Guide to Zamora – Castilla y Leon, Spain
This enchanting province has been known for many things throughout history. The Puente de Piedra (Stone Bridge) that crosses the Duero takes you into a city with a resounding medieval imprint and is often referred to as the City of Romanesque. Vaults with Gothic arches, apses and doorways decorated with plant motifs and the oldest relics in the city are some of the jewels that you will encounter when you walk amongst the monuments.
Tiny streets, drops of rain, and churches with a history going back to the Knights Templar, the city of Zamora holds the motto ‘Zamora was not won in a day.’
Zamora is also known as the ‘Well Protected‘ because of its triple defensive ring and the first of these walls is preserved almost in its entirety. Among the stretches of the wall, there are three main gates – the Portillo de la Traicion, the Puerta de Dona Urraca and the Puerta del Obispo.
Zamora was the general headquarters of the frontier in the 18th century due to its strong walls and medieval castle.
Dominating the whole of the area is the Castle; built by the Arabs and still complete with tower, gate moat and Cathedral.
Things to see in Zamora
Cathedral of Zamora
The Cathedral of Zamora is built in a Romanesque style and is one of Spain’s finest examples. Various elements were added to the cathedral over the years and include Gothic features (apses and sanctuary) and Herrera features (cloister).
Its Byzantine dome is the symbol of the city and is what differentiates it from other cathedrals. It houses a large variety of works of art including the choir stalls, a figure of Christ and an image of the Virgin Mary.
Easter is the best time to visit Zamora and to experience the Easter celebrations which has been marked a Festival of International Tourist Interest.
Parador de Turismo
Visitors fortunate enough to reside at the Parador de Turismo will automatically experience another jewel of Renaissance architecture; originally it was the Palace of the Counts of Alba de Aliste that dates from the 15th century.
All throughout the town are examples of Romanesque churches, Zamora is famous for its many religious buildings such as the Church of Santa Mara la Nueva containing The ‘Cristo Yacente’ (the Laying Christ); a carving from the 17th century highly valued by the Zamorians, and to whom the Easter festivities are dedicated.
Churches of Zamora
The Church of Santiago del Burgo, built in the 12th century, has two different styles that can be distinguished in its columns. One is Corinthian and on the other is decorated with fantastic animals and elaborate plants.
There is also the Church of La Magdalena with its encrusted tabernacles on the front angles of the nave with barrel arch roof. Visitors have marvelled there at the sarcophagus of an unknown lady in which some angels appear to be taking away her soul.
The famous Church of the Horta containing a 16th century reredo, where the influence of Berruguete and Lorenzo de Avila (from the Rafael school) can be felt quite clearly.
Museums in Zamora
Cultural museums include the Holy Week Museum (Museo de la Semana Santa). In this cultural centre, you can admire the floats that parade through Zamora during Easter. Or the Provincial Museum of Zamora which is divided into two sections; Fine Arts and Archaeology. The first exhibits sculptures and paintings from the 14th to the 20th century. The second shows the evolution of the province from prehistory to today.