Zamora Tourist Attractions
The old-world town of Zamora, chief town of its province, lies on a rocky hill above the Río Duero, which some 50km/30mi downstream reaches the Portuguese frontier, in the southern part of the old kingdom of León. With its numerous Romanesque churches of the 12th and 13th centuries it has been called a "museum of Romanesque art".HistoryZamora was originally a Moorish foundation, and during the fighting between Christians and Moors it was the scene of many fierce engagements, reflected in the Spanish national epic, the "Cantar de mio Cid". Henry IV granted Zamora the style of "most noble and most loyal city". Ferdinand I called it the "well fortified city of Zamora" and bequeathed it to his daughter Doña Urraca. Her brother Sancho II was treacherously murdered while besieging the town, an event commemorated by the Portillo de la Traición (Treason Gate). Zamora was also the scene of fierce fighting in the 15th century, during the conflict between the supporters of Isabella the Catholic and Juana la Beltraneja.
The Romanesque Cathedral was built in the 12th C and stands out prominently in the old town. It has a unique dome covering the square tower.
From the Cathedral, Calle de los Notarios runs northeast, passing (on right) the church of San Ildefonso (11th C., with later alterations). The Capilla Mayor contains relics of the town's two patron saints, San Atilano and San Ildefonso.
From San Ildefonso, Calle Ramos Carrión leads north to the little Romanesque Templar church of Santa Magdalena (12th C.), which has a splendid arched doorway with lions' and dragons' heads, surmounted by a rose window. The interior has finely carved capitals and reliefs and two richly decorated 13th century tombs.
Passing the Palacio de los Condes Alba y Aliste (now a parador), in the Plaza de Cánovas, we reach the Plaza Mayor, with the Ayuntamiento (Town Hall; 1622) and the Late Gothic church of San Juan.
San Pedro de la Nave
Leave Zamora on N 122, going west, and in 12km/7.5mi, after Venta del Puerto, turn right into a minor road which goes northwest to Campillo, on an artificial lake on the Río Esla. Here can be seen the Visigothic church of San Pedro de la Nave, re-erected in 1931 after being removed from its original site several kilometers away, now submerged by the lake. The church, which is thought to date from around 681, is notable for its magnificent carved capitals, which rank among the finest sculpture produced in Christian Spain before the arrival of the Moors.
Santa María la Nueva
Museum of Holy Week
Opposite the Santa María la Nueva can be found the Museum of Holy Week, devoted to the Holy Week processions which are celebrated with particular ceremony in Zamora. The museum displays a large collection of pasos, the figures which are carried in procession through the streets by various confraternities.
Puerta de Doña Urraca
A little way north of the Museo de la Semana Santa rises the Puerta de Doña Urraca, an old town gate flanked by massive towers.
Santa María de la Horta
Palacio de los Momos
To the east of the Plaza Mayor, in the Plaza de Sagasta, is the 16th century Palacio de los Momos, now the Audiencia (Law Courts). It owes its name to the momos ("wild men") supporting the coat of arms on the palace's Renaissance facade.
From the Puente Viejo over the Duero, built on Roman foundations, there is an attractive view of the town.
Map of Zamora Attractions