Las Merchanas, from emergency to resurgence

Made known by D. Manuel Gómez Moreno at the beginning of the 20th century, the Castro is declared a monument belonging to the National Artistic Treasure by Decree of June 3, 1931. Since then, little or nothing had been done for its promotion. Visits by Fr. Morán, excavations by Mr. Maluquer, and little else.

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In 1981 the Amigos de Lumbrales Association was born which, among other objectives, considers the knowledge and recovery of Las Merchanas as a priority.

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To do this, they begin to write articles in the press, protest marches are held, round tables and informative talks are organized and contacts begin with the owner family to find out their availability for the possible transfer or sale of the castro.

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The farm where the Castro is located was bought in 1910 by Mr. Manuel García Bringas for cattle exploitation. Numismatics enthusiasts and hunters cause extensive damage to the enclosure without the owners being able to avoid such abuses. They feel annoyed with the Administration and travel agencies, because on scheduled excursions they jump from Yecla to Saldeana, leaving Las Merchanas in oblivion. They collect information on government aid or subsidies. The answer is that they are not possible as it is private property. Some member of the Artistic Commission proposed that they make the repair on their own and then charge for the visit, a proposal that they find unworthy.

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Finally, they resolve to favor the acquisition of the Castro by the City Council. First, giving it away in free usufruct for 30 years and, finally, the 21 members of the owner family decide to sell it for the enormous amount of 1 Euro! This price includes, in addition to the approximately 55,000 square meters of the walled enclosure, a wide perimeter to encompass the area of ​​driven stones up to the 83,535 square meters sold.

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On March 24, 2005, the García Comerón family received the check for € 1 as payment for the sale made; "A currency that is well adorned will remain forever in the power of the family, from generation to generation", in the words of the representative of the family, Mr. Manuel García Francia.

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The City Council and the entire town of Lumbrales become the owner of the Castro with the express obligation to separate what was acquired from the rest of the estate. Once the ownership change has been achieved, the Heritage Foundation intervenes in the Castro, rehabilitating part of the walls. During the intervention, engravings and a door are discovered, in the South sector, that nobody expected.

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From that moment on, Las Merchanas began to come to life. New access road, parking, river crossing; construction of two viewpoints, in addition to the reconstruction of an old mill. The visits follow one another and, finally, Las Merchanas is once again the benchmark that everyone –Association, owners, Administration- had wanted.

EDUARDO MARTÍN G.

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"We are those who give", recording of the monument in tribute to the family that owns the Castro
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Boar of Las Merchanas

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Not far from the main gate of "Las Merchanas" and in the area of ​​kneeling stones in front of the wall, a Boar appeared without legs or pedestal and with a broken snout. It is 130 centimeters long.

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For years it was placed on the Carretera de la Estación in the vicinity of the families that owned the Castro.

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Currently, after its time in the town, placed on the base where an iron replica can now be seen, it is found again in the Castro de las Merchanas, at the north door, already with its original legs, which appeared shortly after in the vicinity. from the Castro.

OTOÑO EN LAS MERCHANAS

Si hay un momento especial para redescubrir el pasado, ese momento es en otoño. Los cielos grises, el sepia de las hojas muertas, el lánguido sonido de los renacidos riachuelos, la atmósfera recubierta del eco húmedo de las ánimas que vibraron entre unas ruinas milenarias. Todo eso se siente al volver al Castro de Las Merchanas ahora, en otoño.

Las Merchanas es uno de los castros vetones más importantes de la provincia de Salamanca. Si lo unimos al de Yecla de Yeltes, sólo a unos pocos kilómetros, podemos decir que tenemos uno de los conjuntos históricos prerromanos más importantes de Castilla y León.

Permaneció durante siglos semienterrado en el olvido, hasta que la generosidad de una familia decidió venderlo por un euro al Ayuntamiento de Lumbrales. Eso sucedió hace más de quince años, y desde entonces han sido varias las actuaciones realizadas en él para su puesta en valor: se arregló y musealizó el camino de acceso y se restauró el viejo molino (el único edificio

del entorno que nos recuerda vagamente la época actual), se rehízo el muro de su pesquera, se habilitó un parking, se recuperaron parte de sus murallas, se limpió su interior y hasta se le devolvió el simbólico verraco que, tras su etapa en la villa, recuperó sus extremidades y un lugar privilegiado en la puerta norte del recinto, en las proximidades donde se encontró. Mirando al este, naturalmente.

El castro de Las Merchanas, como el de Yecla, es un privilegio de la historia y de la naturaleza, especialmente en esta época del año. Las primeras nubes cargadas de lluvia y ese viento templado del oeste que provoca el murmullo de las hojas antes de caer, el sonido de los primeros hilos de agua que vuelven a recorrer esos ríos, todo ello nos envuelve en una atmósfera única para recrearnos en la estela de su leyenda, de la magia que todavía emana de las viejas y derrotadas piedras que un día cobijaron vida, pasiones y sueños.

Redescubrir Las Merchanas en otoño es un placer para los sentidos, especialmente en unos tiempos que invitan a huir de las aglomeraciones, a fomentar actividades al aire libre en atmósferas limpias de virus y polución.

La capa de líquenes y musgos que recubre los viejos árboles de Las Merchanas, encinas, robles y fresnos, es una prueba inequívoca de la total ausencia de dióxido de carbono e invitan a disfrutar de un aire puro imposible de encontrar en las grandes ciudades. Compruébalo, merece la pena.

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