History of Ezcaray

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Today we bring a little history of our Villa Do you want to know the origins of  Ezcaray?

The first tests found that show that there was settlement in this area belong to the Neolithic. Prehistoric remains such as “polished axes” or a cave-room “in Valgañón. Later the Celtiberian people of the Autrigones settled in the lower area of ​​the Sierra de la Demanda, giving rise to the Basque toponymy.

After them, it would be the Romans who occupied the highlands of the Oja Valley. Tombs and objects that confirm these facts have been found, like coins of the emperor Trajan

After these were the Visigoths and Muslims who occupied the place, although after their expulsion the area was depopulated. It was not until 923-924 that it was repopulated with the help of King Don Sancho Garcés I, who saw the Villa as a perfect place to take advantage of its soil resources. Don Sancho was the one who gave the Villa its current name. This name is a Basque term formed by “Haitz” and “garay” which means “rock or high rock”, this name is believed to be due to “La Picota de San Torcuato”

ermita and peña de san torcuato

Ezcaray has great Basque roots, this fact is due to the replobations of the moment with Vascones coming from the mountains of Álava and Navarre that brought their Basque language.

In 1074, Ezcaray and the Valley became part of the Kingdom of Castile, when Alfonso VI of Castile unified all of La Rioja. The first documented documentary evidence dates from 1110. In it, Alfonso I the Battler donated to the monastery of Valvanera the hermitage of “Santa Maria de Ubaga” in Ezcaray. Today there is only one wall that you can see on the way to the village of Cilbarrena.

But undoubtedly the key year for Ezcaray in 1312, more specifically on April 24, when the Castilian Monarch, Fernando IV, granted the Charter to the Valley of Ezcaray, Ojascastro, Ezcaray, Zorraquín and Valgañón, in the Sierra de la Demanda , to improve and replobe. For this Fuero the inhabitants of the valley were exempt from the payment of the toll of their cattle, merchandise, etc.,; This allowed the inhabitants of the Valley to be free of all chests, tribute or loans, and also gave the Villa its own Justice. By this last fact it had to be defended and it was forbidden to expel from the Valley any criminals who lived or took refuge in the Valley.


This jurisdiction was confirmed by King Alfonso XI and later by the Catholic Monarchs on November 26, 1484, eliminating the issue of fostering delinquents and debtors.

This forum was tried to eliminate a couple of times, but it was not until 1876, after the Third Carlist War when it was abolished.

The traditional activity was wool cattle raising cloths, and the exploitation of natural forest resources (wood, iron, coal …). Its very good geographical characteristics, with its pastures and waterways allowed Ezcaray to emerge in the Textile industry from the 15th Century onwards throughout Spain. Giving rise to the creation of La Real Fábrica de Santa Bárbara

If you want to know more about our beautiful Villa, write us and we will try another post with more history and curiosities.