Valladolid, Spain Tourist Attractions
Valladolid, chief town of its province, the see of an archbishop and a university town, lies on the Río Pisuerga just above its confluence with the Duero, on the fertile plateau of Old Castile.
In recent decades the town has enjoyed a considerable economic upswing through the rapid development of industry, particularly car production; but as a result it is now surrounded by rather dreary industrial suburbs and the central area as a whole is not particularly attractive either. It does, however, preserve some splendid buildings and works of art, the legacy of a great past when it was the residence of the Spanish kings and attracted great artists working in the Isabelline, Renaissance and Herreran styles.HistoryThere was a settlement here in the time of the Arabs, who called it Velad-Olid or Balad-Walid ("Town of the Governor"). In 1469 the Catholic Monarchs, Ferdinand and Isabella, were married in Valladolid, and in 1504-06 Columbus, an ailing and disappointed man, spent the last two years of his life in the town. For brief periods during the 16th and 17th centuries, during the reigns of Philip II and III, Valladolid was the seat of the Spanish court. It was Napoleon's headquarters in 1809.
Around the Plaza Mayor
The hub of the city's life is the spacious arcaded Plaza Mayor, on the north side of which stands the Ayuntamiento (1908).
A short distance northwest of the Town Hall is the church of San Benito (1499-1504), with a massive open porch below the tower. The choir is enclosed by a beautiful wrought-iron screen of 1571.
Provincial Archeological Museum
Farther north from the Town Hall, diagonally opposite the church of San Miguel (retablo by Adriánálvarez), we come to the Palacio de Fabio Nelli, which now houses the Provincial Archeological Museum (prehistoric and Roman antiquities, including mosaics and busts; Gothic frescoes, sculpture, arts and crafts).
Palacio de los Valverde
Opposite the Archeology Museum is the palace of the Valverde family, a typical example of a Renaissance noble mansion.
Museo de Pinturas
West of the Plaza Mayor, in Calle de la Pasión, stands the church of the Pasión, now a picture gallery, with works by 16th and 17th century Spanish masters, notably Vicente Carducho (1578-1638) and Gregorio Martínez (1547-97), a native of Valladolid.
The church of the convent of Santa Ana, southwest of the Museo de Pinturas, contains paintings by Goya and Bayeu.
From the Plaza Mayor, Calle de Santiago runs south, passing the church of Santiago (St James), which has a fine retablo by Alonso Berruguete and a figure of Christ by Francisco de la Mata in one of the side chapels.
Around the Plaza de Zorrilla
From the church of Santiago, Calle de Santiago continues south to the Plaza de Zorrilla, the town's busiest traffic intersection. Beyond it is the Campo Grande, a large park, along the west side of which is a broad promenade, the Paseo del Campo Grande. This leads to the Plaza de Colón, in which is a large monument to Columbus (1905).
From the Plaza de Colón the Paseo de Filipinos runs east past the Augustinian Convento de los Filipinos, now occupied by the Oriental Museum, which displays objets d'art from China and the Philippines collected by Augustinian missionaries in the Far East. The Chinese collection includes bronze objects of 1600-200 B.C., Sung and Ming porcelain, jade and lacquer ware and watercolors; the Philippines are represented by weapons, musical instruments and Christian sculpture.
Casa de Cervantes
To the east of the Plaza de Zorrilla, in the short Calle del Rosario, can be found the Casa de Cervantes, a little gem lost in a rather unattractive part of the city. Calle Miguel Iscar, going east from the square, runs past a high wrought-iron railing through which there is a glimpse of a small garden with a fountain in the center. On the far side of the garden is the house, overgrown with ivy and wild vines, in which Cervantes lived from 1603 to 1606 and probably wrote the first part of ''Don Quixote''. The Río Esgueva, spanned by a small bridge, once flowed past the house; but of this no trace is left in the modern town. On a conducted tour of the house (in Spanish only) visitors are shown the dining room, Cervantes's desk, the alcove, the kitchen and other rooms, giving them an idea of the way of life in a better-off 16th century Spanish household.
Address: Calle Rastro 7, E-47001 Valladolid, Spain
Opening hours: 9:30am-3pm; Sun: 10am-3pm; Closed: Mon
Always closed on: New Year's Day (Jan 1), Epiphany (3 Kings' Day ) - Christian (Jan 6), Castile and Leon Day - Spain (Apr 23), May Day / Labor Day (May 1), National Day - Spain (Oct 12), All Saints' Day - Christian (Nov 1), Christmas - Christian (Dec 25), Constitution Day - Spain (Dec 6), Good Friday - Christian, Maundy (Holy) Thursday - Christian, Easter - Christian
Guides: Guided tour included with admission.
The Colegio de San Gregorio is one of the main attractions in Valladolid. It displays a fabulous facade, a richly decorated second patio off the courtyard, and houses the impressive Museo Nacional de Escultura.
Map of Valladolid Attractions