Zamora, Castile-Leon (Spain)

According to allunitconverters, the city of Zamora is located in the northwestern part of Spain on the banks of the Duero River, 220 km northwest of Madrid and 40 km north of Salamanca. Zamora is the capital of the province of the same name.

Initially, the Lusitan tribe lived here, which in the 1st century BC. was captured by the Romans, after which it became one of the points of the great “Silver Road” – the road that connected the southern and northern parts of Spain, along which the Roman troops advanced from south to north. Later, the city fell into the hands of the Arabs, and in the period from the 8th to the 11th centuries it became the site of fierce battles between the Arabs and Christians. During the centuries-old struggle, the city was overgrown with a ring of defensive walls. Between the 12th and 13th centuries in Zamora Many churches were built, some of which have survived to this day. Due to the abundance of churches and buildings built in the Romanesque style, Zamora is called the “Museum of Romanesque Art”. The Roman bridge Puente de Piedra leads to the Old Town, surrounded by fortified walls. Three main entrances to the city have been preserved along the fortress wall: the gates of Doña Urac (“Northern Gate”), Puerta Traicion (“Gate of Betrayal”), where King Sancho II was killed by conspirators in 1072, and Olivares. Through the gate of Olivares you will get to the Cathedral which is located on a high hill. The cathedral was built between 1151 and 1174. The dome of the cathedral with four turrets, made in the Byzantine style, at the base of which there are 16 arched windows, a square belfry and a richly decorated entrance to the cathedral “Archbishop’s Gate”, located opposite the Bishop’s Palace, are integral symbols of Zamora. Inside the cathedral, the decoration of the choir, whose carvings date back to the 16th century, the altarpiece of the late 15th century by Fernando Gallego and the chapel with the figure of Christ (16th century) by Gaspar Becerra are interesting. A museum has been opened at the Cathedral, where objects of religious art are collected, as well as a collection of tapestries of the 15th-17th centuries. The cathedral is surrounded by a park, which also houses a medieval castle. The castle was built between the 10th and 12th centuries. In addition to the remains of a medieval castle, here you can see the ruins of pre-Roman buildings. In addition, from the hill on which the castle is located, a beautiful view of the entire city opens up.

Walking through the narrow cobbled streets of the Old Town, you will see many Romanesque churches of the 11th-13th centuries: San Idelfonso, San Cipriano, La Magdalena, Santiago del Burgo, Santa Maria la Nueba, San Juan de Puerta Nueba and La Horta. Next to the Church of Santa Maria la Nueba is the Samana Santa Museum with a unique collection of religious sculptures by famous Spanish sculptors such as Ramon Alvarez, Mariano Benliure and Ruiz de Sumeta. Also in Zamora, Renaissance-style buildings are worthy of attention: Hospital, where the provincial government now sits, City Hall and the palaces of Momos (15th century) and Cordon (16th century). The Kordon Palace houses the Museum of Zamora, which presents archaeological finds from prehistoric times, collections of paintings and sculptures from the 14th-20th centuries, and materials on the history of the region.

The best time to visit Zamora is during Holy Week before Easter. It’s in Zamora some of the most colorful and interesting religious processions are held.

23 km northwest of Zamora in the town of El Campillo, the Church of San Pedro de la Nebe is interesting. The church was built in the 7th century. It is a fine example of Visigothic architecture with Celtic, Germanic and Byzantine elements. 70 km north of Zamora is the city of Benavente. The Romanesque churches of the 12th century Santa Maria (inside you can see Gothic sculptures and groin vaults) and San Juan del Mercado, as well as the 16th century Caracol tower with many windows, which remained from the castle of the earlier construction of La Mota (12 century). Toro is worth a visit 30 km east of Zamora.(Toro) – one of the most famous wine-growing centers in Spain. The city is built in the form of a fan. In its center is the Romanesque church of Santa Maria la Mayor, which was built in the 12th and 13th centuries in the likeness of the cathedrals of Zamora and Salamanca. Once the southern entrance to the church (now it is located inside the building) crowns the portico “His Majesty”, decorated with sculptural compositions on the theme of the life of the Virgin Mary, Jesus Christ and the Last Judgment. Inside the church, special attention is paid to the unique frescoes depicting the pregnant Virgin Mary and the Virgin Mary with a fly on her cloak. There is an observation deck near the church, which offers a beautiful view of the endless fields surrounding Toro, the ancient Roman bridge thrown over the Duero River, and the nearby Alcazar castle of the 10th century, from which 7 towers and fortress walls have been preserved.

You can also go from Zamora to the city of Salamanca which is inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Here is one of the oldest universities in Europe.

At the junction of the borders of the province of Zamora, the province of Salamanca and Portugal, the Los Arribes del Duero nature reserve extends. It stretches along the banks of the Duero River, along which the border between Spain and Portugal runs.. For many centuries, the Duero River cut through the local rocks the deepest river canyon in the entire Iberian Peninsula, about 100 km long and up to 500 m deep. In addition to its picturesque landscape (a winding riverbed flowing between the sheer walls of the canyons, and waterfalls), the reserve is famous for its nature. The climate here is mild, so among the oak forests along the banks of the river you can see vineyards, olive, almond, orange and lemon trees. The reserve is a habitat for about 200 species of birds, 47 species of mammals and 21 species of reptiles. Here you can meet such rare birds as black stork, golden eagle, peregrine falcon, hawk, vulture and eagle owl. Hiking trails are laid along the river and observation platforms are equipped. In addition, very popular water excursions in the park. From the town of Playa del Rostro (Playa del Rostro) start 1, 5 hour boat trips (you can also sunbathe and swim here), and from the village of Vilvestre (Vilvestre) – excursions on catamarans. Guided tours can be booked at the park’s tourist office, which is located near the Saucelle dam, or at Salamanca.

In the north-west of the province of Zamora, near the border with Portugal, the Sierra de la Culebra (one of the few places on the Iberian Peninsula inhabited by Iberian wolves) and the Sierra Cabrera (here Lake Sanabria is located – the largest glacial lake not only in Spain, but in the entire Iberian Peninsula). Between these mountains at an altitude of 960 m is the village of Puebla de Sanabria. (Puebla de Sanabria), where the spirit of the Middle Ages is everywhere: an impregnable castle stands on a high hill, small stone houses along narrow cobbled streets, and 15th-century buildings decorated with coats of arms in the central square.

Zamora, Castile-Leon (Spain)