Valladolid information

Introduction to the Province of Valladolid
In the central north west part of Spain is the landlocked province of Valladolid, part of the autonomous community of Castile and Leon. Valladolid is important historically and indeed the city vied with Madrid once upon a time to become the capital of Spain, succeeding twice. Many famous people once lived (and were married and died) in the city including the Spanish monarchs Fernando and Isabella and also the explorer Christopher Columbus and the author Cervantes. The province itself is renowned as a very fine wine producing region and has more than 100 bodegas, many of which you can visit on a winery tour of Valladolid.

Valladolid City
Considering its ultra historical and important past, Valladolid has nowadays managed to become a modern, vibrant city that seems to live comfortably alongside its rich history rather than be suffocated by it, as some cities are.

At the centre of the city stands Valladolid’s rather severe looking Cathedral, the construction of which was started in the 16th Century but was never finished for financial reasons. Inside, its Diocesan Museum houses some very fine works of art. There are many magnificent churches scattered throughout the city, including those of San Benito, San Pablo, San Miguel and Santa Maria la Antigua. The San Benito monastery is home to the Museum of Spanish Contemporary Art.

Be sure to visit the College of San Gregorio, in itself a very fine example of ecclesiastical architecture with a flamboyant façade and a beautiful patio, but which is also home to the important National Religious Sculpture Museum (Museo Nacional de Escultura Religiosa). All of its exhibits are impressive but none more so than the 18th Century Nativity scene, which is detailed in the extreme.

To experience some alternative historical culture, pay a visit to the city’s former homes of Christopher Columbus and Cervantes, which also have museums dedicated to their famous inhabitants and for an alternative and relaxing view of the city as a whole, take a boat trip along the River Pisuerga, which flows around Valladolid. Beside the River is Valladolid’s new interactive science museum and planetarium.

The city is not short of bars and restaurants so make the time to pop into some to sample Valladolid’s typical cuisine, tapas dishes and, of course, its wines. See below for more on the gastronomy of the region. Being a university city, Valladolid also has a pretty decent nightlife.

Around Valladolid City and Beyond
Not far from the city of Valladolid is the ancient town of Simancas, which has a beautiful 16th Century castle, a fine mediaeval bridge that spans the River Pisuerga and it is also home to the National Archives of Spain, which are housed in the Archive General del Reino in the citadel of the Roman Septimanca. The town of Tordesillas also has a beautiful mediaeval bridge, this one spanning the River Duero. It has a very fine colonnaded town square, the Plaza Mayor and an important place in Spanish history that you can discover for yourself at the town’s Museum. The Real Monasterio de Santa Clara that overlooks the River Duero is often referred to as the “Alhambra of Castile” due to its very fine Mudejar architecture. It was here that the unfortunate Juana la Loca (Joanna the Mad) was confined in a windowless cell for 46 years after she became slightly deranged following the death of her husband, Felipe the Handsome.

Other places of interest in Valladolid include Medina del Campo, Medina de Rioseco, Castromonte (purported to have waters with medicinal qualities), Villalba de los Alcores and Olmedo.

There are bodegas scattered throughout the province, along the vineyard-growing areas of its rivers and many of them allow visits and wine-tastings.

The Gastronomy of Valladolid
The cuisine of Valladolid province is influenced by the wide variety of high quality produce from its lands (which are also of course renowned for their vineyards and hence, wines). Lamb, suckling pig, gamebirds, pigeon, rabbit, chicken, lentils, chickpeas, asparagus, saffron, almonds and honey are all used in the typical dishes of the province.

Some typical dishes from Valladolid that you may come across include Pichones Estofados (a pigeon casserole), Lechazo Asado (roast lamb), Gallina en Pepitoria (chicken in a wine, almond and saffron sauce), Empanada de Conejo (a sort of rabbit filled pasty) and the dessert dish of Miel sobre Hojuelas (a honey-soaked pastry). The sheep’s cheeses from the region of Villalon de Campos are delicious.

Valladolid produces many fine wines that will go well with your meal. Those from Ribera del Duero, Rueda, Cigales and Toro are all recognised and highly regarded denominations throughout Spain and beyond.


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