¿WHERE IS IT?
This idyllic and captivating village is located in the prodigious Val de Xálima, in the northwestern part of the Spanish province of Cáceres. Nowadays, San Martín de Trevejo has about 800 inhabitants. Although it belonged to the province of Salamanca until 1833, today it is part of the twenty towns that integrate the Sierra de Gata.
The orography that makes up this place is due to its slate composition, and then the erosive action exerted by the fluvial net in the area.
Its strategic situation -so close to the Portuguese border and in the heart of Sierra de Gata-, its magnanimous vegetation and its original architecture –with streams sliding down the streets- make San Martin de Trevejo can be offered to the visitors like a landscape and patrimonial ensemble probably unique in the world.
¿WHAT’S SPECIAL IN SAN MARTIN?
“The old town is an authentic architectural treasure, declared Historic Complex and Cultural Interest Emplacement, as part of the national system of heritage listing. The traditional houses make feel like the time in San Martin de Trevejo have been stopped, while the villagers -the Mañegos- walk the same streets that the streams slide down through.
The set of buildings and constructions in the old town is one of the best preserved ones in Spain. By walking the streets where the roofs on one side and opposite can practically get together, travelers can observe original constructions. They are almost always wooden framed three-floor houses.
The ground floor or boiga is the most significant part in a Mañegan home. Not long ago, they were used to be the place where the pork for the Matanza –slaughter- was kept. It was also used to keep straw, hay, and wine and oil jars. Nowadays they are an important tourist attraction and a good place to taste the appreciated wine from the region
A fala is the best cultural treasure in the Jálama Valley. It is a language with a controversial and indefinite origin. The Mañegan –and also the locals from other villages near San Martin where the fala is spoken- are so proud of this language, and they are aware of the evolution that it has undergone through the centuries, and the character that a fala confers to the valley.
The conditions of isolation have probably helped to preserve this linguistic treasure, which is considered unique in the world and declared Bien de Interés Cultural in 1999 –good of cultural interest under the national system of heritage listing-. In short, listening to the locals communicate in their native language (the mañegu) is a hedonism that the traveler should not miss.
San Martiñu: This festivity is celebrated during the 11th and 12th of November in honor to the patron of the town, San Martin de Tours. After the religious mass, local people bring the Patron Saint out of the church and accompany him through several streets of the village. Once the procession is finished, the locals continue celebrating in the bars and they go to the cellars –specially decorated for the occasion with an olive branch on the door- and taste the new wines of the year for the first time.
“Crú Bindita”. Festivity celebrated the 3rd of May. It consists in a religious mass and a later a procession from the hermitage where the figure of the Cruz –cross- is, and through the streets of the village.
Grape harvest festival. This traditional festival in several areas of Spain is preserved on its original way in San Martin de Trevejo. The festivity carries out every September. All the mañegos –people from San Martin- come together around the ornamental fountain in the Main Square, where they all step the branches of grapes in a traditional way, just like their ancestors did.
The first testimonies of human occupation in San Martin de Trevejo date from Prehistory. Several funerary steles, stone grinding mills and Celtic treasures from these times are preserved.
However, the most important historical testimony in the village is the Roman legacy. In the Roman province of Lusitania, and in the unity of Vettonia, the preserved archaeological sites of Los Quintos, Toro Pelao and Mata Escobas, among others, attest to the importance that this area had during the Roman times.
The surrounding landscape of San Martin de Trevejo harbored, already in the Middle Ages, an important Berber village around the IX century.
The place name San Martín de Trevejo has not a really clear origin. It appears in some ancient maps as San Martín de los Vinos. It was probably when Fernando II, king of Leon, gave these territories to the Order of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem in 1184, when the village was turned named as San Martin de Trevejo. This fact is because the territory belonged then to the administrative unit of Trevejo. That was also the beginning of the worship of San Martin de Tours, being that this saint was very respected and adored by the Order of St. John of Jerusalem.
Until well into the nineteenth century, San Martín de Trevejo has been the most influential village in the Sierra de Gata, thanks to its momentous history and the tireless heartbeat in la Jálama, the highest mountain in the range.