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Valle de Losa (Municipality, Castilla y León, Spain)

Last modified: 2019-01-13 by ivan sache
Keywords: valle de losa |
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Flag of Valle de Losa - Image by Ivan Sache, 1 March 2014

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Presentation of Valle de Losa

The municipality of Valle de Losa (565 inhabitants in 2012; 27,766 ha; municipal website) is located in the north of the Province of Burgos, on the border with Álava province, 120 km from Burgos. The municipality is made of the villages of Aostri de Losa, Barriga, Baró, Calzada, Castresana, Castriciones, Fresno de Losa, Hozalla, Lastras de la Torre, Lastras de Teza, Llorengoz, Mambliga, Quincoces de Suso, Quincoces de Yuso (237 inh.; capital), Quintanilla la Ojada, Relloso, R&iaucte;o de Losa, San Llorente, San Martín de Losa, San Miguel de Relloso, San Pantaleón, Teza de Losa, Vescolides, Villabasil, Villacián, Villalambrús, Villaluenga and Villaño.

Valle de Losa (Losa Valley) was mentioned for the first time on 21 December 804, as Lausa, in the act of foundation of the church of Valpuesta. The valley was further mentioned, as an administrative division rather than a geographical entity, in the act of foundation of the monastery of San Martín de Losa (4 July 853). The book of charters of Valpuesta mentions Valle de Guabea, while the book of charters of the monastery of San Millán de Porcelos mentions Valle Composita.

Ivan Sache, 1 March 2014

Symbols of Valle de Losa

The flag of Valle de Losa (photo, photo) is rectangular, in proportions 2:3, made of three equal horizontal stripes, the upper red, the central white and the lower blue. The white stripe is charged with the municipal coat of arms.

The coat of arms of Valle de Losa, adopted on 30 May 1986 by the Municipal Council, is prescribed by a Decree adopted on 11 May 1987 by the Government of the Province of Burgos and published on 25 May 1987 in the official gazette of Castilla y León, No. 73 (text). For historical reasons, the Municipal Council did not accept all the modifications suggested by the Royal Academy of History.
The coat of arms is not explicitly described in the Decree.

The coat of arms (Escudos y Banderas de la Provincia de Burgos website) is "Per pale, 1. Castile, 2. Azure a chalice or ensigned with an eagle sable. Grafted in base, argent waves azure ensigned with a horse's head sable. The shield surmounted by a Royal crown open The shield over four banners, two blue and two red."
The base of the shield represents river Losa and the local horse bred, as representations of the natural environment of the valley. The chalice represents the old, local tradition linked to the Holy Grail, allegedly kept somewhere in the Valle de Losa.

The tradition claims that Pope Sixtus II (d. 258), short before being decapitated, transferred the Holy Grail to his disciple St. Lawrence. Before his own martyr, Lawrence sent the Grail to his parents, who lived in the village of Loreto, near Huesca (Aragón). The Grail was reportedly seen in 553 in the St. Peter church of Huesca. Following the Moorish invasion of Spain in 711, the Grail was hidden in different places of northern Spain. Other traditions say that the Holy Grail was brought to Spain by the Knights of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem.
The triangle made by San Pantaleón de Losa, Criales and Santa María de Siones is the heart of the Grail-associated legends in Province of Burgos (El Mundo, 5 January 2009). Criales is sometimes written Griales, directly alluding to the chalice (in Spanish, Grial). Santa María de Siones is said to have been named for the Zion hill, the headquarters of Knights of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem; the village is located in the Sierra de Magdalena, which "directly" alludes to Maria Magdalena.
The Romanesque church of San Pantaleón is built on rocky spur shaped like an inverted ship's keel, locally known as Peña Colorada (Coloured Rock). The rock is part of the Sierra Salvada, that some authors have "identified" to Mount Salvat, the place where the Knights of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem hid the chalice. A medieval legend says that a pilgrim, on his way to Santiago, collected in the church the blood of St. Pantaleon inside the Holy Grail; the saint's blood was expected to liquefy every 27 July, the day of the saint's death.

Ivan Sache, 1 March 2014