Medieval, but with Street Lamps

Midnight in Sos del Rey Católico and the streets are deserted. This stone village in northern Aragón was built on a rocky hill in the 10th century as a Christian fortress to repel attacks from Moorish armies. The etymology of the word Sos is unclear. Some say it was the name of the hill on which the village was built, others say it’s of Basque origin and refers to the Celtic tribes that once inhabited this part of northern Spain. Five centuries later, in 1452, Ferdinand II was born here–the same Ferdinand who married Isabella to become the Catholic King of Spain and who went on to recapture Granada, the last Muslim stronghold in Spain. The fall of Granada marked the end of eight centuries of Moorish occupation on the Iberian peninsula. The name of the village was officially changed only in 1924. Sos del Rey Católico is one of Aragón’s best preserved medieval villages, and historians say that parts of the town look pretty much the same as they did when Ferdinand was born here. Photo ©Mike Randolph

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15 Responses to Medieval, but with Street Lamps

  1. LAC November 29, 2012 at 13:45 #

    This is one of the things that I love so much about Spain. If you want to go back in time, very far back, you can. Beautiful photo. Great history. España, te quiero.

  2. Mike Randolph November 29, 2012 at 13:59 #

    Thank you LAC. The strongest sensation of going back in time that I’ve ever felt was in Cáceres. I’ll post some images from there soon.

  3. georgemills25 November 29, 2012 at 14:10 #

    You’re right. Caceres is something special. There are also a few smaller hilltop towns strung out along the Spanish/Portuguese border where you can have the feeling of going back in time. Monsaraz springs to mind.

  4. Mike Randolph November 29, 2012 at 14:12 #

    Thanks for the tip! I’ve never been to Monsaraz…it’s now on my list.

  5. Jeff November 29, 2012 at 14:42 #

    This reminds me of that one town in particular where you had the discussion with the elder man about the bulls being released in the town square. What was the name of that amazing place? Great shot, and bang on regarding going back in time! You are a great ambassador for Spain Mike. In turn from what you have taught me, I keep going on about it!

  6. Beth November 29, 2012 at 14:53 #

    Sos has also hosted some amazing summer concerts with current indie music. The Jayhawks, The Drive by Truckers and other very current bands have played the tiny town of Sos.

  7. Amanda Brown November 29, 2012 at 15:27 #

    This is great! I’m studying abroad in Spain and I love it!

    You should go to Manzanares when they have their antique fencing day. It was in September, I think. It was incredible! These people from the area who go to a fencing school dress up and go to the castle in Manzanares El Real and fence all along the walls and in the courtyard! It was fantastic, and they are super nice!

    Also, Siguenza is a beautiful place! And of course…Avila and Toledo and all those other awesome places! 🙂

  8. Mike Randolph November 29, 2012 at 15:50 #

    Jeff: Thanks, amigo. We didn’t go to Sos…but I can’t remember the place you’re talking about. Was it near Zaragoza?

    Beth: Luna Lunera is a very cool festival. You can check it out here–

    Amanda: Thank you. Sigüenza’s Parador is my favorite of all of them. And all the other places–yes, definitely awesome!

    • Jeff November 29, 2012 at 18:25 #


      It was a mountain village with some sort of Moorish wall above it. You have that great photo on the narrow streets intersecting at it. I remember you really wanted me to see this place, and I was really glad I did!


  9. julvic November 29, 2012 at 20:52 #

    Looking at the photograph brought back the feeling of tranquility that I felt walking about a similar street in another Spanish village. It was pure Zen. I could only hear my own footsteps and it gave me goose bumps. I wish I could remember the name of the village and I hope I can dig it out of my memory. I must go there again, after all it will still be waiting for me, no doubt unchanged.

  10. Mike Randolph November 29, 2012 at 21:15 #

    I recommend to a lot of my friends that they plan their vacations to Spain in the off season for this very reason. You experience the place in a different way.

  11. Ali December 1, 2012 at 01:24 #

    Gorgeous photo, Mike! You are such a talent. Can the geeky editor in me ask if you lugged a tripod around? Or are you just really good at lying on the ground and holding still? 🙂

  12. Mike Randolph December 2, 2012 at 18:16 #

    So nice to see your comment Ali! And thank you!

    I rarely use a tripod, but for this shoot, I had one. In general, I sometimes find myself wishing I had a tripod with me, but not always. But when I do take a tripod, I’m almost always wishing I wasn’t carrying it…


  1. If you like Spain and you like photography, you'll love + | - September 15, 2014

    […] Medieval, but with Street LampsMidnight in Sos del Rey Católico and the streets are deserted. This stone village in northern Aragón was built on a rocky hill in the 10th century as a Christian fortress to repel attacks from Moor…… […]

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