La regione di Castiglia e Leon

The region of Castile and Leon: the heart of Spain between cities and castles

The region of Castile and Leon it’s the magic land of castles of the Spaina special place that gave birth to the legendary hero El Cid it’s at St. Theresa ofAvila but which also saw the birth of the language we call Spanish (which is, in fact, the Castilian). A place where the history, myth and legend they have so merged over the centuries that it is sometimes difficult to separate them. And erase what was from fairy tales.

It is no coincidence that the people here say that too Walt Disney used the legendary Moorish fortress of Segovia as inspiration for his famous castles (and here the controversy arises with the German one of Neuschwanstein. But that’s another story) and that this is the region of Spain with the largest number of manors.

The region of Castile and Leon: medieval villages and gothic churches

The region of Castile and Leon it is then dotted with enchanting medieval villages with impressive Gothic cathedrals and here you meet cities that look like open-air museums. Places like Segovia And Salamanca they are famous enough names to make people understand the historical and artistic importance of the region which in fact attracts many tourists who come to admire destinations such as Burgos And Avila without forgetting that also the famous Santiago’s walk cross this slice of Spain heading to the Galician capital of Santiago de Compostela.

The region of Castile and Leon

The region of Castile and Leon: large and sparsely inhabited

This Spanish region is the largest in the country and has an extent which alone scarcely exceeds that of the Portugal or ofHungary. Not only that: it is also one of the most largest in the entire European Union even if as we know it today it is quite recent since it was established only in 1983 by the union of Castilla la Vieja (i.e. Old Castile) with Leon. Most of the land is shaped by the Meseta Centrala vast plateau which has an average altitude of 600 meters and is crossed by the Douro, the third longest river in the Iberian Peninsula. High land, poorly irrigated and dry: the result is that despite its infinite history this turns out to be one of the Spanish regions less populated and that 40% of its inhabitants are in cities.

Few people but lots of nature: the region of Castile and Leon is indeed a habitat still populated by many animal species and here rolling my eyes, particularly in the area of ​​the Gredos National Parkyou can admire the glides of eagles and griffins while on the ground, even if rare to see them, they move bears, wolves, ibexes and even the lynxes.

The region of Castile and Leon

The region of Castile and Leon: the Moors and El Cid

The ancient kingdom of Castile it was first united with the neighboring kingdom of Leon in the early part of the 11th century. It takes its name from the numerous castles built by the Christians as a defense against the invading Moors and this was a land which was for centuries at the center of the struggle between the Moors and the Spaniards then in search of a newfound freedom. The most famous champion of the Christian reconquest was “El Cid Campeador” who was born in Bivarnear the city of Burgos.

His life is a tangle of history (little) and legends (many): his deeds told in a book considered among the first in Iberian literature. However, among other businesses it should be the release of Valencia while only one thing, at least, is certain: he is buried in the magnificent cathedral of Burgos.

This region now does not have a single capital and its institutions are scattered in the different cities. Valladolidin reality, is the most important reality, also from an economic point of view, but other places also boast of having their own political-administrative role: Burgosfor example, is the judicial center but also Palencia has an important court. But for tourists there are obviously other attractions. And there are many.

The region of Castile and Leon

The region of Castile and Leon: the golden traces of the Romans

Near the city of León, for example, you can visit the site of one of the more great gold mines of the Roman Empire: Las Medulaswhere the Romans devised techniques for the science fiction era told by Pliny and which still today justify that this is a Unesco site.
But there is not only this Roman in the region of Castile and Leon: the magnificent aqueduct that crosses Segovia it is one of the greatest architectural marvels in the area.

It is one of the best preserved aqueducts in the world – built from 20,400 stones that have stood for more than 2,000 years without the aid of mortar. The other major tourist attraction of Segovia is his fabulous palace: theAlcazar, a Moorish fortress that has incorporated elements from different eras and whose cyclopean walls stretched to protect the entire city in the Middle Ages. Also not to be missed is the cathedral, known as the “Lady of the Cathedrals” is one of the last Gothic buildings built in Spain at the highest point of the city.

The region of Castile and Leon

The region of Castile and Leon: Salamanca, the golden city

The splendid “golden city of Salamanca” (so named for the yellow-red sandstone used in the construction of many of its buildings) is home to the most ancient Spanish university founded in 1218 by King Alfonso IX and since then it has been one of the cultural capitals of the country (the current capital, Madrid, is about 210 km). Now it is a monumental city but also full of life thanks to the many students who remember that the first grammar of the Spanish language.

But above all it is a city to see: start from Plaza Mayor and then switch between two cathedrals stopping in the many places where you can taste tapas and the classic jamon which here gives its best. So at sunset go to the Roman bridge and look: the city, between the golden stone and the lights, will seem to shine.

The region of Castile and Leon

Journey to the region of Castile and Leon: and here is Avila

Continuing the journey in region of Castile and Leon one arrives by force at the medieval fortified city of Avilahometown of Saint Theresa, it is one of the major tourist attractions of the whole region and of this part of the Spain. He is still surrounded by 11th century walls dotted with nine gates and dozens of watchtowers which protected a place of pilgrimage and contrasts. In the cloisters, in the Basilica of San Vincenzo and in the cathedral, one breathes silence and recollection while in the cafes around Plaza de Santa Teresa we laugh and drink. Even because Avilawith its 1130 meters of height, in summer it is a refuge from the heat of the south and of Madrid.

Avila it smells of history: but it is a recent history if you compare it with what is found in the Atapuerca archaeological site15 kilometers east of Burgos, where the remains of the first inhabitants of Europe were discovered. And we’re talking about our ancestors over 500,000 years ago.

The region of Castile and Leon

The region of Castile and Leon: Middle Ages and Modernity

We conclude the journey arriving at Leoncapital of the homonymous province founded by the Romans, in 68 AD and for ancient pilgrims a city full of happiness. It was then and it still is today: woods and orchards stand out all around and the city itself mixes the medieval flavor and the modern in an extraordinary historical and artistic heritage. The streets between Plaza Mayor and the Plaza del Mercado they still have old buildings but around it is full of clubs and pubs. Life here pulsates cheerfully. And the beauty of region of Castilla and Leon is that everywhere so.

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