When we speak of Castilla y León we speak about a region full of historical events that have sealed the destiny of an entire country. Our history, present in innumerable artistic expressions, has been woven with great deeds and legends, real and fictional characters, and dates full of symbolism.
The origin of the Castilian stamp on Spain goes way back into the past, reflected in the archaeological sites of Atapuerca (Burgos), where fossilized remains dating back a million years,
have been unearthed, and have placed this Archaeological Research Centre among the best in Europe.
Returning to the present, the Roman presence in this region has left an indelible mark, and milestones which draw an artistic profile through the impressive Aqueduct of Segovia, the bridge over the river Tormes in Salamanca, the gold mines in the Nature Reserve of Las Médulas in León, or the numerous Roman villas and roads which have led to the creation of
research centres and museums to recreate the lifestyle of the “Legio Romana” in many locations across the region. Equally important is the Roman heritage preserved along the Silver Way in the provinces of León, Zamora and Salamanca.
However, Castilla y León history reached its zenith during the Middle Ages.
Christians, Jews, Moslems… it was a melting pot of cultures which has bequeathed us an artistic heritage full of contrasts. These were the years of the Reconquest after the Moslem invasion of Spain. Spreading from the northern areas of the country and setting borderlines such as the river Duero, Christian kings repopulated towns and small villages as they moved forward, cornering Moslem culture in the southernmost areas of the Peninsula. Built towards the end of the 11th century, the thick stone walls of Ávila are a magnificent example of military architecture from this era.
The splendour of these centuries is reflected in the construction of Romanesque style churches and monasteries all along the Camino de Santiago (the Way of St. James) under the influence of French art. The city of Zamora is especially noteworthy, being one of the largest concentrations of Romanesque art, together with the provinces of Soria and Palencia.
Simultaneously, castles were built on strategic points on knolls. A fine example is the Caliph’s fortress of Gormaz (Soria), its perimeter being the largest in Europe, and whose mayor was
The Cid Campeador, a Castilian hero from Vivar del Cid (Burgos) and whose story was made into a film starring Charlton Heston.
An era of prosperity then began for the Kingdom of Castilla. This is the moment when large population centres started developing along with civil symbols such as the Universities: Palencia, the oldest university in Europe, and Salamanca, birthplace of Nebrija’s grammar and nowadays, a university of international renown; or religious symbols marking the cities’ axis: the Gothic Cathedrals, with those of Burgos and León as their finest examples As time went by, the vast Spanish Empire was gradually forged, and Castilla y León played an essential role: The Catholic King and Queen, Ferdinand and Isabella, were married in Valladolid, and Christopher Columbus, discoverer of the American Indies died here. In Tordesillas the signing of a crucial treaty in 1494, divided the world between the Spanish and the Portuguese crowns, and it was also in these lands where Queen Joan of Castilla received her son, the future Emperor Charles V. The Spanish Empire then reached its moment of maximum splendour with King Philip II, who was born in Valladolid: it was an age of grand religious and palatial construction, when profound urban changes took place in cities such as Valladolid, capital of the Imperial Court at the beginning of the 17th century.
En la actualidad, nuestra Comunidad se
alza como un territorio que conjuga la
tradición legada a través de la historia, con la modernidad presente en sus
infraestructuras, nuevos edificios y una
actividad cultural creciente a través de
las diversas manifestaciones artísticas o
la creación de nuevos espacios como
son los Museos de Arte
Castilla y León posee más del 50% del
Patrimonio Artístico Español: 11
catedrales, 3 Ciudades Patrimonio de la
Humanidad, 112 Conjuntos Históricos,
200 castillos, más de 150 museos y
cientos de iglesias y ermitas que
encierran grandes tesoros.
Castilla y León es Cultura e Historia.
From that moment on, our history has witnessed numerous achievements, always fascinating to narrate. Without doubt, one of the most remarkable is the construction of the Canal of Castilla, a monumental project dating from the Age of Enlightenment, stretching for 200 km. which allowed the export of grain to villages throughout the Castilian plain. Today, our region stands out as a territory that combines traditions inherited throughout history, with the modernity of its infrastructures, new buildings and ever-growing cultural activity through different artistic expressions or the creation of new spaces such as local Museums of Contemporary Art.
More than the 50% of Spain’s Artistic Heritage is in Castilla y León: 11 Cathedrals, 3 World Heritage Cities, 112 collections of historical buildings, 200 castles, more than 150 museums and hundreds of churches and chapels housing magnificent treasures.
Quite simply, Castilla y León is Culture and History.