Medieval church of St Mary, the realm where the invisible meets the visible

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Just 5 kms away from Peraleda, off the road, right in the countryside, there is the old church of Saint Mary of Compostela in la Mata, better known today as "the ruins of St. Gregory". Here is the historical beginning of all the surrounding area and, no doubt, a most mysterious and strange place. Nobody knows exactly when it was first built, but it predates all the populations in the region. Experts still debate if there used to be a village around it or it was simply built in the middle of nowhere. What we do know is that this site has been considered a sacred place for centuries, probably millennia. Its naked stones are today a haven for storks, of which you can see dozens.

There's evidence of a Visigoth cult (from Germanic tribes who displaced the Romans), and signs of a Roman and even older cult before that. By the ruins, there still flows a medicinal water spring, which may explain its ancient sacredness, and there are remnants of a roman village. Tradition says that Our Lady appeared to some shepherds on a tree, so the place became sacred for Christians too, being that the origin of the devotion to Our Lady of La Mata ("mata" means bush). This was also the place where two branches of St James's Trail joined, which made it even more important.

We don't know when the first apparition took place, since its memory is lost in the mist of time, but those apparitions keep happening over time, and the last one reported took place only a few decades ago. Anyway, the present temple you can see now, from the 14th century, was built over the remains of a Visigoth chapel, so the apparition might have first happened as long ago as the arrival of Christianity in the area. If they ever decide to excavate the ruins and the surroundings, we will most probably find some interesting surprises.

Under its influence, a very peculiar confederation of villages was born (the Council of La Mata), including Peraleda de la Mata, which finally inherited the role of this church -as religious capital of the confederation- in the 16th century.

When this church stopped working as the parish church of the confederation, every village built its own church, but this place was still used as a chapel for the Virgin (still the patroness saint of the confederation) and as seat for the common council. Every village had its own council but they all were just a part of this common council, which in turn was part of the Council of Plasencia, since for centuries all these villages belonged to the city of Plasencia. This was a conudrum impossible to understand for national politicians in the 19th century, so they abolished it then.

On the esplanade by the church, the local mayors had their meetings, judges had their trials and people made their festival. Many of the important things in the area were centred here. For centuries, it was also a pilgrimage destination. The image of the Blessed Virgin was relocated in Peraleda in the 19th century, when this church started to crumble down, and was finally burned at the stake in the main square during the Civil War. This is how ignorance and cruelty joined together to put an end to one of the major ancient assets of the diocese of Plasencia. Peraleda has recently revived the old pilgrimage, though to a different location, to be held each first Saturday of May.

Peraleda ha resucitado la romería a la Virgen el 1er sábado de mayo

Nevertheless, if this place is so important and interesting is not only because of its historical or sacred nature. Esoterics have always consider this site extraordinarily important, since it is one of those spots where several lines of energy flowing around the earth cross and meet, generating a point of great power. That is why it comes to no surprise that this location shows all kinds of paranormal activity, even to the point of having attracted the interest of TVs and other media in several occasions. Psycophonies (voices of the dead) have been recorded here, UFO's have been sighted hovering over its tower or taking off behind it, naked witches clothed in long hair reaching down to the ground have been seen wandering the place, ghosts or voices have also scared people away, and many visitors daring to get into the ruins by night swear they have lived through fascinating feelings and experiences that they can't even describe. The huge flow of energy generating at the cross of these energy lines is, according to them, the explanation for all these strange occurrences, both internal and external. Only those who risk visiting this place at night and try to connect with the place itself can understand what we are talking about.



The prime time TV show "Fourth Millennium" made a report in 2022 on the mysteries of this place, with surprising revelations, declaring this spot as "The creepiest place in Spain". You can see it here.


visit here the ruins in 3D




Escrito por Angel Castaño

Apóyanos con tu firma para salvar el Dolmen de Guadalperal y también para salvar el retablo esgrafiado de Peraleda.

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