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Castile-León: the land of cathedrals and Cid Campeador

Castile-León (Castilla y León) is, by extension, the largest Spanish region. It is located in the north-western area of Spain, has no access to the sea and is bordered to the west by Portugal and the Spanish region of Galicia. To the north with Asturias and Cantabria, to the east with the Basque Country, Aragon and La Roja, and finally to the south with the region of Madrid, Castile-La Mancha and Extremadura.

The region is made up of 9 provinces: Avila, Burgos, León, Palencia, Salamanca, Segovia, Soria, Valladolid, and Zamora. The capital of the region is the city of Valladolid. Castile-León was born from the union of the old Spanish regions of Old Castile (Castilla la Vieja) and León. Castile-León is a mainly agricultural region, cereals are intensively cultivated and breeding is practiced there.

THE CENTRAL MESETA

The territory of Castile-León extends over the northern part of Central Meseta, the vast plateau that occupies the center of the Iberian peninsula. It also includes a good part of the Douro river basin with its tributaries, and in the north-eastern area it is crossed by the Ebro.

Central Meseta has an average altitude of about 800 meters and is surrounded by mountainous regions. To the north rise the mountains of the Cantabrian Mountains, which reach their maximum heights with the Picos de Europa massif. Torre de Cerredo (2,648 meters) is the highest mountain in the cordillera. To the east are the cordillera of the Iberian System whose highest peak is the Moncayo (2,314 meters). While towards the southeast the cordillera of the Central System rise with the Sierra de Gredos (Pico Almanzor 2,592 meters), the Sierra de Guadarrama (Peñalara 2,428 meters), and the Sierra de Ayllón (Pico del Lobo 2,274 meters) which separate the Castile-Leon region from Castile-La Mancha.

A REGION RICH IN TOURIST ATTRACTIONS

Castile-León is an interesting tourist destination thanks to the historical and cultural attractions of many of its towns and the beauty of natural landscapes. The region has eight natural parks. Suggestive are the numerous castles and small medieval towns of the region, and the numerous churches. The Roman and medieval remains of Astorga, the medieval city of Zamora, Soria, Peñafiel with its beautiful castle, Ponferrada with the Templar castle are worth visiting. Among the historic villages worth a stop are Simancas, Tordesillas, Medina del Campo, Alba de Tormes, Ciudad Rodrigo, Coca, Madrigal de las Altas Torres, El Burgo de Osma, Pedraza de la Sierra.

The region contains 7 sites declared by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. These include the ancient city of Salamanca. The city of Avila with its walls and churches. The city of Segovia with its aqueduct. The Gothic cathedral of Burgos. The archaeological site of Atapuerca near Burgos with remains of prehistoric men and fossils. Las Médulas, the suggestive remains of the ancient Roman gold mines. The Camino de Santiago, the pilgrimage road to Santiago de Compostela which crosses the provinces of Burgos, Palencia, and León (numerous sites in different regions of Spain).

CASTILE-LEON

  • Area: 94,223 km²
  • Population: 2,450,000 (2019)
  • Capital: Valladolid

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