Arlanzón is a town located about twenty kilometers from Burgos capital, near Villasur de Herreros and is within the boundaries, properly speaking, of the Camino de Santiago.
It is an ancient town, whose existence is recorded, at least, of those misty years of the twelfth century in which it was repopulated by Basques, following the details of that great mobilization adventure, which was the Reconquest.
It is also said that he had some relevance during the War of Independence, contributing many of his children to be part of the Fourth Battalion of Iberia, which it seems, had enough participation in the disputes developed in La Rioja.
It is also notable that this town is mentioned in the famous Cantar de Mío Cid, although in the old Castilian language, its name was that of Arlançon.
We arrived in Arlanzón on a steamy day in August, some summers ago, attracted, above all, by the references to the presence in the place, during the Middle Ages, of a powerful and mysterious organization of warrior-monks, which from the century XII began to gain fame in the Iberian Peninsula: the Knights Templar.
In fact, seeing some surviving sculptures in the apse of the church of San Miguel Arcángel, we could see some familiarity with others of a similar nature, which in my case, I had the opportunity to see in another church attributed to them: that of San Esteban de Aramil or of the Knights, located in the Asturian Council of the Pola de Siero.
These references, although generally interpreted by official orthodoxy as ‘monsters devouring sinners’, constitute, in my opinion, a reference on what I call, personally, as ‘the battle of the unconscious’.
In the same way that the great American mythologist, Joseph Campbell, entitled one of his books as 'The hero of a thousand faces', that type of representation, quite common, by the way, in the Romanesque peninsular, make up the largest and most interesting of the works that the hero has to carry out: the struggle with himself, with his self.
This type of artistic metaphors, are usually also common, representing warriors fighting with terrifying snakes or fierce dragons, animals generally associated in all traditions with the custody of 'treasures', being able to refer, in my opinion, to the barriers that there is a break to reach the best treasure of all: to know oneself.
Based on the popular tradition, in the early twentieth century, Father Huidobro defended the theory that here, in Arlanzón, and probably located in the vicinity of the church of San Miguel Arcángel, the Knights Templar had a hospital for the attention of the pilgrims heading towards Santiago de Compostela.
Little remains, it is true, of the original plant of the church, very modified in later times, without respecting what they considered as 'old and old-fashioned', but which nevertheless obeyed the purest tradition based on sacred geometry , where nothing was left to chance and all the elements formed a harmony, also related to the orientation and the day dedicated to the saint of his invocation.
The town, like many other old towns of Castilian-medieval origins, still retains an interesting sample of traditional architecture.
An architecture that mixes the heavy stone ashlars, with the eternal tracerías of wood, respecting the style of family units, where people, cattle and tools lived with a certain elegance and harmony.
Villages like Arlanzón, bring to mind those other brother peoples, from the neighboring community of Valladolid, where the great Spanish writer Miguel Delibes, applied great prominence in his popular literature, presenting a series of characters and unforgettable situations, including those of his novel of great success and masterfully taken to the cinema, which is entitled 'The Holy Innocents'.
A few years ago, Arlanzón barely had four hundred censored inhabitants and it is true that some houses in town, in ruins, suffer the absence of neighbors emigrated to the big capitals in search of a life, we have to assume more comfortable.
But as every pilgrim who travels through Burgos knows in his confident pilgrimage to the Tomb of the Apostle, in Arlanzón, despite the sorrows, there is still a lot of life.
NOTICE: Both the text and the accompanying photographs are my exclusive intellectual property.