La Rioja lies on the westernside of the Ebro Valley. From the banks of the Oja, after which it is named, it extends over 5,000 kmsq. and a full of different geographical features. There is the Upper Rioja which is mountainous and humid and stretches from the spurs of La Demanda Sierra as far as the Ebro. It is different from the Lower Rioja, which is flat and has an almost Mediterranean climate. This part lies in the eastern half and is bounded by the River Leza and La Sierra. Between both areas, there is Logrono, the capital, with its region being bounded by the Ebro in the north and Cameros Sierra in the south, which borders on the Province of Soria.
The region has a population of about 250,000 inhabitants.
It is a crossroads where many cultures settled. La Rioja has ahistory full of famous events.
Thus, out of the stones of the Monasteries of San Millan de Suso and Yuso grew the beginnings of the language of Castile. Gonzalo de Berceo wrote the first verses in Castilian Spanish, which have survived to our days.
The people of La Rioja have lived in the company of Basques, Romans, Arabs, Navarrese and Castilians. It was not by chance that Najera was the centre of the Cantabrian Dukedom and later the capital of its empire. It was the court of the Kingdom of Navarre and La Rioja as well asthe main link between the Kingdoms of Castile-Leon and Aragon as the legacy King Sancho III left his sons Fernando and Ramiro .
Calahorra at the end of the Roman road is two thousand years old today and grew out of thesettlement called Calagurris.
Until four hundred years after the Reconquest, the Moorish population in Cervera del Rio Alhama was more numerous than Christians and Jews, but they lived together without any problems. For history or legend, there is the Battle of Clavijo, in which St James, the Slayer of Moors, personally took a hand.
On their way to Santiago, people from France, Southern and Northern Europe stopped in Santo Domingo de la Calzada with its pilgrims' hospital. They left a touch of Romanesque and Gothic in the architecture of the region and are responsible for a new layout of its villages and towns.