Valladolid Tourist Attractions

Valladolid 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.

Around the Plaza Mayor

Town HallTown Hall

Town Hall

The hub of the city's life is the spacious arcaded Plaza Mayor, on the north side of which stands the Ayuntamiento (1908).

San Benito

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).
Address: Plaza de Fabio Melli, E-47003 Valladolid, Spain

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.

Santa Ana

The church of the convent of Santa Ana, southwest of the Museo de Pinturas, contains paintings by Goya and Bayeu.

Santiago

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

Academia de Caballeria facing Plaza ZorrillaAcademia de Caballeria facing Plaza Zorrilla

Campo Grande

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).

Oriental Museum

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

Around the Cathedral

CathedralCathedral

Cathedral

Some 500m/550yd east of the Plaza Mayor stands the Cathedral, begun by Juan de Herrera in 1580 on an ambitious scale, continued by Alberto Churriguera from 1730 onwards but never completed. Herrera's design for Valladolid Cathedral provided a model followed by many churches in Spain and its South American colonies, its plain and massive architecture marking a break with the elaborate ornament of the Plateresque style. Of the four corner towers which were planned only the south tower was built (restored in 1885 after its collapse in 1841). The most notable features of the spacious interior (122m/400ft long, 62m/203ft wide) are the high altar by Juan de Juni (1561; originally in the church of Santa María la Antigua), the fine Renaissance choir-stalls and an "Assumption of the Virgin" by Velázquez.

Diocesan Museum

In the collegiate church adjoining the Cathedral is the Diocesan Museum. Among its principal treasures are a 2m/6-1/2ft high silver monstrance in the form of a temple, Juan de Arfe's masterpiece (1590), sculpture (including an ''Ecce Homo'' by Gregorio Fernández) and paintings (retablo of St Anne, 15th C.).

University

To the east of the cathedral in Valladolid, in the Plaza de la Universidad, is the University (founded 1346), with a fine Baroque facade of 1715 by the brothers Diego and Narciso Tomé.

Colegio de Santa Cruz

Southeast of the University the former Colegio de Santa Cruz (by Lorenzo Vázquez, 1492), one of the earliest Renaissance buildings in Spain, has a handsome three-story patio. On its richly sculptured facade can be seen a figure of Cardinal Pedro González de Mendoza, founder of the college, which is now occupied by a number of University institutes and a valuable library of 52,000 volumes.

Casa de Colón

From the Colegio de Santa Cruz, Calle del Cardenal Mendoza runs northeast into Calle de Colón. In this street is the Casa de Colón, the house in which Columbus (Cristóbal Colón) died on May 31, 1506. He is commemorated by a small museum in the adjoining house.

La Magdalena

Adjoining the Casa de Colón, to the northeast, is the 16th century church of La Magdalena, with medallions containing coats of arms on the facade.

Convento de las Huelgas

Farther along the Calle de Colón we come to the Convento de las Huelgas, with a 16th century church which contains sculpture by Gregorio Fernández ("Adoration of the Shepherds") and Juan de Juni.

Santa María la Antigua

Northwest of the Plaza de la Universidad is the church of Santa María la Antigua (12th-14th C.), the oldest church in the town, with a Romanesque tower. The interior has an air of quiet elegance.

Las Angustias

Close to the Santa María la Antigua is the church of Las Angustias (1597-1604). In a side chapel in this church is a masterpiece by Juan de Juni (1560), the much venerated Virgen de los Siete Cuchillos (Virgin of the Seven Knives).

San Pablo

From Las Angustias, Calle de las Angustias leads north to the Plaza de San Pablo, on the right-hand side of which is the church of San Pablo, founded in 1276.

San Pablo - Facade

The soaring facade (by Simón de Colonia, 1492), flanked by plain towers, vies in richness of decoration with the Colegio de San Gregorio (below). Above the doorway is a representation of the Coronation of the Virgin. Notable features of the interior are the fine Plateresque doorways into the transepts and a statue of Santo Domingo (St Dominic) by Gregorio Fernández.

Royal Palace

Facing San Pablo is the Renaissance-style Royal Palace (Palacio de Felipe II), now occupied by the Capitanía General (military headquarters).

Palacio de los Pimentel

On the southeast side of the Plaza de San Pablo, on the corner of Calle de las Angustias, is the Palacio de los Pimentel, in which Philip II was born in 1527.

Colegio de San Gregorio

Facade of Colegio de San GregorioFacade of Colegio de San Gregorio
Adjoining the church of San Pablo rises Valladolid's principal architectural showpiece, the former Colegio de San Gregorio, built between 1488 and 1496 for Isabella the Catholic's confessor Alonso de Burgos, bishop of Palencia.

Colegio de San Gregorio - Facade

The sumptuously decorated facade (ascribed to Gil de Siloé), with its numerous statues, coats of arms and naturalistic ornament, is a masterpiece of Isabelline architecture.

Colegio de San Gregorio - Patio

No less magnificent than the facade is the second patio, which is entered from another, more modest, courtyard. Over an arcaded gallery with plain twisted columns on ground level is an upper gallery with richly carved double arches, and along the edge of the roof are water-spouts in the form of fabulous animals.

Museum of Sculpture

The College is now occupied by the Museo Nacional de Escultura, with the finest collection of religious sculpture in wood (as well as religious paintings) in Spain and one of the most important collections of its kind in Europe, in which the leading artists of the 16th and 17th centuries are represented. The thirty rooms of the Museum (with beautiful timber ceilings) contain so many fine works of polychrome and gilded sculpture that only the most important can be mentioned here.
Address: Cadenas de San Gregorio, Calle Cadenas de San Gregorio 1, E-47011 Valladolid, Spain

Museum of Sculpture - Alonso Berruguete

Rooms I to III on the ground floor are given up to the works of Alonso Berruguete (1489-1561). Outstanding among them are a retablo carved for the church of San Benito in Valladolid (Room II) and the "Martyrdom of St Sebastian" in Room III.

Museum of Sculpture - Room X

From Room III a staircase leads up to the first floor, on which Room X is of particular interest. It contains a five-part retablo of the Passion by an unknown Flemish artist of the 15th century, with the Descent from the Cross in the central panel, a "Holy Family" by Diego de Siloé and a Pietà which is thought to be of German origin.

Museum of Sculpture - San Benito Choir-Stalls

This large room is almost completely taken up by the magnificent choir-stalls from the church of San Benito (1525-29).

Museum of Sculpture - Entombment

In Room XV is one of the great masterpieces of Spanish religious sculpture, Juan de Juni's "Entombment" (1544).

Museum of Sculpture - Pedro de Mena

Room XXI is mainly devoted to works by Pedro de Mena (1628-88), including a "Mary Magdalene" of 1664.

Museum of Sculpture - Gregorio Fernández

Rooms IV and V, reached at the end of the tour, contain works by Gregorio Fernández (1566- 1636), including a fine "Pietà". Room V also has a picture by Zurbarán ("Santa Faz", 1658).

Casa del Sol

Opposite the Colegio de San Gregorio is the Plateresque facade of the Casa del Sol (16th C.).

Surroundings

Inner Courtyard, Penafiel CastleInner Courtyard, Penafiel Castle

Castles

The part played by the Valladolid region in the history of Spain has left it with many castles, and on excursions in the surrounding area visitors will frequently come upon imposing medieval strongholds.

Simancas, Spain

11km/7mi southwest of Valladolid, above the little town of Simancas (alt. 725m/2,379ft) on the Río Pisuerga, is the formidable Castillo de Simancas, in which Charles V installed the Spanish national archives (more than 30million documents, housed in 52 rooms). 19km/12mi beyond Simancas on N 620 is Tordesillas.

Along the Rio Duero

Valbuena de Duero

From Valladolid, N 122 runs east along the south side of the Duero to Quintanilla de Onésimo, from which a detour can be made to Valbuena de Duero, on the north bank, to see the very interesting convent of Santa María, with a ruined 12th century Cistercian church and a fine Late Gothic cloister.

Penafiel

Returning from Valbuena de Duero to N 122, or following the road along the north bank and passing through the typical little Castilian town of Pesquera de Duero, we continue to Peñafiel, with an imposing castle (211m/231yd long, with twelve round towers and a 24m/80ft high keep) founded by the Count of Castile in the 10th century. Other features of interest in the town are the 14th Century Mudéjar- style Convento de San Pablo and the large Plaza del Corso, in which bullfights used to be held.

On the Segovia Road

Portillo

N 601 leads southeast from Valladolid, crosses the Canal de Castilla and comes to Arrabal del Portillo. Off the road to the left is Portillo, with a stoutly walled castle which was used as a state prison for political offenders.

Cuellar

N 601 continues from Portillo into Segovia province and, 50km/31mi from Valladolid, reaches Cuéllar (alt. 775m/2,543ft). A settlement on this site was captured by the Romans in 96 B.C. and given the name of Colenda. The Catholic Monarchs frequently stayed in the town. There is a well-preserved 15th century castle with a Gothic chapel and a fine Renaissance courtyard. The little walled town itself has preserved many old palaces and a number of brick-built Romanesque churches which are among the oldest in Spain.

On the Leon Road

Villanubla

From Valladolid, N 601 runs northwest up the slopes of the wide Duero valley to Villanubla (alt. 843m/2,766ft), off the road to the left, with Valladolid's airport.

Wamba

From Villanubla a minor road runs southwest to Wamba, with the church of Santa María, which incorporates part of a 12th century Mozarabic building. The Visigothic king Recceswinth died in Wamba in 672.

Torrelobaton

Beyond Wamba on the same minor road is Torrelobatón, which has a well-preserved 13th century castle with massive round towers and an imposing keep (Torre del Homenaje).

Fuensaldana

From Villanubla a secondary road branches off on the right to the village of Fuensaldaña, with the 15th century Castillo de Vivero, which has a massive square tower with six defensive turrets.

Medina de Rioseco

N 601 continues from Villanubla through the Montes de Torozos to Medina de Rioseco (alt. 735m/2412ft), an old-world little town with six notable churches dating from the 15th-17th centuries. The church of Santa María de Mediavilla has two rejas of 1532 and 1554, an altar by Esteban Jordán (1590) and the Plateresque Capilla de los Benavente (1546); the church of Santiago has a sumptuous Churrigueresque altar. The main street of the town is lined with typical Castilian houses.
Valladolid Map - Tourist Attractions Valladolid Map - Attractions

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