Becerril de la Sierra
Becerril de la Sierra
The village of Becerril de la Sierra is 50 kilometres from Madrid, in the Sierra de Guadarrama National Park. Becerril is surrounded by some of the highest peaks in the Madrid region, so it benefits of a unique climate and a great natural wealth.
Although there are no historical documents that talk about Becerril de la Sierra, the first historical reference to the place was made concerning Real de Manzanares. Over the centuries, the number of inhabitants has increased. They have seen their village suffering because of emigration and also being used as a refuge during the Civil War. Nowadays Becerril de la Sierra is an important tourist attraction, and during the holiday season, its population multiplies.
Becerril de la Sierra has heritage and cultural sites worth visiting. The religious architecture (exemplified by two churches) and the civil one (exemplified by Plaza de la Constitución and by several fountains) coexist perfectly and illustrate part of the local tradition and history.
Located in the Plaza de la Constitución, the Town Hall is a three-storey building with porticos, crowned by a slate roof and a clock.
San Andrés Apóstol Parish Church
Avenida Jose Antonio 47
The stone-made parish, of rural baroque style with Herrerian influences, is located in the middle of Sierra de Guadarrama; its construction is dated between the late 16th and early 17th century. The church, which has a rectangular nave with some irregularities, stands out for its tower with three bodies separated by imposts and for its portico on Tuscan columns.
One of the most valuable elements of the church is the lateral atrium. Its roof, of single water, sits on six Tuscan columns that, in turn, rest on a low wall. The atrium is also the place from where the interior of the temple can be accessed through a semi-circular arch constructed with voussoirs. Certain authors believe that this atrium was added at the end of the 18th century.
At the end of the Spanish Civil War, the San Andrés Apóstol Church was quite deteriorated, which is why the National Board of Reconstruction of Parochial Temples took charge of its reconstruction. This church was also refurbished at the end of the 60s of the 20th century and also in 1995.
The Ethnographic Museum
Avenida Calvo Sotelo, nº 13.
At the end of 2012, in Becerril de la Sierra a small museum was opened with photographs, home furnishings, household utensils and tools used in the village in the last two centuries. It is not permanently open to the public, but it can be visited virtually by watching a video available on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_VFlCnHi1Fs&feature=youtu.be
Fountain of the Ball
Fuente de la Bola
It is built in stone and has two narrow pipes that pour the waters that come straight from the heart of the Sierra de Guadarrama to a basin with a rectangular shape. The fountain is crowned with a stony ball and is situated in Plaza del Espejo.
It was built in stone, in 1955. It has a small oval basin with a vertical element dividing it in the centre. This fountain is where the waters of the Sierra de Guadarrama are collected. The fountain is crowned by a stone ball and is located in Plaza Fuente de los Cielos.
This circular fountain with two pipes was built in granite in 1889 and rebuilt in 1982. It is located on Calvo Sotelo Avenue, near the town hall.
Nuestra Señora del Valle Church
It was built at the end of the 60s of the 20th century thanks to the initiative of a group of people who spent part of their holiday in Becerril de la Sierra. The church was designed to perfectly integrate into the surrounding environment, in the Sierra de Guadarrama. Its shape and the colours of the concrete symbolise the mountain and fields of Becerril.
Both the floor and the elevation of Nuestra Señora del Valle Church are characterised by triangular shapes and sloping walls. The interior of the temple and its decoration adapt to the architectural style of the Church. Nuestra Señora del Valle Church is located on Paseo de la Ermita, 70 with the M-623 Road.
Festivals and traditions
Becerril de la Sierra celebrates events, some of them of a great tradition. Religious celebrations are well-established but pagan ones, such as the Carnival, are also organised. All the festivities are designed so that everybody, including the residents of Becerril and the many tourists who come to the village, gets to participate and enjoy. The most outstanding festivities of Becerril de la Sierra are San Roque, Santo Cristo del Buen Consejo, San Andres, San Sebastian, Magi, Corpus Christi and the Carnaval.
- San Sebastián Festival: On the 20th of January San Sebastian is commemorated by ringing cowbells, lighting a bonfire and tasting chocolate with “churros”.
- Cruz de Mayo Pilgrimage: On the 1st of May a pilgrimage takes place with the May Cross in the Raso de los Enebros. Afterwards, camping accompanied by dances, charangas and children games are organized in this village of the Sierra de Guadarrama.
- San Roque Festival: The 16th of August is the highlight of patron saint’s day celebrations in Becerril de la Sierra, which begin several days beforehand. It involves events for all audiences, where the residents of the Sierra of Guadarrama meet town visitors. Among them are religious services, sports competitions, cultural activities, live music, parades, folklore shows and free lemonade.
- Local celebrations in honour of Cristo del Buen Consejo Saint take place in mid-September. This celebration is very well-received both among the residents of Becerril and among the numerous visitors from the Sierra de Guadarrama and other places. Some of the most relevant activities of the celebrations are the mass and the procession, bullfighting events, musical performances, sports competitions – including the pedestrian race Run Becerril -, fireworks, a popular paella with approximately 3,000 rations, literary contests and the election of the queen and ladies of the parties.
- San Andrés Day: On the 30th of November, the festival of San Andrés – patron of the Becerril de la Sierra Parish Church – coincides with the Day of Our Elders. As a tribute to the saint and the elderly of Becerril, among other events, a mass, cultural activities and a meal are organised in this town in the Sierra de Guadarrama.
For a large number of plant and animal species, the geographical location of Becerril de la Sierra, in the Sierra de Guadarrama is the ideal habitat. The Navacerrada Pass, the Peak of La Maliciosa and the mountains of Alto del Hilo and of Cabeza Mediana surround the municipal area of Becerril and create a characteristic climate of the place. The granitic stone formations, the water, the valleys, the meadows and the cattle blend into a unity of outstanding value that´s worth enjoying, observing and, most importantly, preserving. Rural lodgings are available for those who visit the municipality.
Cerro del Hilo viewpoint
This viewpoint, located in the municipal area of Becerril de la Sierra, is within walking distance of the urban area so you can access it from Navacerrada Reservoir or following a track that starts at kilometre 55.5 of the M-617 road.
From the Cerro del Hilo viewpoint there are excellent views of the National Park of the Sierra de Guadarrama; it is advisable to take some binoculars to see the details. The most outstanding elements to look at are: to the north, the Valley of the Ravine, the Alto de las Guarramillas -Bola del Mundo – and La Maliciosa; To the south, the Medium Head and the Sierra de Hoyo; to the east, the Rope de los Porrones, Cabeza Illescas and Cerro de San Pedro; To the west, the Cerro de las Cabezas, the Navacerrada reservoir, the Sierra del Castillo, the Cerro of Jarahonda and the Alto del León-La Peñota alignment.
Alto del Hilo Recreation Area
Alto del Hilo Recreation Area, in the municipal area of Becerril de la Sierra, has tables, benches and litter bins available. Worth mentioning that from here it is possible to observe specimens of pine, a great variety of birds and some reptiles. The Navacerrada Reservoir is nearby and offers magnificent views of the Sierra de Guadarrama.