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Cervantes / Don Quijote

The house where the universal writer, Miguel de Cervantes, was born.

The places where Don Quixote and Sancho Panza's adventures and misfortunes happened find their setting in the Sanabria region of La Carballeda, where, furthermore, the researcher, Leandro Rodríguez, after fifty years of studies, found the famous Miguel Cervantes' house. This is where he wrote a large part of the masterpiece of Spanish literature: "El Ingenioso Hidalgo Don Quijote de la Mancha" ("The Adventures of Don Quixote de la Mancha").

More than half a century of meticulous researching led the Geneva University professor, Leandro Rodríguez, from Sanabria himself, to place the setting of "El ingenioso hidalgo Don Quijote de la Mancha" in Sanabria. This is an itinerary which has become a tourist route, but which does not stop here, for so many years of study have led to Miguel Cervantes' birthplace, in the same town that is named after him. His origins are also known: Jewish and from Sanabria.

It is surprising to arrive in the town of Cervantes and to find a small, low, wooden door which you can only go through by bowing your head. With its threshold slightly adorned, the traveller will immediately imagine Cervantes leaving or entering the house. Whether the theory is correct or not, the most surprising of all is that, on starting a conversation with some villager, he will quickly point out the veracity of this. A truth that everyone firmly believes has been passed down from fathers to sons: that house has always been known as : the writer's house . This is backed up by Cervantes' own words when, on talking about his origins, he said: my family's roots began in ? a place in the mountains of León?. And if we go back in history, Sanabria used to come under the Ponferrada jurisdiction and formed part of the southern area of the León mountains.

The best travel guide is the novel itself. With this in your hand, you can see how the settings of "Don Quixote de la Mancha" use the different towns of the high Zamora-Sanabria region as a basis and that a large part of Cervantes' tale coincides with facts, places and names that belong to the entire area, particularly the triangle formed by the towns of Fuentes de Ropel, Miranda do Douro and Ribadelago.

If we go a little further, we can see how several families in the area are surnamed Saavedra.

The hills, valleys, woods and forests, meadows and streams, sierras, mountains and lagoons are all described in Cervantes' work. So, in the book's second chapter, at a crossroads, the gentleman, Don Quixote, challenges friars from the Orden de San Benito (the San Benito order) and struggles against the Biscayan. This is a setting where Rodríguez sees the coincidence with the "Biscayan" crossroads located in the Sierra Negra. When reference is made to the Montesinos cave, note is taken of the fact that, there, a windmill by that name exists in Santa Colomba de Sanabria.

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