Location in Spain:
Valladolid is the capital city of the province of Valladolid and of the autonomous community of Castile and Leon. The city has a great communication network, with its own international airport (Villanubla) and excellent train and motorway connections leading to Madrid, the northwest of Spain, France and Portugal.
Things to do in Valladolid:
Visitors will find a wealth of things to do and places to visit in Valladolid, as the city is full of amazing restauraunts, stunning architecture and fascinating museums. Some of the best places to visit are:
- The National Museum of Sculpture (Museo Nacional de Escultura)
Located in the old Colegio de San Gregorio, this museum houses Spain's best collection of religious sculptural art (from 15th-18th centuries). There are exhibitions including work by the sculptors Alonso Berruguete, Gregorio Fernandez and Juan de Juni. There is also a huge Nativity scene, called the Belen Napolitano, in one of the rooms. The small sculptures in the Nativity scene came from Naples and it is probably one of the best Nativity scenes in Spain.
- The Casa de Cervantes
A museum detailing the life and work of Cervantes. The author of Don Quijote lived here with his family between 1603 and 1606.
- The Cathedral
The Cathedral was commissioned by King Philip II and designed by the architect Juan de Herrera in the 16th century, however their respective deaths left the Cathedral unfinished. Alberto Churriguera later restarted work on the exterior. The main altarpiece was completed in 1551 and is one of the most striking features of the Cathedral. There is also a diocesan museum joined to the Cathedral which has some wonderful exhibits of religious sculptures and an extensive art collection.
- El Museo de Colon (The Christopher Columbus House-Museum)
This museum exhibits various artifacts and documents related to the discovery of America.
- El Museo Oriental (The Oriental Museum)
The Oriental Museum is located in The Royal College of the Agustinian Fathers and exhibits the largest collection of Far Eastern art in Spain. Exhibitions include extraordinary costumes and furniture, paintings, sculptures and ceramics
Nature in Valladolid
Nature enthusiasts and open air sports aficionados will find plenty to entertain them in Valladolid. The city has some excellently preserved natural areas such as the Antequera pine forest. There are also numerous parks and gardens for visitors and locals to enjoy, including the "Campo Grande", Poniente Park, la Rosaleda de Sabadell rose garden, Las Moreras promenade and the Botanic Garden in the La Victoria area of the city.
The "Tierra de Pinares" (Land of Pines) lies to the south of the city and is an area of vineyards, pine forests and wetlands. The plateau and the Torozos Hills are situated to the west of the city and there are more vineyards situated to the east.
Festivals and Festivities
Some of the main festivals in the town are:
- Holy Week (Easter)
The Good Friday processions in Valladolid are particularly impressive. In the afternoon, thousands of people take part in the Passion Procession with is comprised of 31 pasos (religious statues). Members of the various Easter brotherhoods, dressed in their traditional robes, parade through the streets carrying these ancient statues to music. It is an impressive event and an emotional occasion.
- The International Street Theatre and Arts Festival
For four days in May, hundreds of actors and actresses from all over the world come to perform shows on the city's streets.
Valladolid's film festival is one of the most prestigious film festivals in Europe and has been existence for over fifty years. (In summer, the Patio of the Hostelry of San Benito is also transformed into a huge open air cinema)
- The Festival of Our Lady of San Lorenzo (Patroness of Valladolid)
These celebrations last for ten days, starting on September 8th, and is one of the most important festivals in the city's history. There are theatre performances, a funfair, fireworks, food stalls, handicrafts exhibitions, street dances and folk concerts.
Although Spain is internationally known for "tapas", Valladolid undeniably holds the title of "Tapa Capital of Spain". Every Autumn chefs come from all over Spain to compete in the "Valladolid City National contest of Tapas and Bar Snacks". Some typical dishes from Valladolid include "lechazo" (suckling lamb) with 'Valladolid Bread', garlic soup and stewed game dishes from the Castilian countryside (hare, quail or partridge). The cheeses (normally made with sheep milk) and fromage frais produced in Valladolid are also renowned. The baked goods and pastries baked in the various convents are also well-known, especially the ring-shaped pastries produced in St Mary's, the sponge cakes produced in St Claire's and the pine nut balls and cream fritters. Valladolid is also a great wine producer. The wines that fall under the designation of 'Origin Cigales' are the best. White wines from Rueda and red wines from Ribera del Duero are known for their quality.
A brief history of Valladolid
Roman and Celtiberian remains have been excavated near the city, and the city is thought to have been originally located in the area of the current San Miguel and El Rosarillo square. Valladolid was captured by the Moors in the 10th century, but remained a small and relatively unimportant village until king Alfonso VI of Castile donated it to count Pedro Ansúrez in 1072. The city grew and flourished under his lordship until, in 1208, Alfonso VIII noted its increasing importance and incorporated it into his own crownship, making it the seat of the royal court. The city later suffered a decline after Felipe III transferred his court to Madrid in the 17th century and The Peninsular Wars (1808-1814) further devastated the city with the invasion of the French and the destruction of many historic buildings.
However, after the Spanish Civil War (1936-39), Valladolid began to recover some of its former glory as it became a major centre for car production and other manufacturing industries.