Sajazarra, the Anguciana tower, Cuzcurrita, the Baños tower and the Leiva Castle, ending at the walled city of Santo Domingo de la Calzada.

The village of Cuzcurrita was also walled. The original outline included the old part of the village. It closed the current Cuatro Cantones behind the Calle Mayor. One of the sections, or portions of the wall, ended up closing the space along the river, to leave the current bridge outside the enclosure. The “Puerta de La Villa” was located at that point, unfortunately there is no evidence of the main entrance. The other gate was called “del Cierzo” and was located in the northern part of the village.

Cuzcurrita also had its extra-wall castle that was built by the Suárez de Figueroa family between the end of the 14th century and the beginning of the 15th century. In the 16th century, during the reign of Felipe II, the IX lord of Cuzcurrita, Don Pedro Velasco founded the estate by his marriage. The family coat of arms can still be seen carved on the entrance door to the castle. Don Pedro, founder of this estate, had accompanied King Felipe II on his trip to England in 1554, to attend his marriage to the Queen of England María Tudor.

The castle continued to belong to the Velasco-Rojas family for many centuries. In the 18th century it passed to the Rebolledo de Palafox family, Marquis of Lazán. In the 19th century, after the laws that abolished the manors and estates, it passed through different hands, until it became a winery that you see today. In addition to its restoration, it has also preserved the old vineyards.

This is a fortress with an irregular and walled square plan, that houses the Torre del Homenaje, one of the most characteristic towers of La Rioja due to the harmony of its dimensions and the lack of openings. The tower is in the centre, also square with very small holes, little larger than the arrow slits.

There is a continuous machicolation with rectangular battlements, crowning the central tower and pierced with arrow-slits that link the round sentry boxes, located at the corners and supported on corbels.

At the foot of the castle and going down the slope you reach the laundry that was built in the 19th century, taking advantage of the proximity of the river waters. Restored in 1997, this architectural element that was a popular tradition in villages, is now not only a workplace for washerwomen, but it also serves as a social meeting place for the local inhabitants.

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