Set in the slope of the hill where the castle rises, it is placed the Iglesia de Santa María de la Encina.

Its placement under the protection of the castle is because in its origins the population was concentrated in the slope of the hill looking for the protection of the fortress.

Besides the religious cult, the surroundings of the temples served in that times for realizing gatherings of public administrations.

The date of origin is a reason for discrepancy between different researchers.
On the other hand, the technicians that have had the opportunity of making archaeological researches have determined that it is a building dating of the end of the 14th century, though the remains found under its foundations point that the same space was already dedicated to a funerary zone and possibly to worship in the period of Templar domination, or even earlier.

Along with Iglesia de San Juan Bautista, Santa María de la Encina was one of the two existent parishes in Burguillos del Cerro until the 18th century.

Antigua Iglesia de Santa María de la Encina <p">Antigua Iglesia de Santa María de la Encina.

Aspecto interior de la iglesia

Aspecto interior de la iglesia.

According to the legend, the virgin's image was found hidden in the gap of a holm oak next to the place where the church is, and due to that it receives the name of Santa María de la Encina (t/n: “encina” means holm oak in Spanish).

In the building elements of different architectonic concepts can be observed, and testify the different modifications, widenings and reparations that have been made to the church during its existence.

In the 17th century the exterior buttresses and two arcades were added, where part of the roof's weight rests. These arcades connected with the walls by means of flying buttresses, of which only one of them and the starting of the others are preserved.

The entrance to the place is made through three doors, one of them in the Epistle side or south wall; the other two are placed in the Gospel side or north wall and at the foot of the temple respectively.

As we enter we can find a nave that, in its origins, had a tiled roof on gable wood. The nave connects with the church's heading by means of an arch toral. This heading is similar in the exterior to a defensive tower of square floor plan, that has only three little cavities in form of a geminated window with point arch, trimmed to the outside with diamond tip molding or dog teeth, and rosette under the arch.

A nerved cupola covers the head of the temple.
The pointed arch door that is next to the entrance arch to the left of the head communicates with a spiral stairway, which gives access to the roof of the tower.

In the wall of the Gospel we find the only existing chapel, called chapel of the Castañeda.

Santa María de la Encina was dedicated to worship until the 18th century. By then, both this church and that of San Juan Bautista were in poor condition. This fact, together with the growth of the population towards the plain and the isolation of the churches from the neighborhood, led to the construction of the current parish of Santa María de la Encina y San Juan Bautista.

This last building would unite the two existing churches in a single temple, offering the faithful a place of worship more comfortable and close.

It is then when this church of Santa María de la Encina comes to be a cemetery.

At the end of the 19th century, it is abandoned due to the construction of the new Municipal Cemetery, being in a ruined state until it becomes the Interpretation Center of Extremaduran Popular Architecture in 2003 after its recovery and rehabilitation.

The state of deterioration that could be seen in the vaults, masonry and other constructive elements, has required an important work of consolidation and archaeological intervention, recovering after it the foundations of the space that defined the sacristy, and a cemetery area attached to the headboard on the side of the Gospel.

An open exhibition space was designed for the church's inside, so that the visitor never completely loses the perspective of the building as a protagonist element.

Arco arbotante

Arco arbotante.

The Interpretation Center of the Extremaduran Popular Architecture presents us different constructive typologies that have traditionally taken place in the Extremaduran region. Through popular architecture, we can understand the lifestyle of the rural population. The exhibition space is complemented by several miniatures, samples of materials used in the buildings, posters and an audiovisual projection.