The City of Valladolid
The largest city in the north-west of Spain, Valladolid has twice enjoyed the status of the country’s capital, under King Charles I in the 16th century and again from 1601 to 1606 under King Phillip III.
It is now the unofficial capital of the autonomous community of Castile and Léon and has a population of just over 300,000.
The explorer Christopher Columbus died here in 1506 and the Christopher Columbus House-Museum displays items relating to his discovery of America.
Miguel de Cervantes and his fellow novelist Francisco de Quavedo both lived and worked in the city and you can visit the house where Cervantes completed his masterpiece, Don Quixote.
Situated on the Pisuerga River, historical gems in the centre include the unfinished, Renaissance-style Cathedral of Our Lady of the Holy Assumption, designed by Juan de Herra, which houses a magnificent Juan de Juni altarpiece (1562) and the diocesan museum, with its carved images attributed to Gregorio Fernández and a silver monstrance by Juan de Arfe.
There is also the Church of San Pablo and the College of San Gregorio, now the site of Spain’s National Sculpture Museum, and the Gothic-style Santiago church, with an altarpiece of the Adoration of the Magi designed by Berruguete in 1537.
The Plaza Mayor is in the heart of the city and includes the town hall, an imposing clock tower and an impressive statue of 11th-century governor Count Ansúrez.
Other attractions include the Museum of Spanish Contemporary Art in the Patio Herreriano in the cloisters of the old Monastery of San Benito, which contains more than 800 20th-century paintings and sculptures, and the Science Museum of Valladolid.
A university town, Valladolid cultural events include an international film festival in October, the famous Seminici, and an international street theatre and arts festival, the TAC, in May.