Castilla y León

Castile Leon


Castile Leon or in Spanish Castilla y León…Spain’s past glories are
closely related to those of Castilla y León the grandeur of its army
victorious in the struggle against the Muslim domination and
triumphant in a thousand battles in Europe where the Spanish
infantry laid down the law for over two hundred years from Naples to
Antwerp.  The strength of Castilla y León is represented by
Queen Isabel I who funded the discovery of the New World, directed
the last victory in the expulsion of the Muslims from Granada and
ultimately united the various Spanish kingdoms through her marriage
to Fernando de Aragón.  The place Spain held in the world along
with the conquest of the New World and the domination in Europe was
a feat led by the kingdom of Castile Leon.  Its outcome,
beyond all controversy, is that over 400 million people now a day’s
speak the language of Castile, Castellano.


    Somewhere in Castilla León by

Tito Alfredo
on Flickr.

Castilla y León is an enormous region that we will navigate with the
help of some geometry, first tracing a straight line through the
North from the East in La Rioja to the west ending in Santiago de
Compostela.  The legendary Camino de Santiago (Way of St. James)
traveled by thousands of pilgrims since the Middle Ages, marks the
North border of Castilla y León.   In fact, it travels through two
of the region’s most beautiful cities Burgos
and León with their Gothic cathedrals considered among the finest in
Spain.  In addition to the Gothic splendor of these two cities
sprinkled along the way are a number of Romanesque churches like St.
Martin de Frómista in Palencia. 
After León el Camino de Santiago makes its way into Galicia an
interesting region entirely different from Castile Leon.  

León, a city founded by Roman legions, we draw another straight line
this time north to south, following la Via de La Plata, a historic
Roman road that linked the gold mines of León and Asturias to the
Roman cities of Mérida and Sevilla.  Following this road heading
south like the Arabs and the farmers who for five hundred years led
their heard in search of fresh pastures, south in the winter and
north in the summer, we arrive in Salamanca home to one of the
oldest universities in Europe with an exceptional artistic
patrimony.  Before arriving in Salamanca we find the city of Zamora
exceptional Romanesque compound in which during Semana Santa (Holy Week)
the town holds a very austere and dramatic procession, very

 Now that we have formed a straight angle with its apex
in León we can now close the triangle by drawing a line from the
point where the Camino de Santiago enters Castilla on the border
with la Rioja through the mountains south of Salamanca.  This
diagonal takes us through Soria a striking Castilian city with
splendid Romanesque churches located on the banks of the Duero River
in the northern slopes of the Central System of the peninsula which
divides Spain in two, separating Castilla y León from Castilla La
Mancha.  Continuing north from Soria we reach Segovia and its
magnificent Roman Aqueduct, situated only half
an hour away from Madrid by the AVE train it is an excursion to the
heart of Castilla that will
catile-leon-segovia-aqueductnot disappoint.  Segovia’s historic
quarters includes a splendid Gothic cathedral, several Romanesque
churches and a magnificent Alcazar.  To the southwest on the road to
Salamanca we come across Ávila an amazing medieval walled city,
cradle of exceptional women as Santa Teresa de Jesus or Isabel Queen
of Castilla born in the town of Madrigal de las Altas Torres.  From
Ávila we are a stone throw away from Salamanca thus closing the

The interior of the region is comprised of a vast
landscape among which is the valley of el Duero with the city of
Valladolid as a reference.  Valladolid is the most populous city of
Castile Leon and at one point was the capital of Spain.  The
National Museum of Sculptures here is definitely worth a visit to
really grasp the significance of the Catholic faith in Castilla. 
The region is plagued with medieval castles, monasteries and
convents, Gothic cathedrals, Romanesque churches and Renaissance
palaces.   Besides its immense wealth of historical and cultural
treasures Castile Leon offers some of the loveliest scenery with a
marvelous blue sky that rises above the endless fields of golden
yellow in summertime.  This ancient land has been unkind to its
forests but fortunately still retains significant pockets of pine
forests in Soria and Ávila as well as oaks in the northern mountains
of León, Palencia and Burgos.  Soria also has numerous clumps
of beech and juniper and in León ancient chestnut forests can be
found.  Here roam some of the largest packs of wolves left in
Europe and brown bears, found are also
large colonies of vultures and other raptors.  The region has
excellent trout fishing and travelers can still unearth the last
remaining native crabs

as the land of roasts let’s not forget to mention the thousands of furnaces that
roast tender lambs and piglets providing some of the most succulent
dishes of the Castilian table.  Stews are also common using chickpeas (garbanzo beans) as the main ingredient as well
as soups such as sopa castellana a simple but tasty soup with
bread and garlic as the main ingredients.  To accompany these tasty
foods wine is always a good choice as Castilla y León produces some of
the best wines in Spain and the world like those of Ribera Del
Duero, Toro, Cigales and Bierzo.


Castile Leon is the land of castles, kings and history celebrated by
poets and admired by travelers, the cradle of the Spanish language
and one of Spain’s largest regions offering visitors not only an
insight in Spain’s past splendor but the greatness of its valleys,
mountains, forests and incredible wealth of fauna and flora.


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