The castle of soriano who taught the crusaders to resist in Jerusalem

Abd-ar-rahman III needed to take that castle as a strategic border of the Duero. In the 934, was presented at the foot of the fortress of Osma, with a powerful

The castle of soriano who taught the crusaders to resist in Jerusalem

Abd-ar-rahman III needed to take that castle as a strategic border of the Duero. In the 934, was presented at the foot of the fortress of Osma, with a powerful army composed of several thousand of archers and war machines. In front of him, crouching on a fortress built on a rock with steep slopes that exceeded 45 degrees, the king Ramiro II of León and its counts with troops clearly inferior, half a hundred in front of almost three thousand. But they had a secret weapon: a defensive system composed by loopholes unknown until then in Europe and that led them to victory. The chronicles christians point out that muslims do not dare to climb those cliffs. For its part, the islamic sources argue that what actually happened was that the christians durst not come down.

The castle of Osma (Soria), abandoned since the FOURTEENTH century, has now become to life after more than ten years of studies and a restoration funded by the Ministry of Culture. The investigation of the fortress –led by Fernando Cobos, doctor, architect and international expert on heritage, and Manuel Twists, an archaeologist from the University Complutense– has uncovered, among other issues, the technology used by the small defenders to reject the gigantic rush of muslim: the arrow slits, slanted, technology, the sorianos moved to the crusaders for their war in the Holy Land.


The largest arsenal of the medieval Peninsula

the first news of The castle of Osma are from the year 910, when it is erected –on a settlement of the Bronze Age - a peak of the unstable border that divided the Kingdom of the Lion of the caliphate. A few years after its construction was razed by the armies of al-Andalus. Decided to turn it into a key piece of the border, Ramiro II strengthens it to resist the troops caliphate, which ended up taking and rebuilding in the years following the nearby fortress of Gormaz, who was to become his base of operations and siege against Osma. Until erected several watch towers in the vicinity to handle any christian movement in Osma.

Saetera with inclination of the castle of Osma. Fernando Cobos

Between the 934 and the 989 Osma is now the main line of resistance in the Kingdom of León in the border of the Duero. But in the 989 Almanzor managed to take it and refurbished it. In 1011 the christians recovered. Three years later, the christians took Medinaceli, about eighty miles to the southeast, so that Osma lost its strategic importance. In the FOURTEENTH century paved its interior, covering the unique arrow slits to create new living spaces. In the EIGHTEENTH their best blocks –many origin roman, since in the vicinity stood the roman city of Uxama– was transported to lift the cathedral of Burgo de Osma. In 2005, work began on the restoration.

The castle of Osma is brimming with enigmas, historical and archaeological sites. One are its arrow slits, which were located at the foot of its walls, not in the upper parts of the walls, as usual. The lower location of these openings should be to the battlements used to be swept by the machines of war-muslim, so that the bases of the walls were the safest places for defense.

The arrow slits of Osma are opening much more narrow than normal to prevent the arrows of enemy is introduced, but they have a small duct in its lower part where it comes out the dart from the defender. His inclination, in the case of the castle of Osma, varied, depending on the location of the fortress where is open: the more the slope of the ground, the more the inclination of the saetera, which allowed to point directly to the enemy troops and stay safe, a kind of kick to the dish. "At this time, does not exist in any place of Europe, this type of defense. It has only been found at a number of crusader castles in the Holy Land built years later. His appearance in the Holy Land to defend themselves against armies above could be due to Pedro González de Lara, who was the son of the tenente real [head] of the castle, and that he traveled to Jerusalem as a bodyguard for the wife of the conde de Tolosa” or of his brother, Rodrigo González de Lara, who built a castle in the Holy Land to be donated to the knights templar,” says Cobos.

already moved Away from the border war, suffered a strong modification at the end of the THIRTEENTH century and the first half of the XIV century in order to adapt it to the needs of the moment. In its interior, raised areas of barracks with barracks and latrines, and later a few dependencies episcopal.

The strength of Osma was about to disappear in the EIGHTEENTH century when the Armies borbónicos what barrenaron to prevent it from being taken by the supporters of the Hapsburgs. Happily, the idea was discarded at the never reach Osma these last. The castle will soon open to visitors. “The steep slopes that saved him in the siege, are still there, so that you can only visit if you were provided with good shoes and you like to hike,” says Cobos. “Anyway, this is a castle rock single, for what it's worth the watch”, concludes the architect.

Updated Date: 26 December 2019, 20:00



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