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Time & Space Travels
Duratón
Nuestra Señora de la Asunción


The splendid Romanesque church of Duraton, a town of less than 100 inhabitants, is located in the municipality of Sepùlveda, in Castilla y Leon.

The temple is located a little outside the town, at the confluence of the Rio Duraton and Serrano. In the area the archoeologists have found a large number of Visigothic burials and Roman testimonies: a further demonstration of the fact that - they can change dominations and religions - but the sacred places are always the same.

The area was torn from the Arabs around 1010. It therefore came to be in second line during the most active phase of the 'reconquista' of the thirteenth century, during the period in which the Romanesque church was built.

It is therefore probable that its function was also to 'confirm' to the inhabitants that the new Christian masters had nothing to envy to the Arabs: this explains the splendid decorative apparatus that adorns the church, which proudly carries the ravages of time ( and maybe some men ...).

The temple, an example of rural Segovian Romanesque, is surrounded on two sides by a magnificent portico that made it the natural seat of civil and religious life.

The decorations are on the capitals, on the 'canecillos' (the modiglioni to support the beams) and on the metopes between a modiglione and the other. The portal of the portico with toothed arch stands out, a clear sign of Arab contamination.

Sui capitelli del portico fa bella mostra di se una sirena a due code, in compagnia di varie altre vicende narrate dai tagliapietra di quasi mille anni fa.

In addition to the capital of the siren there is a capital that illustrates the visit of the Three Wise Men (each with its engraved name: above Gaspare there is also another inscription that we have not been able to decipher ...)

Then there are scenes in which a centaur archer throws an arrow at a griffin, a soldier against a scaly creature, another Saint Joseph (always in a meditative pose and with a stick in his hand!), a beautiful nativity in which the Madonna is assisted by two women (perhaps proto-obstetricians), and then harpies, goats among the shoots ..

The metopes show us the daily life of the thirteenth century: peasants who work the vineyard and cut wheat, soldiers fighting each other, fights with griffins, bulls, a dromedary, Samson who smashed the lion (also present on the apse window ), a curious four-winged angel (?) who builds up a sort of bib, men on horseback, a peacock. It must be kept in mind that what we now call 'imaginary animals' for the twentieth century were absolutely real: no one would question the fact that the rivers were populated by double-taled mermaids or that it was unlikely to meet a basilisk or stumble into a revenge griffin .

These animals lived in the tales of preachers, travelers and storytellers who, in the arcaded frame of the courtyard, told the tired farmers their stories, populating the imaginary thirst of local people. The impressive thing is that the same stories, the same animals - perhaps with the exception of the dromedary that responds to a local note - are present throughout Europe, in times when information did not circulate thanks to the internet but on the legs and lips of tireless travelers.

Of that daily life are part of the highest 'canecillos' where we can admire women who pluck a bird next to a mermaid (monocaudal, this time ...) a dog that devours a fish and musicians (very recurrent in Spain) with their good tools stringed

Storks watch over everything.