Santa Cruz de la Zarza

Santa Cruz de la Zarza
Municipality
Coat of arms of Santa Cruz de la Zarza
Coat of arms
Santa Cruz de la Zarza.png
Santa Cruz de la Zarza is located in Spain
Santa Cruz de la Zarza
Santa Cruz de la Zarza
Location in Spain
Coordinates: 39°58′36″N 3°11′27″W / 39°58′36″N 3°11′27″W / 39.97667; -3.19083
Country Spain
Autonomous community Castile-La Mancha
ProvinceToledo
ComarcaMesa de Ocaña
Judicial districtOcaña
FoundedEarly 12th century (before 1175) by the Knights of Santiago.
Government
 • AlcaldeRomán Muñoz Sánchez (2007)
Area
 • Total264.54 km2 (102.14 sq mi)
Elevation790 m (2,590 ft)
Population (2009)
 • Total4,929
 • Density19/km2 (48/sq mi)
Demonym(s)santacrucero, ra / santacruceño, ña
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Postal code45370
Dialing code925125 and 925143
Official language(s)Castillian
WebsiteOfficial website

Santa Cruz de la Zarza is a village and municipality in the province of Toledo, part of the autonomous community of Castile-La Mancha, Spain, located northeast of Mesa de Ocaña and south of the river Tagus.

Name

According to legend, having to happen one day the Gothic king Recaredo, for the street of the Cava that to the season was in those days a covered rill of undergrowth, the neighbors gave fire to the brambles and between the flames, some cross of wood appeared without damage, after this fact, the village started be call Santa Cruz entre Zarzas, evolving later to the name that today has. Other sources affirm that the origin of the name of Santa Cruz de la Zarza can come from its geographical situation placed between two valleys and between these two valleys there was a mountain of bramble patches.

In any case, it seems that the name alludes, on the one hand, to the Order of Santiago ("the Holy Cross"); the bramble corresponds to a form used during the repopulation era of the Reconquista period, which often used names of plants: Ajofrín (garlic), Cebolla (onion), Almendros (almond trees), Perales (pear trees), (Perales de Tajuña, Perales del Río, etc.)

A last hypothesis aims that the name "Zarza" can be related to the group of place names derived from the Latin quercus "oak", as Cerceda, Cercedilla, Cercedo, etc. Since quercus is a feminine name of fourth decline in Latin, bramble might derive from the form of the Latin quercea, "oak". Another possibility is that from the adjective querceus, "relative to the oak", there comes the form of neutral plural *quercea, "place abundant in oaks, grove of evergreen oaks". The evolution would be Quercea> *Kercea> *Kercia> *Cerza> Zarza. Other points in favour of this hypothesis are the thick groves of evergreen oaks preserved in the surroundings of the municipality.

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