Castile and Leon
This large region, set on an enormous, peculiar platform known as the meseta, has exceptional characteristics and geomorphology and includes the territory of the ancient kingdom of Leon and northern half of old kingdom of Castille. It has a grandiose infinitely flat countryside and truly splendorous historical and architectural heritage.
Segovia has a magnificent Roman aqueduct, the finest example of its epoch and style of all those still in existence. It also has other important treasures from different ages, such as several precious Romanesque churches, a large Gothic cathedral and the splendid Alcazar, a Moorish fortress that has incorporated elements from diverse epochs.
Avila, the birthplace of St. Theresa of Jesus, has preserved in an exceptional fashion its old medieval walls, an impressive fortification built in Romanesque times. It also has other magnificent treasure, such as the Basilica of Saint Vincent. Its cathedral, of the Cistercian Order, is set into the ancient walls.
Soria, of Celt Iberian origin is bathed by the Duero River. Among its many civil and religious buildings are many Romanesque structures, such as the Church of Santo Domingo and Cloister of San Juan de Duero, from the 12-13th Centuries.
Burgos not only enjoys the honour of being the birthplace of El Cid but has a Gothic cathedral of exceptional quality and beauty that is one of the finest in Spain. Its Old Quarter also preserves beautiful medieval and Renaissance churches and palaces.
Palencia, maintains a marked medieval flavour. Presided over by a marvellous Late Gothic cathedral, this little known city has many architectural treasures of interest and a magnificent archaeology museum.
Valladolid, the current capital of Castilla-Leon, is the largest city in the region. Famous for its beautiful gardens and the solemnity and grace of its Holy Week celebrations, it also has a cathedral and two magnificent Plateresque buildings - the Santa Cruz College and San Gregorio┤s. Its Sculpture Museum, with an incomparable collection of the works of the greatest Spanish artists from the 16th and 17th centuries, including Berruguete, is one the most important in the country.
Leon, former capital of the region of the same name, essentially has three architectural treasures of the highest merit: The 12th century Royal Basilica of San Isidoro, with a crypt decorated with Romanesque frescoes of exceptional quality; the Gothic Cathedral, of singular beauty and purity, whose innumerable stained-glass windows can only be compared to those of Chartres; and the ancient San Marcos Convent, a splendid Renaissance building that is currently a luxurious Parador or tourist hotel.
Zamora, south of Leon, is a city with a medieval flavour, artistically marked by the Romanesque Style, of which it has preserved nearly a dozen churches and a magnificent cathedral, topped by a strange Byzantine dome. A few kilometres from the city is the rare and valuable Visigothic church of San Pedro de la Nave, from the 8th century.
Salamanca was famous during the Renaissance due to its important university, one of the first in Europe. The city has exceptionally beautiful and has many architectural treasures, such as its two cathedrals (the old Cathedral, in Romanesque style and the New Cathedral, Gothic in style with Plateresque elements), the arcaded Plaza Mayor, or main square, and the Renaissance University building, with a splendid fašade, among others.