In terms of heritage, bridges, Churches, fountains, mills, laundries and other diverse constructions are featured and justify the visit to those Sierra villages. They are small jewels of our cultural heritage, much less known than the Great Core Heritages, but historic witnesses of this Sierra inhabitant’s quotidian life.
The natural barrier the Sierra de Guadarrama establishes and the unquestionable beauty of its landscapes have been determinant values without any doubt for Kings, aristocracy, and clergy to choose those mountains to build impressive and relevant constructions, such as defensive fortresses, monasteries or churches.
Today, those great core heritages suppose an attractive added value for the Sierra de Guadarrama National Park visit, being a perfect backdrop landscape for those cultural scenarios.
The Sierra de Guadarrama presence in our literature heritage is at least as old as our proper literature. Perhaps the first reference is at “The Hunting Book” by Alfonso XI, which describes the hunting animals, where to hunt them, and which tracks to take to find them. Later on, many books from the Middle Age talk about the Sierra de Guadarrama, being probably the most relevant “The Book of Good Love” (El Libro del Buen Amor) by El Arcipreste de Hita, written as well in the 14th century and depicting many picaresque and amusing pastoral scenes.
Many others like the Marquis of Santillana in its “Serranillas” makes a lot of references to the Sierra de Guadarrama, such as the route leading to Lozoyuela, or the Yelmo descend. The Spanish Golden Century (Siglo de Oro) is riddled with writings describing the Sierra de Guadrrama as a grandiose scenario and landscape backdrop. Cervantes, Lope de Vega, Vélez de Guevara, Tirso de Molina, Rojas Zorrilla and Góngora among others locate some of their writings at the magnificent Sierra de Guadarrama.
The Enlightenment Age also explores this land, emphasizing Antonio Ponz with his “Journey to Spain” (Viaje a España) and the thoroughness letters addressed to The Lozoya Valley and to El Paular, or Nicolás Moratín and as well Jovellanos who “discovered” a landscape full of danger and enigmas. The Romanticism Age awakens also an echo of those nooks, and not only Spanish authors but as well English, French and Italian left in their writings the Sierra de Guadarrama memory. Many are the names who have embodied that Sierra along the different centuries until the 19th, when an important attitude and mentality change occurs towards love for the Sierra. Giner de los Ríos, Pío Baroja and of course Antonio Machado left a trace with their commitment to Guadarrama. Maybe it is at that time when the Sierra is felt and understood as a crucial element, being Enrique de Mesa the first “mountaineer”.
At the early 20th century, authors such as Ortega y Gasset or Carlos Fernández Shaw left their written trace in its heights, and afterwards Leopoldo Panero and the poet Luis Rosales who lived at Cercedilla. Several years later in that century, Cela, Sánchez Ferlosio and Vicente Aleixandre wrote texts nearly “geographic” and evocative of our Sierra in their novels until the early 21st century.