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Visit The Unique Town In Spain Set In Two Time Zones

Rihonor de Castilla stands in two time zones on the border between Spain and Portugal
Rihonor de Castilla stands in two time zones on the border between Spain and Portugal [Image by M.Peinado on Wikimedia Commons]
Nestling in the Zamora Province of Spain, Rihonor de Castilla straddles the border between Spain and Portugal. The unique town gets to celebrate the New Year twice as it and its Portuguese counterpart, Rio de Onor are both in different time zones. This makes the Spanish town unique in Spain and fascinating to visit.

Rihonor de Castilla and Rio de Onor in two time zones

The Spanish town of Rihonor de Castilla is located in the Zamora Province of Spain. Meanwhile, it shares existence with its Portuguese counterpart, Rio de Onor, just over the Portuguese border. Spain still uses Central Europe Time, a move made by the Spanish dictator, Franco, to line up with the Nazis in Germany. However, strictly speaking, Rihonor de Castilla should be in the same time zone as Portugal.

Stone houses in Rio de Onor - Rihonor de Castilla
Stone houses in Rio de Onor [Image by M.Peinado on Wikimedia Commons]
Meanwhile, the residents in the town are used to the unique positioning of their town, especially when New Year’s Eve allows them to celebrate the New Year twice – once on the Spanish side, and once on the Portuguese side of town – an eccentric tradition that underscores the town’s unique location. However, as noted by El Mundo, folk in the town use the Spanish clock in their daily lives.

Two sides of town and two languages

Rio de Onor
Rio de Onor [Image by Município de Bragança on Facebook]
Besides the chance to celebrate the New Year twice, Rihonor de Castilla also boasts a rich tapestry of cultural and linguistic heritage. With the town straddling the border with Portugal, both Spanish and Portuguese are used in everyday life, leading to a bilingual and bicultural community.

A local dialect came from this phenomenon where the blend of cultures exists in “Rihonores,” a unique local dialect that combines elements of Spanish, Portuguese and Leonese. Admittedly, the dialect is falling into disuse, but it still stands as a symbol of the town’s unique dual location and its cultural melting pot.

What attractions does Rihonor de Castilla offer travelers?

Church in Rio de Onor in Portugal
Church in Rio de Onor in Portugal [Image by Vitor Oliveira on Wikimedia Commons]
Besides the unique time zone, the town offers much in the way of historic and natural attractions. Rihonor de Castilla is set in the Castilla y Leon region and is backed by the Sierra de la Culebra. This offers visitors beautiful landscapes and a quiet escape from daily city life.

Meanwhile, the town’s heritage can be seen in its quaint stone houses with slate roofs. Moreover, it has a traditional communal mill to visit, as well as the Church of Santa Marina. To gain more insights into the town’s past, visitors can explore the Casa do Touro museum which reveals details of the bilingual town’s rich history.

Moreover, Rihonor de Castilla allows visitors to step from Spain into Portugal, while staying in town. However, like many rural towns, it has demographic challenges – youngsters tend to move away to the cities for more opportunities. At the most recent census, the town’s population was down to 32 persons, which led to concerns over the town’s long-term survival.

However, as Rihonor de Castilla attracts visitors from both Spain and Portugal, a growing interest for tourists could revitalize the town. Meanwhile, it will also safeguard its cultural legacies and surrounding beautiful nature.

Moreover, the twin towns of Rihonor de Castilla and Rio de Onor stand as living proof of the harmonious coexistence between the two nations. Here, visitors can experience the unique cultural heritage the town offers.

 

 

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