The Cradle, Castilla y Léon, Spain

So moving right along in my showcase of Spain, my other love… On a tranquil Friday evening at home with rain and cool temps of course nothing new in lovely Morbihan. I need to tell you more about a region of Spain that has given birth to a country and more, in Europe and the Americas. I will tell you more about Castilla y Léon autonomous region of Spain.

The autonomous region of Castilla y León is in the northwest of Spain and surrounded by other communities such as Galice,Asturias,Cantabria, Basque country, Rioja , Aragon, Castilla y La Mancha, Comunidad de Madrid, Extremadura and Portugal. The region is the result of the union of 9 provinces in 1983, three already there since the alignment in 1833,where provinces were created and joined the region of Léon, and six belonging to Castilla la Vieja (old Castile) except the province of Santander(today Cantabria), and Logroño (today the Rioja). The current nine provinces of Castilla y Léon are Avila, Burgos, Léon, Palencia, Salamanca, Segovia Soria Valladolid and Zamora.

We find in Castilla y Léon over 60% of the architectural, artistic, cultural , etc of Spain! Which we can break it down as 8 Unesco world heritage sites such as the Cathedral of Burgos ,Old town Avial and Churches inside the wall), the old town and aqueduct of Segovia, the old town of Salamanca, the way of Santiago in Spain (Route Franco-Navarra and route Franco-Aragonesa),the Médulas, archeological site of Atapuerca, and the rupestre arts sites prehistorical of the Valley of Côa and Siega Verde. Also, the distinction memories of the World by Unesco to the treaty of Tordesillas ,and the General Archives of Simancas. Almost 1800 cultural sites, 112 historical sites, 400 museums, more than 500 castles including 16 of historical value designation in Spain , 12 Cathedrals, a concathedral Church, and the biggest concentration of Roman arts in the world. With the 8 Unesco heritage sites Castilla y Léon is the world region counting the most cultural sites given by UNESCO.

You, also,have on the nature site the forest or Montes de Valsaín and the ranges of Béjar and Francia,in the Central plateau, the valleys of Laciana, Omaña, and Luna ,as well the peaks or Picos de Europa and peak of Los Ancares,in the Cantabrian chain, the Iberian plateau in the frontier with Portugal, also, all declared part of the Biosphere by Unesco,as well recognizing the geoparque of La Lora. Castilla y León is strongly related on the programs of Memories of the World by Unesco in the the edict of the Cortes of León of 1188, considered the birth of the world parliamentary form of government and the before mentioned treaty of Tordesillas.

I like to tell you a bit of history I like:

The Roman period was non stop building here, and even to our days you see it all around you. Especially the Aqueduct of Segovia, the salted well and the Silver route or Salinas de Poza de la Sal and vía de la Plata, originally from Astorga (Asturica Augusta) crossing the region until the capital Mérida(Augusta Emerita) of Extremadura. With the fall of Rome, these lands were taken over by the Visigoths and later the Moors/Arabs ,and eventually the reconquest by the Catholic kings in 1488-1490. The Middle ages gave rise to the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela (St James).The way of Santiago passes by this region and help spread the European culture.

In 1188, the Basílica de San Isidoro of León was the seat of the first courts or parliaments in the history of Europe. The king Alfonso IX called for these. Then a county of this Christian kingdom of León begins to have autonomy and expansion, this is the beginning of the county of Castilla, that will grow to become a kingdom. The first Couint of Castilla was Fernán González. The base of the union of the kingdoms of Castilla and León,was put in place by 1194; when king Alfonso VIII of Castilla and king Alfonso IX of León signed the treaty for the union of the lands in Tordehumos in 1230 with king Fernando III el Santo(the Saint); at the court of Valladolid in 1295,king Fernando IV is recognized as king of Castilla y Leon. There is a portrait work of María de Molina representing the son of of king Fernando IV in the court of Valladolid in 1295 where today the Congress of Deputies is shown next to a portrait of the courts of Cádiz, emphasizing the importance of the parliamentary form of government that was developed in Castilla y León. This reach the union of these lands to the reconquest of Moors in Andalucia at Granada; the Catholic kings share the maritime ways and the new world with the Portuguese crown in the Treaty of Tordesillas.

As far as transport, the train is good, and the roads are excellent. Love that A-1 and A-6. The Autovía de Castilla or A-62, connecting cities like Salamanca, Valladolid, Palencia ,and Burgos. The A-2 ok but the others are better to the areas I like most. You have an airport at Salamanca about 17 km from the city and the airport of Valladolid in the town of Villanubia but still the one in Madrid can be taken too. The train network of course comes out of Madrid towards the corners of Cantabria and Galicia with stops in Astorga, Burgos, León, Miranda de Ebro, Palencia, Ponferrada, Valladolid , and Venta de Baños. There is a line between Irun and the Portuguese frontier at Fuentes de Oñoro, part of the line París-Lisbon.

The goodies of gastronomy here are the wonderful wines of D.O. Ribera del Duero, D.O. Toro ,and D.O. Rueda. The foodies are the ham or Jamón de Guijuelo, Lechazo de Castilla y León (lamb), Cochinillo de Segovia (pigs), Cecina de León or Chorizo de Cantimpalos (sausages). The roasted lamb or lechazo asado, cochinillo asado or roasted pork, sopa de ajo or garlic soup, judiones de La Granja (big white beans), gallina en pepitoria (chicken in a sauce), morcilla de Burgos (blood sausage),morcilla de Aranda (blood sausage). The sweets are the egg yolks or Yemas de Santa Teresa to kill for them lol!!!

This is a huge wonderful part of Spain, with lots to see and do. However, I will try to condense to give you my favorites.

The cities of Unesco heritage sites are Ávila, Salamanca and Segovia; The way to Santiago that crosses the provinces of Burgos, Palencia and León,the ducal town of Lerma. You have, also, winter sports with the ski stations of La Covatilla in the Sierra de Béjar; San Isidro and Leitariegos in León ,and the La Pinilla in Segovia.The Basílica de San Vicente of Ávila. The Alcazar of Segovia , castle of Peñafiel, castle of Frías, castle of Simancas, Castle of Coca, castle of Cuellar. The moors style still are there such as the Monasterio de San Miguel de Escalada (monastery), the Real Monasterio de Santa Clara of Tordesillas. On the renaissance style we have the palace or Palacio de Santa Cruz,now the rector of the University of Valladolid residence. The¨Palacio de Pimentel(where was born king Felipe II) now house the regional government in the province of Valladolid , also in Valladolid, the Palacio de los Vivero, that was the old chancellors residence and here the nuptial ceremony of the Catholic kings (Fernando and Isabel). The shells house or Casa de las Conchas in Salamanca with renaissance, gothic, and plateresque styles of architecture. The Palacio de Monterrey,own by the Casa de Alba (dukes). In Burgos you have the Casa del Cordón and the Cartuja de Miraflores. Also, the Monasteries of Santa María la Real de Las Huelgas, and inside the Codex musical de Las Huelgas. See the Herrenian style of architecture at the Palacio Ducal de Lerma.

There are equally many museums here so again will tell you only my favorites. The Museum of Human evolution or Museo de la Evolución Humana in Burgos. Here in same building you find the Royal Academy of fine arts or the Real Academia de Bellas Artes. Palacio Real de La Granja at the Real Sitio de San Ildefonso (near Segovia) one of the residences of the Royal family of Spain. The house museum of Cervantes or Museo Casa de Cervantes in Valladolid; it is by the calle del Rastro ,however the gardens are on another entrance grille on the Calle de Miguel Íscar,by which you entered on a passage named Pasaje de Dulcinea ;this is the authentic house where Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra lived in 1605. In Astorga you find the Casa Botines, that is one of the works of Gaudi done outside Catalunia, and was built between 1889 and 1915, and now dedicated to the Way of Santiago. You have the museums of Museo de Segovia, and Museo Zuloaga as also good ones.

The National festival of the Jota or Festival Nacional de la Jota is celebrated each year since 1968 in the town of Cuéllar. The dance of the Jota castellana (Castilian) can be accompany by guitars, bandurrias (plucked chordophone), lauds, dulzaina (double reed instrument), and tamboril (tabor).

And to help you enjoy all of the above, here are some tourist sites to check them out before coming over; always helpful to all.

Historical heritage in Castilla y Leon :

PNatural Heritage in Castilla y Leon :

Locator tourist offices in Castilla y Leon:

Tourism of Castilla y Léon:

Enjoy your weekend; and remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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