The magical cities of Queen Isabella
Alcázar fortress in Segovia
The first queen of Spain and a driving force behind the discovery of America, Isabella “the Catholic Queen” as she was known, is one of the most influential personalities in world history. Discover the cities which played a role in the sovereign’s life: Madrigal de las Altas Torres, Valladolid, Segovia and Medina del Campo.
Isabella I of Castile was born in Madrigal de las Altas Torres, in the Palace of Juan II in the province of Avila. This building was erected by her father and is currently the site of the Royal Monastery of Nuestra Señora de Gracia. It is a designated National Monument. The Queen spent part of her childhood in this palace and returned to it on repeated occasions throughout her life. Some of its rooms are open to the public, including the “Salon de Cortes” (Court Room) and the bedchamber where Isabella was born in 1451. Some of the Queen’s personal belongings are also on display.
Madrigal de las Altas Torres, the royal birthplace
Another monument in the town that gives us a clue as to its former royal splendour is the church of San Nicolás de Bari, with the highest tower in the province. The church, designated a National Monument, also has the Queen’s baptismal font in what is known as the Golden Chapel.
Wedding in Valladolid
Valladolid stands on the banks of two rivers, in a valley bordered by hills and plains and in the geometric centre of the region of Castile-León. This is another of the cities where the Queen of Castile left her mark. En 1469 she was married to Ferdinand of Aragon in the city’s Los Vivero Palace This was Spain’s capital city during the 15th and 16th centuries, and its streets still show signs of this rich heritage from this magnificent period. Highlights of the city’s valuable cultural past include the National Sculpture Museum and the façade of the church of San Pablo.
Coronation in Segovia
Segovia was another of the emblematic cities in the life of the Queen. Next to the colonnade of the Plaza Mayor (Main Square) stands the church of San Miguel, where Isabella was proclaimed Queen of Castile in 1474. There is a commemorative plaque on the church’s main façade marking this decisive moment in Spanish history. The Alcázar fortress towers majestically over the city and has been designated a Historic and Artistic Monument. This was the building where the Catholic monarchs signed the “Agreement for the Government of the Kingdom”, also known as the “Concord of Segovia”, which established the distribution of the government responsibilities between Ferdinand and Isabella in their respective territories. Inside you can see the monarchs’ coats of arms and the Throne Room, decorated with royal portraits.
The final farewell in Medina del Campo
The Queen died in the town of Medina del Campo , declared a Historic and Artistic Site due to the beauty of its historic centre. It is home to the outstanding La Mota Castle , a superb 14th-century brick fortress built atop a hill, and declared a Property of Cultural Interest. The large Plaza Mayor Square is at the heart of the city, and formerly served as a meeting place for the trade fairs which made it famous all over Europe since the 15th century. This is the site of the Royal Palace, where Queen Isabella wrote her last will and testament, and the site of her death.
Visit the cities beloved of the Catholic queen, and discover the charm of their monumental heritage and the warm hospitality of their peoples.
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