A Guide to Valladolid – Castilla y Leon, Spain
Valladolid is the current capital of Spain’s largest province, Castilla Leon.
Valladolid was built on the site of an ancient Roman city. From the 13th century until the 17th century Valladolid was the most important town in the kingdom of Castille and a possible capital for Spain. The city is a tribute to Spanish life during the ‘Age of Discovery’.
Valladolid, a former medieval town where King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella married in the 15th century, is packed with history where you will find a wealth of treasures including many old churches, monuments and museums.
Famous for its rich Spanish culture, beautiful gardens and the solemnity and grace of its Holy Week, Valladolid is also rich in spirituality being the home to St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross.
Christopher Columbus and Cervantes also lived here and their houses can still be seen in Valladolid, The home of the famous writer, Miguel Cervantes, has now been turned into a museum to his memory.
Many of the attractions of the city can be covered on foot, although the two most distant points, which are highly recommended, are the Museo Nacional de Escultura and the Museo Oriental. The Museo Nacional de Escultura (National Sculpture Museum) contains an incomparable collection of the works of the greatest Spanish artists from the 16th and 17th centuries including Berruguete. The building itself is an impressive example of Spanish Renaissance architecture.
Valladolid is also very famous for its University which was founded in the 13th century and is the second oldest University in Spain. Valladolid is also home to ‘The English College’, originally founded for the training of priests for English and Welsh Missions. Some parts of the building date back to from early 17th century and it is situated in the centre of this bustling city
The founder of Valladolid was the Castilian Count Ansurez who built many of the churches still standing today.
Two magnificent Plateresque buildings also worth mentioning are – the Santa Cruz College, founded by Cardinal Mendoza, now converted into a museum containing many religious sculptures. The second is the Dominican College of San Gregorio.
Other visitors attractions include The ancient Palacio Real which serves as a court building. There is a beautiful tower at each side of the building.
As is almost mandatory in this region, Valladolid also contains an exquisite cathedral. The Cathedral Metropolitana, which originates in the 16th century with a plain masonry style. Subsequent architects, however, felt the need to make the cathedral more ornate and thus adorned the exterior with garish gargoyles giving the church much more of a Gothic feel.
Valladolid’s Cathedral was designed by Juan de Herrera, architect of El Escorial. Behind the modern cathedral you will find the remains of the ancient cathedral of Santa Maria la Mayor, now restored.
The Dominican Convent of San Pablo, founded by the wife of Alfonso X, the Wise, also deserves a special mention. The most notable feature of this Gothic building is the facade of its church, which must be seen to be appreciated.
Places of interest in the province of Valladolid
Tamariz de Campos
A small municipality of the province. The passing of the ‘Canal of Castile’ (‘Branch of Campos’) through the municipal term of Tamariz, creates a small oasis of water and vegetation that contrasts with the surrounding dryness. It hosts two exquisiye temples: San Juan and San Pedro.
The historical Castilian town of Tordesillas has been an important crossroads since Roman times.
In 1494 the ‘Treaty of Tordesillas’ was signed in the town by the Kings of Portugal and Spain to divide up the New World. In 1931 it was declared to be a site of Cultural Interest.
Vallisoletanos (or pucelanos) are reputed to speak the purest Castilian of all of Spain