The Abadengo

El Abadengo is a region located in the northwestern quadrant of the province of Salamanca and is made up of the following twelve municipalities: Ahigal de los Aceiteros, Bañobárez, Bermellar, Cerralbo, Fuenteliante, Hinojosa de Duero, Lumbrales, Olmedo de Camaces, La Fregeneda, La Redonda, San Felices de los Gallegos and Sobradillo.

To the north it limits with the Salamanca region of "Las Arribes", to the south with the lands of Ciudad Rodrigo, to the east with the Vitigudino region and to the west with Portugal.

In current times, the Abadengo region is, above all, a geographical and administrative entity that corresponds to the "Commonwealth of Abadengo", with an approximate extension of 552 km². Belonging to the judicial district of Vitigudino and the bishopric of Ciudad Rodrigo.

It is bounded by the rivers Yeltes-Huebra in the North, Duero in the West, Huebra in the East and Águeda in the South and West. Other rivers and streams that flood the region are: Camaces, Froya, Campilduero, Morgaez and Cantarranas. All of them are embedded deep in the terrain to reach the 130 meters of altitude that the Vega Terrón dock has, where the Águeda and the Duero converge.

The territory has two large different orographic groups. The southern half with an undulating landscape that decreases as we approach Águeda (Bañobárez 743m. And Sobradillo 641m.) And with some elevations, La Berzosa 826m., Picón Bogajo 794m. and the Cerro de San Jorge 826m. And the northern half is much more rugged by the fitting of the Duero, which forces its tributaries Huebra and Camaces to fit deeply into the terrain, forming caissons or jumps. In addition to the Puerto de la Molinera there is the Moncalvo, the Cabecina and the Peña de la Vela. We must highlight the beauty of the landscape, which surprises us with steep slopes and deep canyons, caused by the millenary action of the rivers.

Likewise, it is necessary to highlight its endless forests of oaks, gall oaks, sloes and holm oaks, which together with the olive groves, almond groves and the crystalline purity of its wild waters, make the Abadengo a vegetable and animal reserve where it is very easy to find, for its abundance, foxes, wild boars, beavers, otters, rabbits, partridges, Egyptian vultures, genets, galapagos, eagles, griffon vultures, martens or wildcats.

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The climate in this region is milder than in the "Campo de Salamanca", mainly due to its lower altitude (around 600m compared to 800m in the province) and its proximity to the Atlantic.

Winters are warm, with an average of around 6ºC in the coldest month (January) and its summers are hot, with averages around 28ºC in July and August.

The rainfall is more abundant than the provincial average, with about 700mm. annual rainfall in the form of rain. Frosts are unknown in much of the territory, which favors semi-tropical crops such as orange trees, lemons, etc.

The soils are poor, with little vegetation cover on granite and slate foundations that appear everywhere. Thus, it is explained that 40.5% of its territory is dedicated to pastures, 17.6% is forests, 14.2% is dedicated to roads, buildings, etc ..., and only 24.7% is arable land. Another significant fact is that the area dedicated to irrigated crops is only 42 hectares.

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The resulting landscape is very varied, imposing the grasslands and the mountains, which gives it its rugged appearance, highlighting the unknown and beautiful "Arribes del Águeda".

One sector in which this area clearly stands out is the livestock sector, with an important herd of cattle and pigs (South and East) and sheep (North). Sheep's milk provides the raw material for an extraordinary and tasty artisan cheese of recognized fame, not only in Salamanca, but throughout Spain.

Demographically, this area has known one of the biggest catastrophes in the province. Since the middle of the century it has been losing population, due to very strong economic migrations, which have reduced the number of its inhabitants by half. If in 1950 Abadengo had 11,874 inhabitants, in 1,991 only had 5,251 remaining and it continues to decline. In addition, we must think that approximately 30% of the population is over 65 years old, which leads us to understand the reason for the negative natural growth of this area.

This aspect is very serious, because in Abadengo we have an average population density below 10 inhabitants / km², a limit that is considered internationally to designate an area as uninhabited.

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Industrial and tourist activities are scarce, being reduced to a few small agro-food industries (making sheep's cheese), bars, restaurants, shops and workshops that cover the needs of the area.

The Abadengo can boast of a rich and extensive historical, artistic, monumental and cultural heritage, the result of the passage of different cultures. Cave paintings and engravings, Neolithic workshops and dolmens are some of the prehistoric remains. The Vetonian culture has left a large number of remains in forts and boars, and the Roman culture is visible on the roads, paths or funerary stelae.

Churches, hermitages, old monasteries, convents, striking stone crossroads, fortifications, walls, castles and watchtowers, palaces and stately homes, constitute a centuries-old legacy of thousands of years that can be seen in the different municipalities of the region.

One of the great works carried out dates back to the second half of the 19th century, the construction of the railway line from Salamanca to Porto, in which thousands of workers had to drill 20 tunnels in the rock and bridge the unevenness of the terrain with nine bridges , especially in the final section of La Fregeneda.

To this enormous heritage wealth is added as a counterpoint having the Arribes del Duero Natural Park , which is a complex of high environmental value.

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The men and women who have lived in this land over the centuries have bequeathed endless traditions and celebrations, some of which preserve ancient rituals and customs, exclusive to this area. To the typical running of the bulls and bullfights, sometimes in carts, are added flag dances, traditional dances, auctions of roscones, processions, godmothers parties, pilgrimages, ribbon races, country hornazos and bonfires of jumbrio branches. (juniper) to pay homage to the saints, the Virgin Mary or Jesus in the form of the crucified or Nazarene, eternal patrons of these lands.

Along with these traditions, an extremely interesting popular architecture based on sandstone or slate has survived. But especially in granite taking advantage of natural resources. It is not only seen in the homes themselves but also in other constructions, such as colorful portals or portals, corrals, huts, little houses, tenadas, laundries, fountains, fences and bridges, pontoons and mills along its many rivers, streams and streams. .

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To all this we must add an extensive, exquisite and varied gastronomy, a heritage also from the passing of time. This is how we have from the quality of pork sausages, sometimes made with the old recipes of traditional slaughter, through veal, kid or lamb to the excellent sheep's milk cheeses, the striking hornazos and the non less tasty typical sweets such as mantecados, perronillas, repelaos, flowers, wafers, threads, almond cheese ...

For the future traveler, the ideal times to visit this area are spring and autumn. In spring, the vegetation acquires the most beautiful tones due to the flowering of its various plants, while in autumn, the yellow-purple of the leaves of its many vineyards predominate in its fields after the harvest.

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A little history

Lumbrales already appears as the center of the region in the seventeenth century and it is in the eighteenth century when this territory is registered, with the name of Abadengo in the Ensenada Cadastre. It is also known that until 1812 (the year of the abolition of the manorial regime), the Bishop of Ciudad Rodrigo, the Duke of Alba, the Marquis of Cerralbo and others, had jurisdiction over the towns of Abadengo. The bishop was the one who appointed the warden of the Lumbrales prison.

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An "abbot" would be understood as a territory under ecclesiastical jurisdiction at the head of which there would be an abbot. Well, it is usually admitted, following the "Historical-artistic review of the province of Salamanca" by Father César Morán, that Lumbrales and its territory are called El Abadengo because they belonged to the Templars, who had an abbot here, whom they nicknamed " the abaddon ". When that order disappeared in 1312, the Abadengo became dependent on the bishopric of Ciudad Rodrigo.

The fact is that the Abadengo towns were never part of the Mirobrigenses sexmos but were constituted in exempt towns with their own ordinary jurisdiction dependent on the civitatense prelate. La Fregeneda became a royal town in the 16th century. Villas of secular lordship were Cerralbo, Hinojosa de Duero, San Felices de los Gallegos (with its annexes of Ahigal and Barba de Puerco, today Puerto Seguro) and Sobradillo. Bermellar, Lumbrales and La Redonda continued to be an episcopal lordship until the suppression of the lordships. The rest of the municipalities (Bañobárez, Fuenteliante and Olmedo de Camaces) belonged to Campo de Camaces, one of the sexms of Ciudad Rodrigo, and were not part of the Abadengo.

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The historical vicissitudes and the border struggles between Castile and Portugal made these lands remain on one and the other crown, finally passing to Castile in the time of Henry IV. It can be said that already in the 15th century the borders were completely delimited. As a reminder of those struggles, the towers of the castles of San Felices de los Gallegos and Sobradillo remain untouched.

The settlement, according to the available data, dates back thousands of years, as the dolmens that have been found attest. But it will be in the Second Iron Age, around 500 BC, when it will experience a great expansion, as can be seen by the forts, boars, necropolises, buildings, stelae and all kinds of materials and tools. The settlers of that time were the vetones.

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With the Muslim invasion there is a void, which will end with the medieval Reconquest, repopulating the area definitively and beginning the different Romanesque, Gothic or Baroque constructions that we can enjoy today.

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Commonwealth

In 1992, the 12 municipalities of the Abadengo Region, decided, for the provision of services and the performance of works of common interest, to constitute the Abadengo Region Commonwealth.

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It has an indefinite duration in time, enjoying its own legal personality, with consideration of a Local Entity. Its capital resides in the municipality of Lumbrales, and its president is currently the Hon. Mr. Mayor-President of Lumbrales, Mr. Pedro Sánchez Calderón.

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In all of its 12 municipalities, a total of 5,072 inhabitants currently reside. The resources of the commonwealth come fundamentally from the contributions made annually by each of the municipalities, depending on their population.

The main competencies that reside in the commonwealth are:

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  • Collection and treatment of solid urban waste.

  • Any other service of municipal competence, without being able to assume all of the powers assigned to the respective municipalities.

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